Capital markets: equity capital markets in France
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton excels in initial public offerings (IPOs) and rights offerings, and acts for an impressive list of major French and international corporations such as Sanofi, Soitec and CMA CGM. Recent highlights include advising Gecina on its rights offering aimed at partially financing its acquisition of Eurosic, a matter led by Andrew Bernstein, Valérie Lemaitre and Pierre-Yves Chabert. John Brinitzer and Marie-Laurence Tibi represented Europcar in its €175m capital increase through accelerated private placement of shares to qualified investors. Fabrice Baumgartner is another name to note. Jeanne Theuret made counsel.
A 'market leader, in particular for IPOs', White & Case LLP combines 'technical expertise, commercial sense and courage', making it a 'tier one practice'. The varied practice covers IPOs, share capital increases, equity-linked offerings and block trades. In addition to assisting Crédit Agricole, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs as global co-ordinators and joint bookrunners with Altran's €750m share capital increase, it also advised J.P. Morgan as sole global co-ordinator on Vivendi's sale of its entire €2bn stake in Ubisoft, structured as an accelerated bookbuilding international private placement with institutional investors. A recent IPO highlight was advising Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot on its €623m IPO on the Euronext Paris. The main practitioners are practice head Philippe Herbelin, Colin Chang, Thomas Le Vert and Séverin Robillard. Max Turner made partner. Other clients include BNP Paribas, Vallourec and Groupama.
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP impresses with 'strong expertise in capital markets' and a 'very committed', 'precise' and 'proactive' team. The group's caseload consists primarily of IPOs, share capital increases, equity-linked transactions and block trades, and clients include both large international corporates and financial institutions. 'Remarkable' counsel Olivier Thébault advised Ivanhoé Cambridge on the €473m sale of Gecina shares by way of an accelerated bookbuilding, as well as Natixis and Kepler Chevreux on a €180m bond offering. 'Expert' Marc Castagnède leads the practice jointly with Diana Billik, who now heads the international capital markets practice after Hervé Ekué's appointment as managing partner of the Paris office. Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Société Générale and Orano are also clients.
Bredin Prat's 'great practice' is 'well embedded in the firm's M&A group', making it the 'perfect match to advise on large and complex M&A deals with a capital markets component'. The team is noted for its 'exceptional quality and strong involvement' and 'seamless execution capabilities'. IPOs and private placements of equity securities are the practice's mainstay, and recent highlights include advising KKR on the sale of its stake in Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot in the context of its IPO on the Euronext Paris. Ubisoft received advice on Vivendi's exit from the client's share capital via a €2.1bn private placement led by J.P. Morgan as well as on the associated share buy-back by Ubisoft. Other work came from Groupe Delachaux and its majority stakeholder Ande Investissement, Fosun and Banque Fédérative du Crédit Mutuel. 'Exceptional' practice head Olivier Saba 'knows how to identify issues, bring efficient and business-driven solutions, negotiate in his client's best interests and accompany the client and other advisers to the finishing line'.
Clifford Chance is particularly active in IPOs, but also demonstrates strength in rights offerings, convertible bonds, block trades and equity derivatives. Employee shares schemes and stock option schemes are another area of focus. US securities specialist Alex Bafi and Aline Cardin, an expert in French and international securities offerings, head the practice. Jointly with regulatory specialist Frédérick Lacroix the team advised Société Générale as shareholder and ALD as issuer on ALD's €1.2bn Rule 144A IPO on the Euronext Paris, assisting with both French and US law issues. On the block trade side, recent highlights include advising Altrafin on the sale of 8.4% of Altran's share capital by way of accelerated bookbuilding. Olivier Plessis made counsel and Julien Rocherieux was promoted to partner.
Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. combines life sciences and technology-sector expertise with extensive experience handling IPOs, share capital increases and convertible bonds. It attracts high-profile public and private sector clients, including financial institutions and major corporations. Headed by Arnaud Duhamel and Melinda Stege Arsouze, the group also has capabilities in French and US law. Duhamel advised Morgan Stanley as joint global co-ordinator alongside Goldman Sachs on the global offering of ordinary shares in DBV Technologies, including a public offering of ordinary shares in the form of American Depositary Shares in the US and a private placement of ordinary shares in Europe. A recent highlight in the life sciences sector saw Stege Arsouze act for GenSight Biologics in a €22.5m global Regulation S private placement and in a Rule 144A private placement. Other clients include Inventiva, Société Générale and the Agence des participations de l'État.
The 'very effective' team at Jones Day has particular strength in advising life sciences companies on their IPOs, but also excels in handling equity-linked instruments. Practice head Linda A Hesse, who 'provides great support', and Florent Bouyer advised HSBC France and Natixis on automotive supplier Novares' IPO. Jointly with derivatives expert Qian Hu, Bouyer also assisted Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank on Vivendi's sale of its stake in Ubisoft through equity derivatives transactions and a block trade. Charles Gavoty is another key contact. Clients also include Total, Mainstay Medical International and Tikehau Capital Partners.
IPOs form the core of Latham & Watkins' practice, but the team is also adept at handling rights issuing, bookbuilding and equity-linked offerings. Practice head Thomas Margenet-Baudry advised Shandong Ruyi and Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot on the corporate structuring of its IPO as well as on its high-yield refinancing and concurrent consent solicitation regarding the high-yield bonds, showcasing the group's experience in matters combining equity and debt capital markets. Margenet-Baudry also assisted Autodis with its planned €1.2bn IPO. Bain Capital, BNP Paribas and Société Générale also instruct the team.
Linklaters handles IPOs, rights issues and private placements and has experience in corporate governance, market abuse and disclosure issues; block trades are another area of strength. Practice head Luis Roth and Bertrand Sénéchal form the heart of the practice and shoulder a highly international caseload, with recent highlights ranging from advising Bank of America Merrill Lynch as global co-ordinator, lead manager and book runner on Sandro, Maje, Claudie Pierlot's €541 IPO, to assisting Genfit with its first €180m bonds issue, ending with a multiple times oversubscribed offering. Crédit Agricole, AXA and Transgene also count among the clients. Equity derivatives specialist and managing associate Vincent Poilleux joined from a role in-house at Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank.
Shearman & Sterling LLP is noted for its strong expertise in management and employee incentive schemes, in addition to its strong track record in IPOs, rights offerings, block trades and securities, both hybrid and equity-linked. Jointly with the corporate team it advised Vivendi on its simplified public tender offer for the remaining Havas Group shares after Vivendi's acquisition of Bolloré's 60% stake in Havas Group. Another emblematic matter for the co-operation between the corporate and capital market teams was assisting Japan Nuclear Fuel with its investment in Orano, including a €3bn capital increase conducted in two stages through reserved capital increases. Practice head Hervé Letréguilly and governance, compensation and employee shareholding specialist Sami Toutounji are the key practitioners, alongside counsel Séverine de la Courtie. Altice USA, Crédit Industriel et Commercial and Saint-Gobain also count among the clients.
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is particularly active in share capital increases as well as share capital sales through accelerated bookbuilding. Recent highlights include Olivier de Vilmorin's advice to Altran Technologies on its €750m share capital increase with preferential subscription rights, conducted through a public offering in France and a private placement abroad, and advising Eurazeo on the sale of its 4.2% stake in Accor for €552m by way of an accelerated bookbuilding to institutional investors, a cross-border matter with French and US aspects. EDF, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup also form part of the client roster. Patrick Bonvarlet retired.