BERLIN (AP) — German engineering giant Siemens AG says it is prepared to discuss a tie-up with its French rival Alstom.
Siemens says it sent the Alstom board a letter "to signal its willingness to discuss future strategic opportunities" but declined to elaborate.
The move announced Sunday comes amid heated speculation that General Electric Co. is considering buying Alstom.
Shares in Alstom were halted Friday after its stock closed nearly 11 percent higher Thursday at 27 euros.
The French government is cool to the idea of a buyout of a company that pioneered TGV high-speed trains, later exporting them around the world, and builds nuclear turbines.
Alstom and GE spokespeople declined to comment on reports in the French press that GE Chief Executive Jeffrey Immelt was to meet with French government representatives on Sunday in Paris.
French daily Le Monde reported on its website Sunday without citing sources that Immelt would meet Alstom boss Patrick Kron as well as Alstom board members, in addition to a meeting with Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg.
Spokespeople for Montebourg didn't return calls seeking comment.