Siemens-Alstom tie-up is down to firms, says German government

BERLIN Wed May 7, 2014 8:03am EDT

BERLIN May 7 (Reuters) - The German government considers a possible tie-up between Siemens and French rival Alstom as primarily an issue between the companies, a spokesman said on Wednesday, after the German conglomerate's chief discussed it with Germany's chancellor.

"The questions that are being discussed right now are first of all decisions for companies. It's all speculation what a possible merger could look like, so it's hard to judge how it should be seen in terms of cartel issues," an economy ministry spokesman said.

Siemens is mulling a formal offer for the energy business of French rival Alstom, which is already the target of a bid from U.S. giant General Electric.

Its Chief Executive Joe Kaeser has discussed a possible bid with Chancellor Angela Merkel but a government spokeswoman declined to comment on the "length and content" of the conversation. (Reporting by Annika Breidthardt and Madeline Chambers)

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