Although the state doesn't have a stake in Alstom, the company is considered a national champion, while the government wants guarantees about jobs, especially with unemployment so high.
To make any deal more palatable, it would exclude Alstom's transport business, which produces the iconic TGV train.
The transaction has the support of Bouygues (BOUYF), Bloomberg reports. Bouygues owns 29% of Alstom.
Meanwhile, the news-wire service compares GE's bid for Alstom with its ill-fated $53B attempt to acquire Honeywell 13 years ago in a deal that floundered on EU antitrust opposition. GE's success in receiving authorization for its acquisition of Italian aerospace company Avio last year shows "that it is able to work with regulators," says Brussels lawyer Paul McGeown.