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Acquisitions

General Electric ups the ante for Alstom

American industrial giant General Electric has grabbed the bull by the horns in addressing French concerns over job losses should it takeover Paris-based Alstom - and it seems to be working.

General Electric sweetened its offer Wednesday to acquire French power and train company Alstom, promising an American takeover would come with new jobs.

The deal appeared to find more favor with the government in Paris, which has so far promoted a rival offer for Alstom from Germany's Siemens out of fear that GE might lay off French workers.

GE's Chief Executive Officer Jeffery Immelt reportedly told French President Francois Hollande that he would create 1,000 new jobs in France if the deal went through.

An official from Hollande's office said the GE offer was improved and strengthened, but added there was still much work to be done.

GE has set June 23 as the deadline for a decision on its offer, which is currently set at 12.35 billion euros ($17.0 billion). Siemens' counter offer is due on June 16.

Political concerns

Siemens has valued Alstom's power business at between 10.5 and 11 billion euros.

The German company was brought into play amid political concerns that a tie-up in the strategic sectors of energy and trains required a European solution, but Alstom indicated it preferred a deal with GE.

Also on Wednesday, a major Siemens shareholder, Union Investment, spoke out against the prospect of Siemens taking over Alstom.

Union fund manager Christoph Niesel said Siemens has other priorities and that potential synergies with Alstom were overstated.

kpc/cjc (Reuters, AFP)

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