U.S.-based General Electric's massive deal to buy the energy assets of France-based conglomerate Alstom has moved several steps forward, as the French government and other stakeholders have officially signed off on the agreement. Now, the acquisition is slated for an Alstom shareholder vote in December.
According to multiple reports, French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron announced formal approval of the multi-billion-dollar agreement, which the government originally contested.
GE's proposal was up against a joint bid by Siemens and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and the French government wanted GE's offer to include more job creation and ‘a balanced partnership." The company negotiated with French officials to amend its proposal, which Alstom's board of directors selected in June.
Notably, the French government has entered an agreement to buy a 20% stake of Alstom from shareholder Bouygues once GE's acquisition of Alstom's energy business is completed.
As part of the agreement between GE and Alstom, the companies will form 50/50 joint ventures, including one in Alstom's offshore wind business. The companies will also combine Alstom Grid and GE Digital Energy, as well as create a 50/50 global nuclear and French steam alliance.
According to Alstom, the deal has cleared several hurdles, including works council consultations. The companies have also signed the final sale contract and other agreements.
Alstom will hold a general meeting on Dec. 19, where the approval of the transaction will be submitted for a shareholder vote.
"The project with General Electric is progressing well," says Patrick Kron, Alstom's chairman and CEO. However, he notes, "Should the shareholders approve it, General Electric's offer would still be subject to authorizations from regulatory and competition bodies in a number of jurisdictions."
If and when the transaction is complete, Alstom says it will focus on its transport business.