French government and Alstom board back GE acquisition bid

General Electric has all but signed the contract on the acquisition of French rail and energy group, Alstom.

General Electric has all but signed the contract on the acquisition of French rail and energy group, Alstom.

GE is bidding $17bn (£10bn) for the energy side of Alstom’s business, however the deal still needs regulators’ and Alstom staff representatives’ approval.

Working in favour of GE is the fact the French Government and the Alstom board have already agreed to support the deal, which will involve the state buying a 20% stake in Alstom and other steps to protect French interests. Alstom currently employs about 18,000 people in France, of which the Government has asked for assurances that these jobs would be safeguarded.

If approved, the deal will reportedly be GE’s largest industrial acquisition to date. It is expected to be completed in 2015.

Under the deal, GE will sell its railway signal business to Alstom, and set up three joint ventures with the French company.

The joint ventures would cover Alstom’s power grid business, renewable operations, and nuclear steam turbines.