France strengthens hand in battle for Alstom assets

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has signed a decree that extends the state's powers to block foreign takeovers to the energy, water, transport, telecoms and health sectors, with any acquisition in what the government now considers to be "strategic" industries needing the approval of the Economy Minister.

The move adds to the government's authority to prevent deals in the nuclear, encryption and vaccines fields.

It will also give France more say in the potential sale of Alstom's (ALSMY) energy assets to GE (GE) or Siemens (SI). French Economy Minster Arnaud Montebourg has criticized the GE proposal and advocated a deal with Siemens.

The risk is that foreign investors could be further put off from doing business in France at a time that the economy is stagnating.


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Comments (16)
  • Shan Song
    , contributor
    Comments (21) | Send Message
    French government is doing what they can do stop GE, by making new policies
    15 May 2014, 05:40 AM Reply Like
  • malaquita
    , contributor
    Comment (1) | Send Message
    I'm French and shame on this Government to take measures that would keep on blocking our economy... I would like to advise them to have an operational/industrial look at the offers from GE and Siemens... GE is defintely the best option for all the employees, there are too many overlaps with Siemens and this result in many lay-offs!!!
    15 May 2014, 06:01 AM Reply Like
  • comosicama
    , contributor
    Comments (57) | Send Message
    Note to GE: Forget it; if the French authorities are difficult now--how will they be later if the deal is consummated?
    15 May 2014, 06:53 AM Reply Like
  • CCCB
    , contributor
    Comments (108) | Send Message
    Time for GE to take the chips off the table. Hopefully Immelt doesn't make a deal just to prove he can. You know to big an ego can cloud your thinking.
    15 May 2014, 08:01 AM Reply Like
  • doc47
    , contributor
    Comments (1796) | Send Message
    Well GE, I and many others here "Told you so"!!!! Next time try to deal with a rational government.
    15 May 2014, 08:08 AM Reply Like
  • piano man
    , contributor
    Comments (70) | Send Message
    Very few rational governments these days
    15 May 2014, 08:24 AM Reply Like
  • manfredthree
    , contributor
    Comments (3155) | Send Message
    Much todo about nothing. 'Them vs us' is an antiquated vision of how to make good decisions . There is no them and there is no us. Much like the 'race' debate, only the best business decision making will assure Alstom remains relevant, an issue GE does not face. Immelt probably wants it for another tax write-off, and we'll just buy more GE if its forced onto Siemens in an inefficient transaction. Maybe Immelt is just being 'grey-spy' to hurt Siemens. There are no strategic assets involved here for GE. France is very clubby, so this is probably just intended as a perk to Siemens. BTW, when last did we see a foreign takeover of a US company ?
    15 May 2014, 08:31 AM Reply Like
  • ads7w6
    , contributor
    Comments (44) | Send Message
    It's probably not the last one, but InBev buying Anheuser-Busch was a very big takeover of a US company.
    15 May 2014, 09:50 AM Reply Like
  • duhaus
    , contributor
    Comments (320) | Send Message
    I was all for this deal initially but the more I hear coming from the French govt. the more I am changing my opinion. I feel G.E. should not budge from their current proposal at all (in fact I'd like to see them backtrack the offer to the original deal which I believe was 3-4b less). Funny French.
    15 May 2014, 08:33 AM Reply Like
  • The Average Investor
    , contributor
    Comments (102) | Send Message
    Not sure what's going on behind the scene in GE's Boardroom or what their thoughts are on this acquisition, but nothing good will come out of this for GE in the future as long as an anti-capitalist gov't (Paris) intervenes now and guaranteed so in the future. Immelt - walk away while you can. Many other international takeover targets that do not have the baggage that Alstom brings with it.
    15 May 2014, 08:43 AM Reply Like
  • PeterKropotkin
    , contributor
    Comments (108) | Send Message
    Sorry, but this is hardly 'anti-capitalist'. Though I agree, it is not particularly neoliberal either.
    15 May 2014, 10:39 AM Reply Like
  • Ervin Seferi
    , contributor
    Comments (8) | Send Message
    Its a money grab by the French... That's OK we know who will blink first... Hope that GE will not up the price once more just on principal at this point. But GE leadership may have available data that shows a different picture and maybe the allowance to pay more for this acquisition.
    15 May 2014, 09:18 AM Reply Like
  • ads7w6
    , contributor
    Comments (44) | Send Message
    As long as GE keeps their current offer on the table without adding to it, I do not see a problem. I still see this as a good use of overseas cash as bringing it back stateside would incur 35% tax on it. Additionally if the French make Alstom go with the Siemens deal, the breakup fee will just be a bonus for GE.
    15 May 2014, 09:52 AM Reply Like
  • jasonhad
    , contributor
    Comments (104) | Send Message
    The French political class is fighting a losing battle to make France relevant in the 20th Century - and have not yet noticed that this is the 21st. A lovely country to visit as a tourist - but not in which to do business. Immelt should throw the glove on the table - "accept our offer in 10 days, Monsieur Hollande et Cie, or we walk" - and the precious sovereignty of France will be preserved as the country slips further into the sea of irrelevance.
    15 May 2014, 10:11 AM Reply Like
  • maltman1009
    , contributor
    Comments (5) | Send Message
    Proposed affiliation has "G-R-I-E-F" written all over it. GE should walk!!
    Accept the breakup fee "Merci, beaucoup!!" and --
    "Au revoir, mes amis!! (loosely translated) "See ya later, guys!!!"
    16 May 2014, 09:23 AM Reply Like
  • jasonhad
    , contributor
    Comments (104) | Send Message
    16 May 2014, 12:12 PM Reply Like
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