(Bloomberg) -- Private equity firms Ardian and Global Infrastructure Partners plan to offer 11.3 billion euros ($13.7 billion) for Suez SA with the backing of the French water company, which is seeking to fend off a similar proposal from its archrival Veolia Environnement SA.The plan includes an offer of 18 euros a share, matching the proposal that Veolia made more than four months ago, the firms said in a statement Sunday. Veolia countered that it has no intention of selling its 29.9% stake in the target and repeated that Chief Executive Officer Antoine Frerot is prepared to discuss his company’s project for Suez.Suez’s board unanimously welcomed the latest approach, which Chief Executive Officer Bertrand Camus said would preserve jobs and competition in the French market. The company’s capital would be opened to other investors, Camus said on a call with reporters.Shareholders should also welcome the deal because the situation with Veolia is effectively “blocked,” Camus said. The proposal “requires talks with Veolia, and Suez is calling for such talks.”The latest approach for Suez represents another twist in a protracted months-long battle between the water and waste industry competitors, a saga that’s playing out in the boardroom, the courts and the French political arena. Veolia bought its stake in October as a prelude to a full takeover.Veolia earlier this month published the takeover bid it intends to submit as Frerot tries to build a global giant in the sector. Suez’s board and management have resisted the attempt, saying it can’t hold talks until there’s a formal offer.Veolia plans to offer 18 euros per Suez share with dividend rights, provided that Suez’s management doesn’t detract the value with decisions such as selling key assets in Spain, Chile, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia, Frerot has said.For a takeover of Suez to succeed, various antitrust issues must be resolved. Veolia has agreed to divest Suez’s French water business to infrastructure manager Meridiam, and said it could sell some international water assets to that fund as well.In an attempt to make Veolia’s bid more difficult, Suez created a legal mechanism to make the sale of these French water assets subject to approval of the current board. A French court has ordered Suez not to make this permanent without shareholder approval. Suez is now seeking to overturn that decision.(Adds comment from Suez CEO in third paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.