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A General Electric employee walks past the GE headquarters in Belfort, France. Photo: Patrick Hertzog/AFP/Getty Images

General Electric is seeking to turn off the lights at its venture capital arm, which has invested in hundreds of companies since being founded in 2013.

Driving the news: CNBC's Christina Farr reported yesterday that GE Ventures "has been shopping itself for several months and is in discussions with other venture firms as well as groups of limited partners who invest in those funds," with Lazard managing the process.

What's happening:

  • Axios has learned that GE approached investment banks last summer, eventually picking Lazard, and that prospective buyers were first contacted in early 2019. At the time, it was a package of nearly 100 companies with a net asset value of approximately $500 million.
  • It's not considered to be a particularly strong portfolio, per multiple sources who have seen it.

Context: Venture capital generally sells at a discount to buyouts on the secondaries market, and corporate venture often sells at an even deeper discount because buyers don't share in any strategic synergies. For GE Ventures, that could be anywhere from a 20% to 50% haircut, if it can find a buyer at all.

  • Some of the pricing pressure is the byproduct of a relatively small universe of secondary firms interested in venture capital, and an even smaller number with enough capital to do such a large deal on their own.
  • That means GE likely not only needs a lead investor, but also that investor's limited partners to co-invest.

Between the lines: There's also is talk that some GE Ventures staffers are pitching portfolio slivers that they'd continue to manage, but it's unclear if such talks are sanctioned by GE.

The backdrop: Until recently, there really wasn't much transaction history for direct VC portfolios valued in the hundreds of millions. But then NEA sold a big basket to a Goldman Sachs-backed fund led by a former NEA partners, and Greenspring Associates quietly led the acquisition of a top-heavy portfolio from Altos Ventures that included unicorns like Roblox and Bluehole.

What to watch: I asked a GE spokesperson if the unit is still making new investments, and specified that I wasn't asking about follow-on deals for existing portfolio companies. Her reply:

"While we are evaluating strategic options for GE Ventures we are focused on actively supporting our portfolio companies."

The bottom line: GE Ventures is effectively dead, because it doesn't have a checkbook to do new deals. The only question now is where it gets buried.

Go deeper: General Electric scales back Boston HQ plans

Go deeper

Updated 28 mins ago - Health

2 federal judges temporarily block Biden vaccine mandates

President Biden delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant at the White House on Nov. 29. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

The Biden administration was temporarily blocked from enforcing COVID-19 vaccine mandates for millions of workers by federal judges in two states on Tuesday.

The big picture: The orders, by federal judges in Kentucky and Louisiana, come one day after a federal judge in Missouri halted the mandate, which has a Jan. 4 deadline, in 10 states.

59 mins ago - World

Honduras elects first female president

Honduran President-elect Xiomara Castro, of the Libertad y Refundacion (Libre) Party, in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on Sunday. Photo: Inti Ocon/Getty Images

Former Honduras first lady Xiomara Castro is set to become the country's first female president president, after the ruling party conceded defeat in the country's elections on Tuesday night, per AP.

Why it matters: The democratic socialist and her Libre Party have broken a 12-year run for the conservative National Party, which U.S. prosecutors alleged fostered a "narco-state," note Axios' Latinos' Marina E. Franco and Russell Contreras.

Food delivery "ghost kitchens" face major obstacles

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The growing popularity of food delivery has given rise to startups that open "ghost kitchens" — kitchens in warehouses or trailers that prepare food solely for delivery and have no option to dine in.

  • But they can come with a whole host of problems.

The big picture: The concept of "ghost kitchens" has been dubbed the next big thing in the future of services, with high profile backers like Uber founder Travis Kalanick. But these kitchens can be hard to run or unsafe.