(Reuters) - The French government gave the green light on Wednesday for General Electric's planned 12.4 billion euro ($15.6 billion) purchase of most of Alstom's power business.

Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said in a statement that the government would activate the process that would see it take a stake of up to 20 percent in French engineering group Alstom from shareholder Bouygues once the GE-Alstom deal was fully completed.