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France > Mergers and acquisitions > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Mergers and acquisitions
  2. Other recommended firms
  3. Leading individuals:

Leading individuals:

  1. 1

With more than 50 lawyer involved, Bredin Prat has one of France’s largest and most highly regarded teams, which is routinely involved in the most strategic transactions. The practice is advising Areva on the restructuring and planned sale of Areva NP, as well as acting for Darty on the French aspects of its proposed acquisition by Fnac. The firm also completed several very large transactions in the US, such as assisting Air Liquide with its acquisition of Airgas. GE and Danone are also clients. The team contains numerous high-profile figures including Didier Martin, Patrick Dziewolski, Sébastien Prat, Olivier Assant and Benjamin Kanovitch. Also recommended are: Alexander Blackburn, Sophie Cornette de Saint Cyr, Barthélémy Courteault, Emmanuel Masset and Kate Romain. Clémence Fallet was promoted to partner.

The ‘outstandingCleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is ‘very quick, efficient and has great M&A and securities expertise’. The ten-partner practice advises on the market’s largest and most complex transactions. It recently assisted Crédit Agricole with the transfer of interest in the capital of its regional banks to Crédit Agricole S.A. The practice also advised Total on its €950m acquisition of Saft and acted for Groupama in the merger of HoldCo SIIC into Icade. Amundi, the French state and LafargeHolcim are also clients. The ‘brilliant’ Pierre-Yves Chabert is a market-leading practitioner. Jean-Marie Ambrosi, Amélie Champsaur, Charles Masson and counsel Sophie de Beer are also key figures.

Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier attracts many of the market’s most prominent instructions and recently advised on a series of high-profile domestic and cross-border transactions. It assisted Technip during its combination with FMC Technologies and advised AccorHotels on the acquisition of Fairmont Raffles International. The practice also helped Casino with the €3bn disposal of its stake in Big C Supercenter in Thailand. ‘Fully dedicated dealmaker’ Alain Maillot, Jean-Michel Darrois, Emmanuel Brochier, Bertrand Cardi and Marcus Billam are prominent figures in the market. Pierre Casanova, Ben Burman, Hugo Diener, Olivier Huyghues Despointes, Christophe Vinsonneau and recently promoted partner Laurent Gautier are also recommended.

The ‘highly recommendedBDGS Associés is ‘technically excellent’ and ‘willing to provide the extra service’. It is a go-to firm for complex and strategic deals in France, as well as advice to executive boards. The 18-lawyer team was recently involved in a series of complex transactions for leading French clients, especially in the banking and insurance sector. It assisted La Banque Postale with the renewal of its partnership with CNP Assurances and advised Fnac on its £914m acquisition of Darty. Antoine Bonnasse, public sector deals expert Jean-Emmanuel Skovron and Marc Loy are highly regarded, as is Youssef Djehane, who ‘forms excellent relationships with his clients and really adds value on a transaction’. Thomas Meli and recently promoted partner Lucile Gaillard are other names to note.

Clifford Chance advises many leading French and multinational corporations. The practice fields over 40 lawyers and is regularly involved in large transactions, especially in the energy, financial services and defence sectors. It recently assisted EDF Energies Nouvelles with the acquisition of Dong’s 30% stake in Eolien Maritimes France and the subsequent sale of 50% of the acquired share capital to Enbridge. It also advised Mondelēz on the sale of its French confectionery business. Airbus, Carrefour and L’Oréal are also clients. Fabrice Cohen, the ‘serious and technical’ Gilles Lebreton, Mathieu Remy, Thierry Schoen and Laurent Schoenstein are the key names in the practice. Marianne Pezant was promoted partner.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is praised for its ‘excellent work, responsiveness, knowledge and appropriateness of advice’. The team routinely advises on high-end cross-border and domestic M&A, recently including deals in the energy and infrastructure sectors. It has been advising EDF on the proposed acquisition of a majority stake in Areva NP and acted for Danone in two important outbound acquisitions in the dairy sector. Engie, LafargeHolcim, CDC, Ardian and Airbus are also clients. Practice head Hervé Pisani is a market-leading figure. Also recommended are the experienced Alan Mason and Olivier Rogivue, as well as Florent Mazeron. Patrick Tardivy joined Orrick Rambaud Martel.

Latham & Watkins has ‘a very good combination of large international firm and local expertise’. It is involved in very high-profile global transactions, notably including assisting FMC Technologies in its merger with Technip and acting for Nissan in the negotiation of an arrangement as part of its alliance with Renault. Alcatel-Lucent and Schlumberger are also clients, as are many leading investment funds. Key figures in the practice include Olivier du Mottay, Pierre-Louis Cléro and the ‘technically excellentPatrick Laporte, who ‘understands business issues and manages complex issues very well’.

Linklaters provides ‘an exceptional level of service’ through its team of over 40 lawyers. The ‘efficient’ group advises prominent clients, including many leading French groups, often on outbound and multi-jurisdictional transactions. It recently assisted Casino with the sale of a controlling stake in Thailand’s Big C and acted for Nestlé in a joint venture with PAI Partners and R&R Ice Cream. Lafarge-Holcim and Engie are also clients. Key names in the practice include Pierre Tourres, Marc Petitier, David Swinburne and the ‘very good’ Fabrice de la Morandière.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP has great expertise and assists some of France’s largest corporations with their strategic transactions domestically and overseas. Recent work for multinationals includes advising General Electric on the sale of GE Fleet. The firm also handles a fair amount of distressed M&A work. Claude Serra, Arthur de Baudry d’Asson, Yannick Piette and Agathe Soilleux are recommended.

Allen & Overy LLP’s ‘high-level expertise makes deals happen and always takes into consideration business aspects’. The ‘highly responsive’ team assists many leading French and international corporations in large private and public M&A transactions. It recently advised a consortium comprising Vinci Airports, CDC and Predica on buying out the French state’s 60% stake in Aéroport de Lyon. Practice head Frédéric Moreau is ‘a dealmaker’. Other key figures are Marc Castagnède, Alexandre Ancel, Frédéric Jungels and Jean-Claude Rivalland, who ‘gives real added-value advice’, as well as recently promoted partner Romy Richter.

August Debouzy has a strong client base which includes several leading French corporations. The team recently advised Covéa Coopérations on the purchase of a 5% stake in Scor SE and acted for Total, Géostock and Inéos on the sale of Géosud to CNP Assurances. Rexel, BPI, Orange and Dassault Aviation are also clients. Key figures in the team include practice head Gilles August, Pierre Descheemaeker, Julien Aucomte and Julien Wagmann. Notably, the firm hired Jérôme Brosset from Brandford Griffith.

Brandford Griffith has ‘extensive experience of public M&A transactions in France’. The compact team provides ‘excellent quality work’ and has ‘great knowledge of the French environment’. Highlight included advising Crédit Agricole on the transfer of its 25% holding in the regional banks. Henri Brandford-Griffith is ‘a very smart adviser, able to devise very innovative solutions’. Jérôme Brosset moved to August Debouzy, while Thibaut Cambuzat joined from Clifford Chance.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is retained by leading French and European corporations to handle large transactions, often with a strong US element. The firm notably assisted Technip in its combination with FMC Technologies, and advised CDC with the acquisition of the interest held by Veolia in their joint subsidiary Transdev. Solvay and Millicom are clients. The practice is led by Georges Terrier, Jacques Naquet-Radiguet and Christophe Perchet.

De Pardieu Brocas Maffei is ‘able to adapt to complex situations and tight deadlines’. The 33-lawyer team, which shows ‘great listening skills’, advises on public and private M&A transactions; it has great knowledge of real estate and ‘strong insurance and banking M&A expertise’. Highlights included advising Eurosic on its takeover bid for Foncière de Paris and acting for Credit Mutuel’s BFCM in the acquisition of GE’s leasing and factoring activities in France and Germany. The practice is led by Thierry Brocas, Patrick Jaïs, Guillaume Touttée and Jean-François Pourdieu. The ‘smart, quick and efficientCédric Chanas and Nicolas Favre are emerging talents; Frédéric Keller was named partner.

Gibson Dunn assists many leading French corporations and is regularly involved in large cross-border transactions such as assisting a leading multinational pharmaceuticals company with a high-profile transaction. Lazard, Publicis and Vivendi are also clients. Bernard Grinspan, Ariel Harroch, Benoît Fleury, Patrick Ledoux and Jean-Philippe Robé lead the practice.

Benefiting from a real international network of offices’, Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. has ‘top-class know-how and skills’ as well as ‘an excellent mixture of business and legal advice’. The 51-lawyer practice advises many leading French companies and recently completed notable transactions in the property sector. The firm was involved in a major deal through its advice to Agence des Participations de l’Etat on the privatisation of Nice and Lyon airports. It also assisted Solairedirect during its sale to Engie. Christophe Eck and Didier Martin are highly recommended along with Guillaume Rougier-Brierre, whose ‘strong international experience is key to conducting complex deals in an efficient and simple manner’. Other names to note include: Hugues Scalbert, Nadège Nguyen, ‘very diligent and good negotiatorAntoine Lelong, the ‘responsive and business-orientedJean-Gabriel Flandrois, Axelle Toulemonde, Antoine Tézenas du Montcel, Anne Tolila and David-James Sebag.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP runs ‘a high-quality practice that any publicly traded company can trust to get the right answers’. Its lawyers stand out for ‘their dedicated attitude and deft skill at pulling off transactions while making it look easy’. The nearly 40-lawyer team advises many leading French and international clients, such as BNP Paribas and Danone, and regularly handles strategic public M&A. It assisted Gecina with its public offer for Foncière de Paris. Practice head Hubert Segain has ‘real business sense and is as good dealing with IP issues as antitrust or corporate matters’. Frédéric Bouvet and Edouard Thomas are also recommended.

Jones Day is regularly retained by leading French companies to handle global or outbound transactions. Fielding more than 30 lawyers, the team is very active across the industrial, energy, pharmaceuticals and hi-tech sectors. It recently assisted BNP Paribas with the acquisition of certain assets and liabilities from RBS. Areva and Criteo are clients. Sophie Hagège heads the practice, which notably includes Alexandre de Verdun, Gaël Saint Olive and Renaud Bonnet, as well as recently promoted partners Audrey Bontemps and Jean-Gabriel Griboul.

Lacourte Raquin Tatar produces ‘high-quality work’. The ‘highly available and committed’ team assists many CAC 40 groups and leading property investors. The firm often handles key matters in the property, telecoms, transport and energy sectors, including outbound transactions, where a number of recent deals have involved Africa. The practice assisted Amundi Immobilier with the acquisition of the Gecimed portfolio and advised Deutsche Bank Infra Fund on the purchase of a 50% stake in Akiem. SNCF and Orange are also clients. Practice head Serge Tatar and Renaud Rossa ‘are both fully dedicated to their clients, and have excellent technical and negotiating skills’. Nicolas Jüllich and Cyrille Bailly are other names to note.

Orrick Rambaud Martel assists many leading French and international corporations and investors. Staffed by more than 30 lawyers, the team advises small to medium-size transactions to large-cap, ranging from domestic to global deals. Highlights included advising Bourbon on the acquisition of gas transport businesses from Jaccar. The practice also handled strategic transactions elsewhere in the energy sector. Practice head Saam Golshani, Jean-Pierre Martel, Etienne Boursican, Alexis Marraud des Grottes and George Rigo are top-level advisers, as are recent arrivals Patrick Tardivy, who joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, and Guillaume Kessler, who moved from Olswang France LLP.

Shearman & Sterling LLP is regularly involved in high-profile domestic transactions for French, Asian and international groups and investors, as well as handling outbound deals. It recently assisted Nokia with the acquisition of French company Withings. Société Générale, Bpifrance, Florac and Jin Jiang are other clients. The eight-lawyer practice is headed by Guillaume Isautier, who has ‘impeccable negotiation tactics and is instrumental in bridging the parties’ opposing interests’. Nicolas Bombrun is the other key name in the practice.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has ‘a very good and quick team with in-depth knowledge’. It is particularly recommended for international deals and is highly experienced in M&A involving listed companies. Highlights included advising Nokia during its combination with Alcatel-Lucent and acting for Nippon Steel Sumitomo Metal in its purchase of a 15% interest in Vallourec. European practice head Armand Grumberg is praised for his ‘strategic and negotiating skills’. Olivier Diaz is ‘a leading name, very good for listed and non-listed transactions, who remains very close to his clients’. Pascal Bine is another name to note.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP provides ‘an outstanding level of service’. The practice advises on strategic public M&A and cross-border deals. It assisted EDF with EDF Belgium’s acquisition of Publilum and VEH’s 6.33% stake in EDF Luminus. Alcatel-Lucent, Alibaba, Eurazeo and Euro Disney are also clients. Practice co-heads Olivier de Vilmorin and senior counsel Patrick Bonvarlet are highly rated. William Torchiana is well regarded for insurance sector deals.

Veil Jourde advises many leading French groups on M&A, securities and governance matters. The 15-lawyer team is strong on the upper mid-cap market, while also regularly picking up instructions on large strategic transactions. It recently assisted Icade during its merger with Hold Co SIIC and advised shareholder Bpifrance during Technip’s merger with FMC Technologies. Perceva Capital and Vivendi are also clients. Jean Veil, Pierre Deval, François de Navailles, Géraud Saint Guilhem and Laurent Jobert are experienced advisers.

The ‘reactive and efficientWhite & Case LLP has ‘a well-organised team’ of over 40 lawyers which assists many leading French and international corporations or investors. The firm has particular strength in the property and banking sectors, as well as cross-border deals. Highlights included assisting Orange with its acquisition of a 65% stake in Groupama Banque, as well as advising FRHI, Qatar Investment Authority and Kingdom on the $2.9bn sale of FRHI – the parent company of luxury hotel brands Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel. Hugues Mathez heads the practice in which other names to note are Vincent Morin, Franck De Vita, Nathalie Nègre-Eveillard, the ‘technically excellent’ Guillaume Vallat, Eric Laplante and François Leloup, who is acknowledged for his ‘great interpersonal and negotiating skills’.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP advises many large French corporations on large outbound M&A or strategic domestic deals. The practice notably assisted BPI with its purchase of a minority shareholding in Vallourec and acted for CMA CGM on the acquisition of Neptune Orient. Elior, Technip, Arkema, Lagardère and Bonduelle are other clients. Daniel Hurstel and Eduardo Fernandez are the key names in the practice. Cédric Hajage and Grégoire Finance are also recommended along with ‘dealmaker’ Annette Péron, who is ‘fully dedicated to her clients’.

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Legal Developments in France for Mergers and acquisitions

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Legal Developments in France

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  • The new French regulation applying to national insurance contributions for managers and shareholders

    French insurance contributions on executive and shareholder remuneration (pay + dividends) have been substantially increased by the National Insurance Funding for 2013 Act, No. 2012-1404, of 17th December 2012. Until 31st December 2012, all dividends were subject to national insurance contributions on unearned income but henceforth, under Article L136-3 of the National Insurance Code, amended by Act No. 2012-1404, certain dividends   are considered as pay received by executives and shareholders and are therefore subject to the national insurance contributions on pay. The Act also abolished the ceiling on health insurance contributions payable by the self-employed and all this means that businesses must rethink the way that they have been structured until now.
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Press Releases worldwide

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to