Alstom-GE: The French Government may want to be involved in the deal
Minister of Industry is looking for a deal similar to the one put in place with Peugeot and Dongfeng in March.
The French government just passed an ordinance that broadens the list of strategic industries for which a potential acquirer will have to have government green light before any takeover attempt. No surprise; one of the industries included in that list is energy. The European regulator does not seem to disapprove. Minister of Industry, Arnaud Montebourg stated on French TV that any negotiation regarding the potential acquisition of Alstom should involve the French government. Although he does not oppose Alstom’s acquisition by a foreign company that could be “GE or any other contender” he would favor a deal similar to the one signed two months ago with car manufacturer Peugeot. Originally, the Peugeot family and other investors intended to sell a majority stake of the family business to Chinese company Dongfeng Motor but following government intervention the final deal looked quite different from what the stakeholders had in mind. At the end of the day, Peugeot equity was shared by three main shareholders; the Peugeot family, Dongfeng and the French government with 14% each. It is unsure how the potential buyers will feel about the request from the French government to be part of this deal. GE said it noted the decree and continues to discuss with the French government. What is also unsure is Montebourg’s ability to have a final say. Other government members are also involved in the decision, including Prime Minister Valls as well as President Hollande.