E.U. CONSIDERS ASKING GE TO SELL HONEYWELL’S AEROSPACE DIVISION

BRUSSELS, Belgium, and NEW YORK

European antitrust regulators have discussed asking The General Electric Co. to sell a large part of Honeywell Int’l Inc.‘s aerospace division—the very business that made Honeywell attractive, according to a source close to the talks in Brussels. But negotiations are ongoing and the source said the European Commission is not close to a decision on what ultimately it will seek in divestitures to clear GE’s $42 billion acquisition.

The sale of some aerospace operations is one of several options on the table, the source said. Still, if regulators were to act on the proposal, it could derail the deal. GE, the world’s largest company in terms of market capitalization, faces a deadline Thursday to submit a proposal to the commission. GE declined to comment on the negotiations.

A requirement by the commission to sell so large a part of Honeywell’s operations would likely kill the merger, analysts have said. Selling smaller operations, such as Honeywell’s helicopter or regional jet engines businesses, could be a more palatable option. On June 25, commission staff will meet with representatives of competition agencies from European Union member states and present proposed actions. The commission is expected to approve the recommendations of its competition department on July 4. Under commission rules, all decisions in the case must be made by July 14.

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