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Hitachi seeks EU okay for Thales deal with asset sales in France, Germany

BRUSSELS, Sept 18 (Reuters) – Hitachi (6501.T) has offered to sell assets in France and Germany in a bid to address EU antitrust concerns about its proposed 1.7 billion-euro ($1.8 billion) buy of Thales’ (TCFP.PA) GTS railway signalling business, a Hitachi spokesperson said on Monday.

The Japanese conglomerate submitted its remedy offer last week to the European Commission, which is expected to seek feedback from Hitachi customers and rivals before deciding whether to accept the remedies or demand more.

“The proposed remedy includes the divestment of our mainline signalling business in France and Germany,” the spokesperson said, confirming a Reuters story published last week.

The EU antitrust enforcer has set a Nov. 6 deadline for its decision.

The offer to the EU is similar to that offered to the UK competition agency which includes selling Hitachi Rail’s UK, French and German mainline signalling business, a person with direct knowledge of the matter had told Reuters.

Hitachi had also offered a behavioural remedy related to its communications-based train control signalling systems. The UK watchdog however subsequently dropped its concerns in this area.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Sonali Paul

An agenda-setting and market-moving journalist, Foo Yun Chee is a 20-year veteran at Reuters. Her stories on high profile mergers have pushed up the European telecoms index, lifted companies’ shares and helped investors decide on their move. Her knowledge and experience of European antitrust laws and developments helped her broke stories on Microsoft, Google, Amazon, numerous market-moving mergers and antitrust investigations. She has previously reported on Greek politics and companies, when Greece’s entry into the eurozone meant it punched above its weight on the international stage, as well as Dutch corporate giants and the quirks of Dutch society and culture that never fail to charm readers.

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