It seems US conglomerate General Electric is talking with France’s Alstom about taking over the part of its business that makes power generating and grid equipment.
That is according to two sources quoted by the Reuters news agency, which was somewhat less dramatic than the original story run by Bloomberg which said that GE wanted to buy all of Alstom.
Union sources said Alstom’s chief executive Patrick Kron had told them there is what he called an “industrial deal” in the works, but no takeover offer from GE.
The idea that the US company might buy all of Alstom agitated France’s Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg who said in view of “patriotic concerns” he wanted to meet GE management.
Montebourg said he wants to protect the national interest and study “other solutions and scenarios” for Alstom, which is one of France’s top private-sector employers.
Before this story broke, Alstom had previously been taking about addressing its cash flow problems by selling a stake in its train and signalling business.
Now it looks like it might hang on to that and instead sell its global power turbines division to minimise challenges by the French government.
Alstom’s shares were suspended from trading by a regulator, pending a statement by the company.
Shares of conglomerate Bouygues rose 4.2 percent on Friday because of the possibility of a deal. Bouygues has a 29 percent stake in Alstom.