Friday, June 20, 2014

Still trying to buy Alstom for next to nothing

Four years ago, I was writing about how Siemens had botched another attempt to build a high-speed train that could compete with the TGVs built by Alstom.  Two years ago, I was writing about how how the Italians had chosen Alstom's AGV for its new high-speed service.  Yet because the madness of neoliberalism, Siemens may yet wind up owning Alstom and France's so-called "Socialist" government has barely lifted a finger to stop the plunder of such a national jewel.

The current bidding price of 12-14 billion euros for some parts of Alstom is an insultingly trivial fraction of what it is worth.  Those who believe that "disaster capitalism" is a cynical scheme to seize real assets for next to nothing have been given yet another example of how it works.  The fact that France is allowing negotiations to proceed on this takeover only highlights just how utterly corrupt her "Socialists" are.  But then, the Institutionalists like Veblen could have pointed out that "Socialism" was just another manifestation of Leisure Class thinking 115 years ago—so little has changed.

Battle for France's Alstom enters yet another round

DW.DE hg/nz (dpa, AFP) 20.06.2014

There's never been a dull moment in the protracted transatlantic takeover fight for France's power-to-rail group Alstom. Now Siemens and Mitsubishi upped their offers again in a bid to outshine US-based General Electric.

Siemens and Mitsubishi announced Friday they had improved their offer for Alstom again as they battled with General Electric (GE) to win French government support to buy the engineering conglomerate, which produces France's TGV high-speed trains among many other things.

The new offer increased the valuation of Alstom's energy division by 400 million euros ($545 million) to 14.6 billion euros, and also upped the cash contribution by 1.2 billion euros to a total of 8.2 billion euros, the German-Japanese bidding group said in a statement.

Siemens and Mitsubishi also said they would simplify the implementation of the transaction, after analysts had criticized that the two firms' initial offer was too complex and would break up Alstom completely.

Quick to react

The new offer came a day after US rival GE made several changes to its own bid in order to make its 12.35-billion-euro offer more attractive, including assurances that the US government would not be in a position to veto French sales of sensitive nuclear energy technology to third countries.

Paris wants more for Alstom

Alstom said it would hold an extraordinary meeting to mull the new offers and was expected to make a statement on them before Monday.

The future of Alstom has been at the center of a bidders' tug-of-war ever since the Socialist government of President Francois Hollande first objected to GE buying the jewel of French engineering on the grounds that jobs and decision-making control could be lost. more

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