France throws support behind GE offer for Alstom

Published on NewsOK Modified: June 20, 2014 at 2:47 pm •  Published: June 20, 2014
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PARIS (AP) — U.S. conglomerate General Electric Co. looked set Friday to win its months-long fight to acquire the power generation business of France's Alstom SA after the French government dropped its objections and threw its support behind the American offer.

The final decision rests with Alstom's board, which was meeting Friday night to discuss the offer. GE, which has sought a deal with Alstom since April, had given the French company until Monday to sign off on the $17 billion offer.

Friday's announcement brings an end to months of uncertainty over whether GE would win the French government's approval despite resistance from President Francois Hollande and other top officials.

French economy minister Arnaud Montebourg said the government preferred GE's offer to a rival joint bid from Germany's Siemens and Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and would take a 20 percent stake in Alstom.

Alstom has favored a tie-up with GE but had to postpone signing any deal while the government intervened to seek assurances on jobs and decision-making.

GE boss Jeff Immelt has been in Paris since Thursday to press his case with officials from Alstom, the government and unions.

Immelt saw off Siemens and Mitsubishi after making revisions to address the French government's concerns that the deal would not produce job losses or move decision-making authority out of France.

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