Alstom’s board has unanimously voted to accept a $17 billion offer from General Electric.
GE is bidding $17 billion for the French rail and energy group’s energy business. The deal still needs regulators’ and Alstom staff representatives’ approval.
The French government agreed to support the deal, which will involve the state buying a 20% stake in Alstom, and other steps to protect French interests.
A rival offer from Siemens-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was rejected.
GE chief Jeff Immelt said the deal would be “good for France, GE and Alstom”.
If approved, the deal is expected to be completed in 2015. Reports say it would be GE’s largest ever industrial acquisition.
Under the deal, GE will sell its railway signal business to Alstrom, and set up three joint ventures with the French company.
The joint ventures would cover Alstrom’s power grid business, renewable operations, and nuclear steam turbines.
Alstom employs about 18,000 people in France. The government had asked for assurances that French energy and transport interests and jobs would be safeguarded.
It plans to acquire a controlling stake in Alstrom by buying shares from French group and main shareholder Bouygues.
However, the government wants to pay market price (28 euros per share) while Bouygues is demanding about 35 euros per share.
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