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General Electric to Buy France’s Alstom for $17 billion

General Electric (GE), a US company, is considering buying the French engineering company Alstom for about 16.9 billion USD. GE is not the only major player interested in acquiring Alstom, with the French firm being eyed also by the German company, Siemens, which wants to enter power turbine business. Alstom has hinted that although it may prefer the US offer more, they want to keep the doors open also for Siemens. Both bidders have already discussed their bids with French President Francois Hollande. GE’s chief executive, Jeff Immelt, also added that it had had “a productive two-way dialogue” with the French government. He concluded that he deemed the GE bid good to be executed.
Alstom, whose sales amounted 15 billion USD in power business last year, said that a GE agreement would help the company focus more on the other side of its business, which is the TGV high-speed trains. In an official statement, Alstom’s leadership said that they had identified “unanimously the strategic and industrial merits” of the GE bid and they would make up their minds by the end of this month. The company’s chairman and chief executive, Patrick Kron, said that Alstom’s employees would join a well-known, important global business player that would invest in people, technology, and support research and development.
President Hollande met the bosses of GE and Siemens on Monday (April 28) and said that the French government would prioritize to preserve jobs at one of the major industrial companies in France. The country’s economic minister has already hinted that the government would block any agreement that it sees as not good enough. For any deal to go through, Alstrom would also need support of Martin Bouygues, the billionaire chairman of family conglomerate Bouygues, which is Alstrom’s largest shareholder with more than 29 percent.

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