Acquisitions and divestments

Acquisitions

During 2018, 2017 and 2016, ABB paid $2,638 million, $1,992 million and $13 million to purchase three, four and one businesses, respectively. The amounts exclude increases in investments made in cost- and equity-accounted companies.

The principal acquisition in 2018 was GE Industrial Solutions (GEIS), GE’s global electrification solutions business, which was acquired in June. GEIS, headquartered in the United States, has approximately 13,500 employees and provides technologies that distribute and control electricity and support the commercial, data center, health care, mining, renewable energy, oil and gas, water and telecommunications sectors.

The principal acquisition in 2017 was B&R, which was acquired in July. B&R is a worldwide provider of product- and software-based, open-architecture solutions for machine and factory automation and employs more than 3,000 people, including about 1,000 research and development, and application engineers. It operates across 70 countries in the machine and factory automation market segment.

The acquisition in 2016 was not significant.

Divestments

On March 1, 2017, ABB divested its high-voltage cable system business. Total cash proceeds from all business divestments during 2017 amounted to $605 million, net of transaction costs and cash disposed.

There were no significant divestments in 2016 and 2018.

Planned divestment of Power Grids

In December 2018, ABB announced an agreement to divest 80.1 percent of its Power Grids business to Hitachi, valuing the business at $11 billion. The business also includes certain real estate properties which were previously reported within Corporate and Other. The divestment is expected to be completed in the first half of 2020, following the receipt of customary regulatory approvals. As this divestment represents a strategic shift that will have a major effect on the Company’s operations and financial results, the results of operations for this business have been presented as discontinued operations and the assets and liabilities are reflected as held-for-sale for all periods presented. For more information on our discontinued operations, see “Note 3 Changes in presentation of financial statements” to our Consolidated Financial Statements.

For more information on our acquisitions and divestments, see “Note 4 Acquisitions and business divestments” to our Consolidated Financial Statements.