Siemens to make bid on Alstom if it gets similar access as GE

Both GE and Siemens have made their intentions clear, saying that they are interested in acquiring the French rail and energy equipment maker.
By Ananth Baliga  |  April 28, 2014 at 4:25 PM
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PARIS, April 28 (UPI) -- German company Siemens entered the takeover war surrounding Alstom, saying it will make an offer if it gets the same access to financial information as GE did.

The development comes as French President Francois Hollande met both General Electric Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt and Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser in separate meetings Monday. The French government has made it clear that they do not favor one bid over the other but will look out for France's -- and the company's -- interests. Alstom, which has already received a binding offer from GE, asked Siemens to submit more details about its offer before giving it additional financial details, said a person close to the matter. Representatives for Siemens and Alstom refused to comment on the development.

GE made Alstom an $11.5 billion offer , arguing that its plan to acquire the latter's energy business, while separating the train business, would ensure fewer job losses.

Siemens’ proposal would probably entail swapping some of its rail assets for Alstom’s energy division and creating two “European champions,” Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg said.

If a deal were to go through Siemens would form the world's largest manufacturer of equipment for power plants and electric transmission. The merger of rail assets would bring together the German company’s ICE high-speed trains with Alstom’s iconic TGV.

Alstom's board met Sunday and has so far preferred GE's deal, but was considering Siemens' offer out of pressure form the French government.

The French government has the right to intervene to protect the interests of French companies from hostile takeovers. The deals must also be in line with national interests and the government at times intervenes to prevent such transactions form going forward, as was the case with PepsiCo's attempted bid for Danone in 2005.

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