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newspapers, said that CVC had withdrawn from the GE-led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
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)