GE's bid to buy Alstom moves a step closer
General Electric may be moving closer to pulling off its largest acquisition despite weekend comments from French officials urging GE target Alstom to consider a rival offer from Siemens.
The French government said yesterday that it did not oppose GE's proposal and sources said a meeting in Paris between GE boss Jeffrey Immelt and President Francois Hollande focused on protecting jobs and maintaining the independence of France's nuclear industry. The state doesn't favour either bid, the sources added.
French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg expressed support for a deal with Siemens on Sunday, which would entail swapping some of its rail assets for Alstom's energy division and creating two "European champions".
Both GE and Siemens have taken steps to appease policy makers for a deal with Alstom, which has a market value of about €8.3bn. GE is arguing that its plan, to acquire the energy business while Alstom's transport unit is separated, would result in fewer job losses thanks to smaller overlaps of operations, said people with knowledge of the matter. Siemens is willing to make guarantees about jobs and executive positions, one person said.
Siemens's executive and supervisory boards will convene today to decide whether to bid for Alstom, sources said.