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The long-running saga of negotiations over General Electric’s 16.9 billion-dollar bid for the energy arm of French engineering group Alstom continued this week when GE’s chief executive Jeff Immelt met for further negotiations with French President François Hollande. GE is engaged in a poker match with the French government which has made no secret of its preference for a mooted counter-bid from German firm Siemens, despite the Alstom board’s choice to do a deal with the US giant. But hidden behind all the talk of decisions of industrial strategy, synergy and job guarantees, a quite separate consideration appears to help explain both the rapidity and secrecy of the deal first agreed between between Alstom and GE on April 23rd, the day when a former senior Alstom executive was arrested in the US Virgin Islands on corruption charges. Fabrice Arfi and Martine Orange report.
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