Bank of Montreal, Canada's fourth-largest lender, has agreed to buy General Electric's transportation finance business in the U.S. and Canada.

The unit had net earning assets of about C$11.5 billion ($8.7 billion) as of June 30, Bank of Montreal said Thursday in a press release that did not disclose terms.

The Canadian lender has expanded through acquisitions, with the largest including its C$4.1 billion takeover of Milwaukee-based Marshall & Ilsley Corp. in July 2011 and the C$1.29 billion purchase last year of F&C Asset Management Plc, which runs the oldest U.K. investment firm.

"The transportation finance assets we are acquiring have many of the characteristics of other business segments in which BMO has proven capability," Bank of Montreal Chief Executive Officer William Downe said in the release. "This represents a unique opportunity to grow our commercial customer base."

The business is the latest to be sold as GE hives off about $200 billion of lending assets in CEO Jeffrey Immelt's retreat from financial services. Unloading the bulk of the GE Capital arm is part of his strategy to focus on the industrial operations whose products include jet engines, medical scanners and oilfield equipment.

GE has announced a stream of divestitures since April, including its U.S. buyout-lending unit to Canada's largest pension fund manager. In August, Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE agreed to sell its health-care finance division to Capital One Financial for about $9 billion and an online bank to Goldman Sachs Group.

Credit Suisse Group AG and Goldman Sachs Group were financial advisers and Shearman & Sterling LLP provided legal advice. Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP advised BMO.

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