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Face-off

France's Alstom sale: Politics or business?

The French state has once again intervened to weigh in on the fate of a major private corporation. By taking partial ownership of the giant energy transport company Alstom - instead of allowing a fully-fledged takeover by US behemoth General Electric - the French government has done what would be unfathomable in the US or UK. The ruling Socialists argue this is the best way to guarantee jobs and France's cherished nuclear industry. But to critics, the move reeks of old-style socialism.

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