Alstom, AstraZeneca and Anglo-French political risk

Trade & Manufacturing

Last week brought to a close the two-month public courtship of GE and Alstom, with a government-brokered deal that will see the French state acquire a minority voting right and ultimately a minority stake in the French company. The Alstom episode cast a long shadow in the UK, where the government faced pressure to take a similarly activist approach to the proposed acquisition of AstraZeneca by Pfizer. The result is new legal tools in France and signs of a shifting mood on takeovers in the UK. This has less to do with nationality than is usually assumed. So what is driving it?

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