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There was dual cause for back-slapping in President Francois Hollande’s Elysee Palace late on Friday night. France had thrashed Switzerland in the soccer World Cup, thereby largely assuring its place in the next round. And the government had just imposed its will to end a two-month fight for control over ailing French engineering group Alstom. An official close to Hollande said of the decision announced hours earlier, defining the shape of a planned tie-up between Alstom and U.S. conglomerate General Electric, “France has shown it can negotiate cleverly and openly with multinationals.”



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