France’s Areva has decided to enter into exclusive negotiations with a French team of Schneider Electric and Alstom for the acquisition of its power transmission and distribution business, Areva T&D.

The team proposed to buy the division for an equity value of €2.29bn ($3.5bn). Areva T&D’s net debt on 30 June 2009 was €1.05bn.

Japan’s Toshiba and the US’ GE had also submitted bids for the company.

Schneider will take over Areva’s distribution business, taking approximately one-third of the company’s equity value and acquired debt. The company will set up a new energy business unit. It forecasts this will generate about €4.6bn of sales with 80 factories and 22,000 employees worldwide.

Alstom will take over Areva’s transmission work, which accounts for two-thirds of the company.