General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt says he’s confident that the company will soon have a buyer of its Louisville-based appliance business.

Earlier this month, GE pulled out of a deal to sell the division to Electrolux after the $3.3 billion proposal was challenged in court by the U.S. Justice Department. Federal officials said the sale would make the market less competitive and drive up prices.

Immelt told shareholders in a conference call this week that he expects the division to have a new buyer in 2016.

“We’ve had a bunch of people that are ready to kind of step in and pursue this,” he said. “I expect it to happen relatively quickly. I can never predict exactly. We put on the page ‘smoother regulatory process expected.’ It would have to be.”

Immelt did not identify the potential buyers.

“We’re going to sell this business, we’re going to march on. And we expect this to happen pretty expeditiously into the new year,” he told investors.

GE employs about 6,000 workers at Louisville’s 900-acre Appliance Park.

Rick Howlett is WFPL's Broadcast Managing Editor and also produces feature and general assignment radio stories.