France backs GE’s $17B offer for Alstom’s energy units

Nathan Andrada – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Paris, France (4E) – France said on Friday that it supports the $17bn offer by General Electric for the acquisition of Alstom’s power and grid units and said the French government would take a 20 percent stake in the French company.

The decision was announced by French Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg following the meeting of top French officials and executives from GE and rival suitors Siemens and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

France’s backing of the GE proposal could put an end to the takeover struggle over the French engineering giant. Alstom’s board was expected to discuss the plan in its meeting later Friday.

The approval for the GE plan depends on the U.S. firm’s acceptance of the French government’s stake in Alstom, making the government the biggest shareholder of the company. Mr. Montebourg said that GE’s bid will be blocked if that is not realized.

The announcement by the French government came just hours after Germany’s Siemens and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries increased their joint takeover bid for Alstom. The suitors sweetened their proposal after GE also increased its proposal.

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