The French engineering company Alstom says it will decide by the end of May whether to accept a 12.35 billion euro ($17 billion) offer from General Electric Co. for its energy business.
France's government, which regularly intervenes in corporate decision making, had questioned whether selling Alstom to Connecticut-based GE threatens the country's energy independence and jobs. Officials had pressed for more time to allow rival Siemens, based in Germany, to make an offer.
Alstom described the proposal to merge with GE as ''practically perfect'' on Wednesday and said should it decide to accept a Siemens offer it would be have to pay the American company 1.5 percent of the purchase price.
Alstom, which pioneered high-speed TGV trains, said it would focus on transport operations after selling off the energy business.