Siemens CEO says won't be forced into Alstom offer

BERLIN Wed May 7, 2014 2:23am EDT

BERLIN May 7 (Reuters) - The chief executive of Siemens said on Wednesday that the German conglomerate would take its time to study the business of French rival Alstom before deciding on a formal offer and not be forced into a bid.

Joe Kaeser told Bloomberg television that he had discussed the risks and opportunities of a bid for Alstom assets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel but that a decision to make an offer would "not be forced on us".

Siemens rival General Electric has offered $16.9 billion for Alstom's energy business. The German firm, after encouragement from the French government, responded by saying it was interested in swapping power and rail assets with the French firm. It has been given four weeks to assess Alstom's business before making a formal offer. (Reporting by Noah Barkin; editing by Thomas Atkins)