By: Gerard Baker, WSJ

The company that pioneered lightbulbs now wants to turn off the switch. General Electric is weighing a sale of its consumer-lighting business, which for decades defined the company that was co-founded by Thomas Edison 125 years ago. The Boston-based industrial giant has been interviewing investment banks to sell the unit, which could fetch around $500 million. An exit from the business would be the latest in a series of changes at the company. Once associated with refrigerators, microwaves and lightbulbs, GE is now focused on power turbines, aircraft engines, health-care equipment and locomotives, along with lucrative service contracts for those machines. The lighting unit GE is considering selling is now a small and shrinking business that consists of residential LED lighting and connected-home technology in North America.