GE agrees to extend deadline on Alstom bid to June 23

Thu May 22, 2014 6:03pm EDT
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(Reuters) - General Electric Co (GE.N: Quote) has agreed to extend its $16.9 billion bid for the power arm of France's Alstom (ALSO.PA: Quote) until June 23 from June 2 at the request of the French government, the U.S. company said on Thursday.

GE said it agreed to the extension to facilitate discussions with the government. GE has encountered resistance from the French government, which has sought to encourage Germany's Siemens (SIEGn.DE: Quote) as a potential rival bidder.

"We view this extension positively," GE said in a statement.

French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg in a separate statement welcomed GE's decision to extend the deadline, saying it was in all parties' interests to find a solution before June 23.

Alstom also said it welcomed "GE's initiative to extend the period review of the offer by Alstom's board in order to allow the constructive dialogue with the French state to continue."

GE Chief Executive Jeff Immelt told an investor conference on Wednesday that the company was still going to "work constructively" with the French government on its bid and that he expects the deal to close.

"We wouldn't have started if we didn't think we could finish," Immelt said at the conference.

A source familiar with the talks said Immelt was aware that an extension was likely when he made his comments on Wednesday.

GE last month made its offer for Alstom's power turbine and grid arm in a deal designed to expand its installed base of power turbines, get a more complete offering to power customers and broaden GE's presence in emerging markets.   Continued...

View of a Haliade 150 offshore wind turbine at Alstom's offshore wind site in Le Carnet, on the Loire Estuary, near Saint Nazaire, western France, April 27, 2014. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe