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General Electric to buy LM Wind Power in $1.65 billion deal

General Electric announced Tuesday it will purchase LM Wind Power, a wind turbine manufacturer that has a plant in Grand Forks.

The $1.65 billion deal "in-sources wind turbine blade design and manufacturing for GE's renewable energy business, improving its ability to increase energy output and create value for onshore and offshore customers," a GE news release said. GE does not produce blades today, and LM Wind Power is its largest blade supplier, the company added.

The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2017 after regulatory approvals. LM Wind Power has been owned by Doughty Hanson, a London-based private equity firm, since 2001.

"This deal will merge the speed and focus of LM Wind Power's entrepreneurial culture with GE's world-class engineering and operational capabilities," Marc de Jong, CEO of LM Wind Power, said in a statement. "Our two organizations are highly complementary, and the transaction positions us well to respond faster to customer needs and enhance performance of wind turbines to ultimately reduce the cost of energy."

GE intends to operate LM Wind Power as a standalone unit within its renewable energy division, and LM will continue to be led by its existing leadership and retain its headquarters in Denmark.

LM Wind Power first announced plans to add a plant in Grand Forks Industrial Park in 1998. Back then, it was known as LM Glasfiber.

LM Wind Power currently employs 960 in Grand Forks, said Dan Gordon, senior human resources manager.

Check back for more on this developing story.