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General Electric Said in Talks to Buy France’s Alstom

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General Electric Co. is in talks to buy Alstom SA, the French builder of power plants and transmission gear, people with knowledge of the matter said, in what would be GE’s biggest acquisition ever.

An agreement may be announced as early as next week, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The deal may result in a separation of Alstom’s transport business, which manufactures high-speed TGV trains, to make obtaining the approval of the French government easier, one of the people said. Alstom’s other assets represent more than 70 percent of sales.