Acquisitions and divestments

Acquisitions

During 2017, 2016 and 2015, ABB paid $2,111 million, $13 million and $37 million to purchase five, one and three businesses, respectively. The amounts exclude increases in investments made in cost- and equity-accounted companies.

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.

None of the acquisitions in 2016 or 2015 were significant.

Planned acquisition of GE Industrial Solutions

On September 25, 2017, the Company announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire GE IS, GE’s global electrification solutions business, for $2.6 billion. The acquisition is expected to strengthen the Company’s global position in electrification and expand its access to the North American market through strong customer relationships, a large installed base and extensive distribution networks. GE IS is headquartered in the United States and has approximately 13,500 employees. The Company expects to complete the acquisition in the first half of 2018, following the receipt of customary regulatory approvals.

Divestments and Assets held for sale

In September 2016, ABB announced an agreement to divest its high-voltage cable system business. The assets and liabilities of this business are shown as assets and liabilities held for sale in our Consolidated Balance Sheet at December 31, 2016. The divestment was completed on March 1, 2017. 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 2015.

For more information on our acquisitions and divestments, see “Note 3 Acquisitions and business divestments” to our Consolidated Financial Statements.