Consider two companies. Quirky is a 5-year-old "invention company," with an under-30 CEO and an unproven business model of crowdsourced product development. GE Appliances is a U.S. manufacturing institution, founded by Thomas Edison, with more than 130 years of history, and with a production legacy of tens of millions of appliances.
The history of these two companies together is brief: GE and Quirky teamed up in May 2012 to crowdsource ideas for a new appliance, which resulted in a smart milk container called MilkMaid. The appliance measured milk pH to alert the consumer if the milk had gone bad. GEA/Quirky collaborations expanded; in late 2013 the companies had plans to develop 30 new products together over a 5-year period.
As interesting as these collaborations were, in terms of actual products manufactured and sold they were decidedly small in scope.
But now that GE Corp. has once again put the for-sale sign on its iconic appliance business, it appears Quirky and deep-pocket partners (including Blackstone Group) are considering making a bid. Media reports have put the price tag for GE Appliances at about $2 billion.
If they make an offer, Quirky and partners will be bidding against Electrolux—the only company that has thus far officially confirmed its interest.
How GE Appliances would change under either new owner is a matter of speculation. Would Quirky attempted to scale its crowdsource product development system to encompass GE Appliances' entire product line? If GE went to Electrolux, how would the company deal with the brand crowding that would come from adding the long-established GE, GE Profile, and GE Monogram appliance brands to its existing Frigidaire and Electrolux brands?
With negotiations apparently just starting, it will likely be some time before GE Appliances gets its new owner.
to Daily News