It looks like the two year saga of the fate of French state-owned defense electronics firm Thomson CSF SA may finally have been concluded, with news that the government has chosen Alcatel Alsthom SA as a partner for the firm. Alcatel was originally in the running two years ago to buy the whole of Thomson SA from the French government, which then turned round and appeared to be selling to Lagadere Groupe SA, owner of defense company Matra SA (CI No 3,203). This then fell through, and earlier this year, Alcatel was back in the frame with partner Dassault Industrie SA to take over the government’s 58% majority stake in Thomson CSF(CI No 3,144). However, with the Socialist government coming to power in June’s general election, the sale was off (CI No 3,203), then on again (CI No 3,206). Just last month, we reported that Sagem SA was considering a merger with the Thomson CSF (CI No 3,241), and now it seems finally the government will sell a part of its stake to Alcatel and Dassault, but will still retain more than 35%.
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