Alstom Offers Discount to Seal GE Acquisition Deal

As part of a remedy package to appease the European Commission, Alstom will accept $331 million less than the original $13.63 billion purchase price offered by General Electric (GE) to close the deal. 

The much-anticipated deal has come under close scrutiny by the European Commission, which opened a full-scale antitrust investigation into the deal on Feb. 23. The Commission is concerned that the takeover would eliminate one of GE’s three primary competitors contending for global market share of heavy-duty turbines used in gas-fired power plants. This could lead to price hikes, European Union (EU) antitrust regulators have warned.

“Both General Electric and Alstom believe the deal is pro-competitive but have agreed to explore remedies to secure clearance,” Alstom said in a statement on Monday. In order to support GE in its offering of a “comprehensive set of remedies” addressing the Commission’s concerns, Alstom offered the last-minute 2.4% discount.

Since Alstom approved the acquisition by the U.S. conglomerate of its energy businesses last December, both companies have been working with regulators around the world to secure competition and regulatory authorizations. “Approvals have already been granted in 15 countries,” Alstom said in a statement on Monday.

The deal will be GE’s biggest ever acquisition. The company submitted proposed concessions to the European Commission on July 17 but did not provide details.

Bloomberg reported on July 28, citing unnamed sources, that GE has offered to sell gas-turbine assets to Italian firm and market rival Ansaldo Energia SpA to appease EU regulators. GE has also offered to sell some intellectual property to the company, Bloomberg reported.

As industry observers note, however, the deal is far from safe. GE’s ambitions in 2001 to acquire rival Honeywell International in a $42 billion deal were quashed by the EU, even though it had the blessing of U.S. regulators.

GE took the lion’s share—51%—of installed gas turbine megawatt capacity ordered last year, says Bloomberg, citing McCoy Power Reports.  That compares with 23% for Siemens, 13% for Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, 7% for Alstom, and 3% for Ansaldo.

Sonal Patel, associate editor (@POWERmagazine, @sonalcpatel)