Alstom buy-out enters bidding war phase as GE, MHI, Siemens raise stakes

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BERLIN (AP) — The international race to take over France's engineering company Alstom SA entered its final stretch on Friday, with Siemens and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries responding to General Electric Co.'s sweetened bid by raising their own combined offer.

Alstom is due to decide by Monday what offer to accept, after the French government had solicited improved bids for the company, which builds turbines for power stations and pioneered the high-speed TGV trains, later exported around the world. The government is concerned over a loss of jobs and sensitive energy technology from France.

Siemens of Germany and Mitsubishi of Japan said in a statement Friday they were raising their joint cash offer by 1.2 billion euros ($1.63 billion) to 8.2 billion euros, which increases their overall valuation of Alstom's energy business by 400 million euros to 14.6 billion euros.

Siemens hopes to acquire Alstom's gas business entirely, while Mitsubishi would take a 10 percent stake in Alstom under their proposal.

GE, meantime, has since April bid 12.35 billion ($17 billion) to buy Alstom's power business. On Thursday it added new guarantees on jobs and decision-making by offering to set up the new energy business as three joint ventures, while leaving the cash value unchanged.

Alstom CEO Patrick Kron had earlier made clear his preference for the GE tie-up, which he himself had a role in negotiating. Siemens and Mitsubishi emerged as rival bidders after the French government sought a better deal for Alstom.

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