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GE, in a 'defining moment,' moves to break up its business

For nearly 130 years, General Electric has been one of the biggest makers of American things. Now, it's breaking itself apart.

GE products have brushed against every corner of modern life: radio and cable, planes, power, health care, computing, financial services. One of the original components of the Dow Jones industrial average, its shares were once among the most widely held in the country. Foto: AP Photo/John Minchillo

Long a symbol of American ingenuity, the industrial powerhouse has put its stamp on products ranging from jet engines to lightbulbs, kitchen appliances to X-ray machines. The conglomerate, which traces its lineage back to Thomas Edison, was once the pinnacle of business success, renowned for its steady returns, corporate prowess and relentless pursuit of growth.

But GE's expansive reach has come to haunt it in recent years as it struggled to slim its business operations and pay down massive debt. Now, in what chairman and chief executive Larry Culp referred to as a "defining moment," GE has concluded that it can unlock the most value by breaking itself apart...

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