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France > Capital markets > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Capital markets: debt
  2. Other recommended firms
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Allen & Overy LLP’s debt capital markets (DCM) practice ‘stands out in terms of commercial acumen and expert advice’. The ‘excellent’ 20-lawyer team, which combines French, UK and US law expertise, is adept at advising issuers and arrangers on complex hybrid notes issuances, including international transactions. Recent highlights include assisting the deal managers with Axa’s exchange offer of four Euro and British pound sterling series subordinated notes, and acting for BNP Paribas Cardif on the issuance of its €1bn undated subordinated notes listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. Hervé Ekué heads the practice, in which Diana Billik, Brice Henry and Dan Lauder are also key figures, and Julien Sébastien was promoted to partner.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP often advises issuers on large bond issuances and especially Yankee and Euro bonds. Highlights included advising the Republic of Ivory Coast on its inaugural $750m Eurobond and a $1bn sovereign Eurobond offering, as well as acting for BPCE on a €375m subordinated notes issuance and a 750m renminbi Tier 2 subordinated debt offering. Andrew Bernstein, John Brinitzer and Valérie Lemaitre are key contacts, along with Barthélemy Faye.

Clifford Chance shows ‘impressive industry knowledge, in particular as to market developments’. The 11-lawyer practice has full-service expertise and represents leading corporate issuers and underwriters. Recent work includes various complex matters, such as hybrid and high-yield bond issuances, US and China issuances, US and Eurobond sovereign issuances and public sector issuances. Highlights included advising Volvo Treasury AB on its dual-tranche €1.5bn hybrid bond issuance listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and acting for the banks on the Republic of Gabon’s Rule 144A $500m offering. The practice is headed by Cédric Burford and US-qualified lawyer Alex Bafi.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I.’s 15-lawyer team is regularly retained by underwriters to advise on large DCM issuances. It also advises issuers and has leading expertise in the EuroPP field. The practice recently assisted Orange with its €1bn, €1.25bn and £600m notes issuances admitted on Euronext Paris, and assisted the lead managers with BNP Paribas Cardif’s €1bn bond issuance. Hubert du Vignaux is the key contact.

White & Case LLP has an unmatched capital markets practice in France with a team of some 25 lawyers involved. In the DCM area, the firm is hired by arrangers and issuers alike and has been involved in the largest issuances of corporate and sovereign bonds and hybrid bonds. Highlights included advising the banks on Capgemini’s €2.75bn notes issuance on Euronext Paris, acting for Gabon on its $500m sovereign bond issuance, and advising the banks on Total’s €5bn two-tranche note issuance – the largest euro-denominated corporate hybrid bond issuance to date. Clients are also ‘impressed by the team’s quality and responsiveness’ in the high-yield bond field. Gilles Endréo is a leading figure in the market and US partner and high-yield specialist Colin Chang is ‘very technical and very hands-on the process’. Cenzi Gargaro, Séverin Robillard and counsel Max Turner are also recommended.

CMS is a leading player in the EuroPP area, where it assists top financial institutions and corporations. Recent highlights include advising Natixis and Octo Finances on the first Euro PP green bond issuances, as well as acting for Natixis on the first EuroPP listed on the Euronext Paris open market. The firm also advises on the establishment of Euro medium-term note (EMTN) programmes. Marc-Etienne Sébire heads the practice, in which Grégory Benteux is another name to note.

Leading French corporations regularly turn to Herbert Smith Freehills LLP for the issuance of listed or non-listed bonds. The practice recently advised Société Foncière Lyonnaise on a €500m bond issuance listed on NYSE Euronext, and assisted Infra Foch and Vinci Park with the former’s inaugural and innovative €950m bond issuance. The firm also assists with the establishment and updating of EMTN programmes. Practice head Louis de Longeaux is highly recommended.

Latham & Watkins is the market leader in the high-yield sector, where it recently advised the underwriters on Paprec’s €480m green bond issuance – noteworthy as being the first high-yield green bond issued in France. Thomas Margenet-Baudry heads the practice.

Linklaters LLP often advises leading banks on large note issuances by major French corporations. The practice assisted HSBC with a CNY500m note issuance by Air Liquide Finance – the first Formosa bond issued by a French corporation – and acted for the lead managers on Publicis’ €700m and €600m bond issuances listed on Euronext Paris. Véronique Delaittre is the key contact. Jeremy Grant joined De Pardieu Brocas Maffei.


Index of tables

  1. Capital markets: equity
  2. Other recommended firms
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

The ‘outstandingCleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP has ‘a very comprehensive approach on all topics, reviewing all the angles’. The team, which is ‘always on the side of protecting the company and its management’, often represents issuers on large and complex deals. It recently advised on most of the market’s key transactions, such as assisting The Walt Disney Company with Euro Disney’s €1bn recapitalisation, advising Europcar on its IPO, and acting for Numericable on its €4.7bn capital increase. Key figures in the team include French and US-qualified lawyer John Brinitzer, whose contribution is ‘instrumental in all the process and deal execution’, as well as Andrew Bernstein, Fabrice Baumgartner and Marie-Laurence Tibi, who is ‘strong in every aspect and remains serene’.

White & Case LLP delivers ‘excellent services and has one of the best teams in Paris’. The firm has an unmatched comprehensive practice with some 25 lawyers involved. The practice is an established leader in the equity capital markets (ECM) area, advising on most of the market’s top transactions every year spanning block trade, IPO, capital increase and convertibles deals. Recent highlights include assisting Spie with its IPO and advising the underwriting syndicate on Europcar’s €1bn IPO and €475m high-yield issuance. Philippe Herbelin heads the practice, in which Séverin Robillard and Thomas Le Vert are also key names.

Allen & Overy LLP’s ‘very professional and dedicated’ team adopts ‘a reliable and sensitive approach’, and is ‘among the most accurate law firms in the ECM area’; the practice often covers IPOs and capital increases, as well as private and public offerings of equity and equity-linked securities transactions in Europe, block trades and OCEANE transactions. It assisted the banking syndicate with Spie’s €1bn IPO and advised Goldman Sachs and Société Générale CIB on Ingenico’s €500m OCEANE issuance. The practice is led by ‘great professional’ Marc Castagnède and Diana Billik. Also noteworthy are recently promoted partner Julien Sébastien and counsel Olivier Thébault, who is ‘a really talented and well-organised lawyer who has the ability to run a transaction without leaving aside any detail, while maintaining a very calm and reassuring manner’.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. is ‘one of the few French firms able to compete with the Anglo-Saxon firms’, for issuer and underwriter representations alike. The practice has ‘deep knowledge of French law’ and is also able to provide US law advice including with regard to private placements and US IPOs. The team recently completed a high volume of work in the life sciences sector, notably including advising DBV Technologies SA on its Nasdaq IPO. The practice also assisted the underwriters regarding Solairedirect’s IPO on Euronext Paris and Rule 144A US offering. The team is ‘highly responsive and efficient’. Key figures in the practice include Arnaud Duhamel and Melinda Arsouze, who are both ‘very good advisers’.

Jones Day stands out for its broad range of experience advising start-up companies, CAC 40 companies, issuers and financial institutions on French and US law. The practice is a leading player for ECM transactions involving biotechnology and notably assisted Cellectis with its Nasdaq IPO. The firm was also busy advising on large equity-linked transactions, representing Ingenico with its €500m OCEANE issuance. Linda Hesse heads the practice, in which Renaud Bonnet, Charles Gavoty and Florent Bouyer are also recommended.

Shearman & Sterling LLP’s ‘experienced team’ can call on the firm’s extensive network. The group regularly advises underwriters and corporations on ECM and equity-linked transactions. The practice also handles some DCM and high-yield bond transactions, including assisting Bolloré with a €450m bond issuance and listing on the Euronext Paris regulated market. Practice head Hervé Letréguilly and Sami Toutounji are recommended; counsel Séverine de La Courtie is also highly involved.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s versatile corporate team is able to advise on large and complex ECM and DCM transactions in France and the US. It often acts for large French issuers and advised Elis on its €750m IPO on Euronext Paris. The ‘business-minded’ Olivier de Vilmorin, senior counsel Patrick Bonvarlet, Krystian Czerniecki and William Torchiana are highly experienced.

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