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German engineering giant Siemens offers to discuss tie-up with French rival Alstom

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.