Veolia, Suez Make Progress on Takeover, French Minister Says

Veolia Environnement SA and Suez SA, engaged in a hostile takeover battle since late August, have made some progress in bringing their positions together, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.

“There’s been some progress in the rapprochement of positions in the last days,” Le Maire said in the Senate Thursday. There’s no guarantee that it will lead to a deal, he said, adding that there’s room for two large companies to operate separately in the water and waste-treatment business.

Veolia, Suez Make Progress on Takeover, French Minister Says

He urged the companies to find a friendly deal based on solutions that each have brought to the table, saying that continuing a battle for weeks and months “will create useless damage.”

The utilities have been fighting in courts and in the political arena since Veolia announced its project to take over Suez almost seven months ago. It bought a 29.9% stake in its rival in October as first step to a full takeover.

Suez on Sunday proposed a negotiated solution, which would involve Veolia paying a higher price and selling on part of the company to two private equity funds. But Veolia swiftly rejected the plan and stuck to its original 18 euros ($21) per share bid.

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