GE near dollars 500m sale of Kidder

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NEW YORK - General Electric, the big US conglomerate, appears close to a deal to sell its troubled securities firm, Kidder Peabody, to the rival Wall Street firm PaineWebber, writes Larry Black.

PaineWebber is expected to pay roughly dollars 500m ( pounds 322.6m) for the Kidder operations it wanted, then sell a 25 per cent stake in the merged firm back to GE. PaineWebber, Wall Street's fifth-largest retail broker, would acquire Kidder's prized brokerage operations, and pick and choose among its investment bankers, traders and analysts.

A number of senior Wall Street executives speculated yesterday that GE would also be obliged to keep much of Kidder's dollars 6.7bn portfolio of under-performing mortgage-backed securities. The bond assets were transferred to GE's General Electric Capital division last week as part of a reorganisation of Kidder, which is still reeling from a scandal last spring involving the government securities trader Joseph Jett.