PARIS Nov 8 Private equity fund CVC has pulled out of talks with General Electric (GE.N) about a possible joint bid for the power and transmission unit of France's Areva CEPFi.PA, a French financial news service reported on Sunday.
Spokesmen for the firms involved could not immediately be reached for comment.
State-owned nuclear reactor group Areva is selling its T&D unit and has selected Japan's Toshiba (6502.T), a consortium led by U.S.-based GE, and French partners Alstom (ALSO.PA) and Schneider Electric (SCHN.PA) as possible buyers.
Binding offers are expected for Nov. 9 ahead of an Areva decision set for Nov. 16.
Citing banking sources, news service Wansquare, a joint venture between the Journal des Finances and Le Figaro newspapers, said that CVC had withdrawn from the GE-led consortium because of disagreements with the U.S. power giant.
The disagreements were over the voting rights CVC would have in the consortium, should it win the bid for Areva T&D and not over financial or industrial concerns, Wansquare wrote.
"To replace CVC, Clara Gaymard (head of GE's French division) is seeking a last-minute alliance with Axa Private Equity," Wansquare wrote.
According to a report in the French business daily Les Echos on Friday, GE was talking to sovereign funds in Singapore, Korea and Qatar about its possible bid for Areva T&D.
An alliance with one of them could reduce CVC's interest and increase that of GE, the paper said.
Economy Minister Christine Lagarde has said the offers for T&D would be assessed on the basis of price, industrial strategy and employment issues.
Areva, in which the French state holds a 91 percent stake, is selling the T&D unit, which analysts valued at between 3 billion and 5 billion euros, as part of an 11-billion-euro plan to fund expansion that includes a capital increase.
Several analysts have told Reuters that initial offers for T&D would not exceed 4 billion euros. (Reporting by Estelle Shirbon in Paris; Additional reporting by Megan Davies in New York; Editing by Jan Paschal)