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French Economy minister Arnaud Montebourg gives a statement to the media at Hamburger Bahnhof museum in Berlin, May 9, 2014.
French Economy minister Arnaud Montebourg gives a statement to the media at Hamburger Bahnhof museum in Berlin, May 9, 2014.
(Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)

France, U.K. close to putting the brakes on takeovers

It’s the end of laissez-faire, says Arnaud de Montebourg, the French minister for the economy and productive renewal. In a decree published today, he extended the state’s power to prevent takeovers of defence establishments to include businesses in transport, energy, telecommunications, water and health. By grabbing a lever over the commanding heights of the French economy, Mr. de Montebourg also delivered a warning to General Electric Co. and Siemens AG, the German and American industrial giants currently competing for control of Alstom SA, the French manufacturer of turbines and TGV trains.