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Thursday, 28 June, 2001, 08:11 GMT 09:11 UK
GE-Honeywell deal 'back on'

General Electric (GE) is reported to be ready to sell a stake in its aircraft financing unit to overcome European Union opposition to its $49bn bid for the avionics and controls company.

According to US press reports, GE has offered to sell part of the unit to non-competitors in exchange for fewer divestitures of Honeywell's avionics businesses.

The company has confirmed that it has had "informal talks" with EU officials.

The European Commission has been widely expected to announce that it is blocking the GE-Honeywell deal, after GE's initial refusal to make all the concessions demanded by Brussels.

US broadsides

The EU's 20 commissioners are currently scheduled to vote on whether to approve or block the merger on 3 July.

Meanwhile, in Detroit, US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill added to US criticism of the EU's stance on the deal.

Mr O'Neill said it would be "off the wall" if the European Commission blocked the takeover, which has been approved by US antitrust regulators.

"They are the closest thing you can find to an autocratic organization that can successfully impose their will on things that one would think are outside their scope of attention," Mr O'Neill said of European Union regulators.

The comments follow earlier broadsides by US officials, including President George W. Bush and US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, expressing concern about the European position to the merger.

Shares in General Electric lost 53 cents to close at $48.26 in New York Stock Exchange trading on Wednesday.

Honeywell shares were up 80 cents, or 2.2%, at $37.

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See also:

22 Jun 01 | Business
GE-Honeywell: Hope lives on
06 Jun 01 | Business
GE seeks deal with EU regulators
23 Oct 00 | Business
General Electric buys Honeywell
20 Apr 01 | Business
Honeywell slashes 6,500 jobs
12 Apr 01 | Business
General Electric profits up 16%
27 Nov 00 | Business
New chief for world's biggest firm
20 Jun 01 | Business
US Senators lash out at EU
14 Jun 01 | Business
GE-Honeywell deal nears collapse
21 Jun 01 | Business
US and EU clash on competition
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