Dispute resolution: Stock market litigation in France

Bredin Prat

Bredin Prat has extensive experience in stock market and listed companies’ litigation. Among the group's high-profile cases are defences of leading companies facing proceedings launched by minority shareholders challenging a significant M&A transactions approved by the French securities regulator (AMF) and a number of matters involving the defence of companies or their high-level executives facing AMF investigations pertaining to insider trading and communication of misleading information allegations. Eric Dezeuze, senior partner Didier Martin and Sébastien Prat as well as litigators Jean-Daniel Bretzner and Ève Duminy are the key contacts.

Other key lawyers:

Eric Dezeuze; Didier Martin; Sébastien Prat; Jean-Daniel Bretzner; Eve Duminy

Key clients

Experimental Group

Michel Friedlander (former CEO of Altran)

Rothschild & Co

Work highlights

  • Representing the CFO of Altran before the financial regulation administrative authority regarding accusations of spreading misleading information on the financial market.
  • Acting for Rothschild & Co in a dispute brought by a minority shareholder about the merger between Rothschild & Co and another bank.
  • Defending the funders of Experimental Group in various legal actions against Neo Capital.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is one of the go-to-firms for strategic matters involving listed companies. The firm is regularly appointed to assist with disputes directly linked to high-profile tender offers. Acting for Capgemini, it recently obtained the dismissal of the court proceedings led against Capgemini’s €5bn acquisition of Altran Technologies brought by the Association de Défense des Actionnaires Minoritaires (ADAM) before the Paris Court of Appeal. The practice also acts for defending leading companies and financial institutions in various AMF investigations. Jean-Yves Garaud and counsel Delphine Michot are recommended.

Practice head(s):

Jean-Yves Garaud; Delphine Michot

Key clients

Capgemini

Rothschild

Total

ArcelorMittal

COFACE

Soitec

Capital Group

Jump Trading

Stallergènes

Work highlights

  • Assisting Capgemini with the dismissal of the challenge against Capgemini’s €5bn acquisition of Altran Technologies.
  • Acting as counsel to Rothschild in claims brought by SCOR following its attempted takeover by COVEA.
  • Representing ArcelorMittal in civil court proceedings brought by former shareholders of Arcelor alleging misleading disclosures by ArcelorMittal regarding the exchange ratio of its merger with Mittal Steel.

Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier

Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier has impressive experience in the field of listed companies and stock market issues. The firm is regularly involved in cases pertaining to the market’s most high-profile tender offers and successfully defended Capgemini in shareholder activism proceedings launched against its €5bn public tender offer on Altran. The practice also offers experience in assisting CAC 40 companies in various shareholder activism disputes and in market abuse cases. Practice co-heads Jean-Michel Darrois, Emmanuel Brochier and Cyril Bonan as well as Matthieu Brochier and Nicolas Mennesson are high-level advisers.

Practice head(s):

Jean-Michel Darrois; Emmanuel Brochier; Cyril Bonan

Other key lawyers:

Matthieu Brochier; Nicolas Mennesson

Testimonials

‘Maître François de Bérard very quickly understood the stakes of the file which had been entrusted to him. He is a good strategist, tactician and obviously a fine lawyer, without lacking humour.’

‘In addition to Bertrand Cardi’s team’s unparalleled technical expertise in stock market law matters, the team is excellent in all matters of strategy. They not only take into account the question specifically asked, but also the consequences for the entire project and propose innovative solutions. The team is available at all times and meets deadlines.’

‘Bertrand Cardi is an outstanding lawyer. He is a creative lawyer who offers innovative and pragmatic solutions. He listens to his client and his needs.’

‘Nicolas Mennesson is an excellent lawyer who knows his cases like the back of his hand. In addition to his in-depth legal knowledge in the field, he is available, efficient and pragmatic.’

Key clients

Capgemini

XPO Logistics Inc

Autorité des Marchés Financiers (Financial Markets Authority)

Work highlights

  • Assisting Capgemini with the dispute over its public tender offer for Altran.
  • Assisting the French regulator with a dispute initiated by the AMF against a south Korean company in order to enforce order the execution of the south Korean company’s obligations in the context of a public offer in France.
  • Assisting XPO Logistic (NYSE) with proceedings against activist investor Elliott Management.

Orrick Rambaud Martel

Orrick Rambaud Martel is regularly involved in high-profile disputes pertaining to insider dealing, stock market price manipulation, misleading information and shareholder activism issues. The firm acts for major listed companies and multinational investment firms and was involved in a number of landmark disputes. It also acts in judicial recourse proceedings led against AMF decisions. Jean-Pierre Martel and Alexis Marraud des Grottes are excellent litigators.

Other key lawyers:

Jean-Pierre Martel; Alexis Marraud des Grottes

Key clients

DNCA

Elliott Capital Advisors

Iliad

Mercialys

Officiis Properties

Bastide Le Confort Medical

L’Oréal

Work highlights

  • Representing Elliott Capital Advisors in proceedings against XPO Logistics Inc. and XPO Logistics SAS arising from a tender offer launched by XPO.
  • Representing Elliott in challenging the tender offer of Capgemini on Altran with the ADAM and other shareholders.

Brandford Griffith

Boutique firm Brandford Griffith is well recognised for its longstanding experience in handling stock exchange and listed company-related issues, such as corporate governance and litigation. The team assists several companies facing investigations by the French stock market authority (AMF), notably regarding the value of the companies’ shares. Diane Pasturel and Henri Brandford Griffith are top experts.

Practice head(s):

Diane Pasturel; Henri Brandford Griffith

Key clients

Airbus

Parrot

Valoptec (Essilor)

Rallye / Casino Guichard-Perrachon

SEB

Work highlights

  • Advised Valoptec on corporate governance issues and legal proceedings arisen from the merger between Essilor and Luxottica and the integration process.
  • Advised a former CEO in connection with investigations initiated by the UK Serious Fraud Office, the French judicial authority and the US Department of Justice relating to allegations of fraud, bribery and corruption.
  • Advised Rallye in connection with investigations initiated by the French stock exchange authority (Autorité des marchés financiers).

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance regularly acts for Standard & Poor's in relation to AMF-led investigations. The firm is also experienced in cross-border insider trading cases, including assistance with AMF-led investigations conducted for insider trading. Thomas BaudessonDiego de Lammerville and Charles-Henri Boeringer co-head the practice.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Baudesson; Diego de Lammerville; Charles-Henri Boeringer

Key clients

Standard & Poor’s

Airbus

FXCM

Fortune Legend Ltd

Work highlights

  • Representing Fountain Legend Ltd in a litigation initiated by Consellior, a minority shareholder, in the context of the public tender offer initiated on the shares of Baccarat.

Cohen & Gresser LLP

Cohen & Gresser LLP acts for listed companies, their managers, investment funds and financial institutions. The practice is well regarded for its ability to handle regulatory and compliance issues, as well as AMF market abuse investigations. It acts in a wide range of market abuse matters, such as insider dealing, as well as in matters involving communication of false or misleading information. The team is alsoexperienced in cross-border cases involving both the French and US stock-market regulators. Muriel Goldberg-Darmon and Loïc Henriot co-head the practice, which also includes counsel Guillaume Guérin.

Practice head(s):

Muriel Goldberg-Darmon; Loïc Henriot

Other key lawyers:

Guillaume Guérin

Testimonials

Muriel Goldberg-Darmons and Guillaume Guérins great legal qualities and excellent knowledge of the AMF proceedings are very appreciated.’

Key clients

Alexis Kuperfis

Ackermans & van Haaren NV

Tordjmans family

Work highlights

  • Represented the former CEO of a listed French fashion company in connection with an AMF investigation and enforcement proceedings regarding potential market abuses.
  • Defending a client in several criminal investigations alleging multiple insider dealing transactions over a two-year period.
  • Representing Ackermans & van Haaren against Pollen, a minority investor in Groupe Duval, in connection with claims of breach of a shareholders agreement.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. has strong specialised expertise in assisting financial institutions and asset management firms with AMF compliance investigations and related sanction proceedings. The firm was recently appointed to assist with one-of-a-kind appeal proceedings challenging an AMF sanction concerning a non-regulated entity. The practice also acts in market abuse cases, particularly alongside financial institutions. Jean-Philippe Pons-Henry is the key name in the practice. Also involved are Jean-Guillaume de TocquevilleBruno Quentin and Stéphane Puel.

Practice head(s):

Jean-Philippe Pons-Henry; Stéphane Puel; Bruno Quentin; Jean-Guillaume de Tocqueville

Testimonials

‘A 5-star team.’

‘Jean-Philippe Pons-Henry is able to deal with the most complicated aspects of financial techniques. He is familiar with regulatory issues and a leading interlocutor on all subjects. He is outstanding.’

‘Highly talented team that combines cutting-edge technical expertise in financial markets, detailed legal analysis and a sound strategic vision in each case.’

‘Jean-Philippe Pons-Henry demonstrates great mastery, whether in the definition of the litigation strategy or of the legal arguments. His inventive approach often allows him to come out on top in seemingly inextricable situations.’

Work highlights

  • Representing a France-based custodian bank in sanctions proceedings before the AMF Enforcement Committee regarding revenues amounting to circa €50m arisen from the investment of cash collateral retained in relation to securities lending and borrowing transactions.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP was recently involved in one of France’s landmark stock market tender offers through its successful assistance to Altran Technologies regarding a friendly tender offer initiated by Capgemini. The practice is highly recognised for its AMF market abuse and regulatory expertise. It regularly assists banks, bankers, asset managers and other financial institutions facing the scrutiny of the AMF. The practice also offers expertise in matters that simultaneously involve French and foreign authorities. Antoine Juaristi and Martin Le Touzé, who made partner in 2020, are the key contacts. Clément Dupoirier and corporate partner Hubert Segain also contribute.

Practice head(s):

Antoine Juaristi; Clément Dupoirier

Other key lawyers:

Martin Le Touzé; Hubert Segain

Key clients

GENERALI

NAMFi

Work highlights

  • Represented Generali Vie in litigation proceedings before the French Supreme Court against an individual, Mr Groell, in relation to an investment that Mr Groell made in structured products.
  • Advised Altran Technologies on a friendly tender offer initiated by Capgemini on 100% of its share capital and voting rights.
  • Assisting NAM Finance with an AMF investigation targeting its remuneration scheme in relation to its temporary purchase and sale of securities’ activity.

Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP

Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP added Arthur Dethomas to the team in January 2020 when he joined from his own firm, now renamed Peltier Juvigny Marpeau & Associés, to launch the firm’s stock market litigation practice. He notably defends several investment funds facings AMF sanction proceedings in relation to insider dealing accusations.

Practice head(s):

Arthur Dethomas

Testimonials

Good technical knowledge and in-depth and thought-through legal arguments.’

Jeantet

Jeantet’s Frank Martin Laprade defends several investment funds and shareholders facing AMF investigations on market abuse grounds as well as before court following condemnations by the AMF. Laprade also acts in several high-stakes disputes involving the derivative markets. Martine Samuelian is expert at assisting banks and financial institutions with regulatory compliance audits led by the AMF, including assistance with connected disciplinary proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Frank Martin Laprade; Martine Samuelian

Testimonials

‘Martine Samuelian is a very strong professional who has an excellent knowledge of banking and financial practice. Her work has been remarkable, particularly thorough and serious.’

Work highlights

  • Assisting Arkéa Direct Bank with proceedings before the administrative Court against the AMF (French stock market authority) Enforcement Committee.

Peltier Juvigny Marpeau & Associés

Peltier Juvigny Marpeau & Associés regularly defends a leading financial accounting audit firm in AMF investigations. The practice is also retained by individuals and financial investors for AMF market abuse investigations. It is notably involved in several insider dealing investigations. Practice head Frédéric Peltier has extensive experience. Counsel Clément Wierre also provides key support.

Practice head(s):

Frédéric Peltier

Other key lawyers:

Clément Wierre

Key clients

Intermediate Capital Group (ICG)

Altamir

DNCA

Jekiti Mar Capital

Apax Partners

Work highlights

  • Representing  DNCA, an investment fund which holds a minority stake in Lagardère, in various proceedings against the company.
  • Representing Altamir, a listed private equity investor, in several litigation proceedings against Moneta Asset Management, one of its main minority shareholders.
  • Assisting Jekiti Mar Capital and former managers of MFG with proceedings introduced by minority shareholders for compensation for the loss of their investment in the company.

Perchet Rontchevsky & Associes

Opened in January 2020, boutique firm Perchet Rontchevsky & Associes focuses on corporate transactions, strategic governance advice and corporate and securities litigation. It was founded by consummate M&A and litigation adviser Christophe Perchet (ex Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP) and law professor Nicolas Rontchevsky, one of the market’s most respected corporate and securities law scholars. In October 2020, Jean-Christophe Devouge (ex associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP) joined the firm as the third partner. The boutique assists a stellar client base, including many of France’s largest listed companies as well as boards of directors. It was recently involved in two landmark market abuse cases and assists several companies facing AMF investigations.

Practice head(s):

Christophe Perchet; Nicolas Rontchevsky

Rossi Bordes AARPI

Rossi Bordes AARPI ’s Eric Boillot assists CEOs, bankers and investors with AMF investigations and sanction proceedings pertaining to various market abuse offence allegations, including insider dealing and issuance of misleading financial communication. He also assists leading banks and funds with AMF compliance investigations. Dominique Bordes co-heads the practice with Boillot.

Practice head(s):

Dominique Bordes; Eric Boillot

Simmons & Simmons

Simmons & Simmons assists investment funds, companies and individuals in AMF-led market abuse investigations, pertaining notably to insider dealing accusations. Practice head Thierry Gontard, whose experience also includes assisting financial institutions with AMF-led compliance regulatory audits, is highly experienced.

Practice head(s):

Thierry Gontard

Key clients

UBS Limited London and France

Société Générale

Crédit du Nord

Natixis – BPCE

Deutsche Bank AG

Elliott Management Corporation

Covéa including Covéa Finance

Amber Capital UK LLP

Moody’s US

Davidson Kempner

Work highlights

  • Representing UBS Limited before the AMF enforcement committee in a market abuse case relating to the transmission of insider information.

Viguié Schmidt & Associés

Viguié Schmidt & Associés often acts for individuals, such as CEOs, board members and executives of listed companies. The firm is entrusted with sensitive matters and assists clients with AMF market abuse investigations pertaining to high-profile companies or transactions. The firm also offers experience in acting for listed companies facing AMF investigations. Practice heads Nicolas Viguié and Yves Schmidt are excellent M&A advisors and litigators.

Practice head(s):

Yves Schmidt; Nicolas Viguié

Testimonials

Yves Schmidt is one of the very best Parisian lawyers in this field. Excellent lawyer, excellent litigator, excellent judicial tactician. It is an asset to work alongside him and a challenge to face him in court.’

Work highlights

  • Representing the CEO of AB Science before the infringement commission of the AMF.
  • Defending a trader in proceedings before the infringement commission of the AMF and court of appeal.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP's Diane Lamarche wasted no time growing the practice since she joined from Orrick Rambaud Martel in April 2019, bringing new clients and matters to the firm. She acts for leading investment funds in high-stakes market abuse and shareholder conflict cases involving major listed companies, notably in a very high-profile stock market manipulation case and in a distinct AMF-led investigation.

Practice head(s):

Diane Lamarche

Key clients

Amber Capital

Paul de Brancion & Co

Work highlights

  • Assisting Amber Capital with the management of its minority stakes in Lagardère, including several ongoing judicial proceedings between Amber Capital and Lagardère.
  • Representing four shareholders of EJ Barbier, a family-owned company holding a majority stake in the listed company EPC, in proceedings launched by activist fund Candel & Partners.

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP has strong expertise in representing leading banks and financial institutions in AMF regulatory, investigation and enforcement cases. The practice is involved in sensitive cases relating to the disclosure of financial information for listed M&A transactions. Its appointment as advisor in one of France’s first private enforcement proceedings launched following an AMF condemnation is a stand-out feature. Dan Benguigui, who made partner in May 2020, is particularly recommended. He co-heads the practice with Erwan Poisson.

Practice head(s):

Erwan Poisson; Dan Benguigui

Testimonials

Available, strong knowledge of procedures and of the banking and finance environment, excellent writing skills.’

Key clients

BNP Paribas

Crédit Suisse

Work highlights

  • Assisting Credit Suisse with a dispute relating to the attempted acquisition bid by French company Covea on French reinsurance company Scor.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP represents listed companies and financial institutions. In particular, the firm assisted a major company with a dispute with a financial analyst concerning the release of negative financial reports, and acted for a company facing an AMF investigation. Senior counsel Georges Terrier and counsel Alexandre Vermynck co-lead the practice. Christophe Perchet left the firm in 2020 to set up his own firm Perchet Rontchevsky & Associes.

Practice head(s):

Georges Terrier; Alexandre Vermynck

Key clients

LVMH

Gecina

De Pardieu Brocas Maffei

De Pardieu Brocas Maffei acts on behalf of companies, their senior executives, and investment funds in market abuse cases. The firm was recently retained by an accountant and an executive from a large company to defend them in separate AMF investigations into suspected insider trading allegations. Patrick Jaïs, who heads the practice, and Cédric Chanas are the main contributors.

Practice head(s):

Patrick Jaïs

Other key lawyers:

Cédric Chanas

Key clients

DEXIA

CA CIB

Work highlights

  • Advised an industrial player on an AMF investigation into information given to the market concerning shares.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP acts for French and international asset management funds as well as for financial internet platforms whom the firm assists with AMF controls and investigations. The team is notably involved in false information dissemination and activism-related cases. Compliance is also dealt with. Hubert de Vauplane and Hugues Bouchetemble are in charge of the practice.

Practice head(s):

Hubert de Vauplane; Hugues Bouchetemble

Le 16 Law

Le 16 Law represents individuals, senior executives and financial institutions subject to AMF investigations and enforcement proceedings pertaining to market abuse allegations. The firm is notably involved in matters relating to short-selling and insider trading issues. Samuel Sauphanor is recommended. He co-heads the practice alongside Jean-Luc Larribau.

Practice head(s):

Samuel Sauphanor; Jean-Luc Larribau

Testimonials

We chose to work with this firm for its competence, its pragmatism as well as for its know-how for litigation in the financial field.’

‘Anne-Claire Hans, Samuel Sauphanor and Jean-Luc Larribau carried out their work with great professionalism, great pragmatism and strong involvement.’

‘Samuel Sauphanor has great expertise and knows how to define a long-term litigation strategy. He also has a very good contact with clients.’

Linklaters

Linklaters was recently involved in several market abuse proceedings before the AMF. The firm notably acted for a major financial institution and defended a client accused of releasing false financial information. Practice head Arnaud de La Cotardière and Jean-Charles Jaïs are the key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Arnaud de La Cotardière

Other key lawyers:

Jean-Charles Jaïs

Paul Hastings LLP

Paul Hastings LLP regularly represents companies and financial institutions in AMF investigations. The practice is also experienced in cases relating to financial information communication issues.  Philippe Bouchez El Ghozi heads the practice.

Practice head(s):

Philippe Bouchez El Ghozi

Key clients

Faurecia

Work highlights

  • Advising Faurecia on an investigation by the AMF in relation to the company’s cash and securities operations.

Visconti & Grundler

Stock market and white-collar crime boutique Visconti & Grundler has a strong focus on advising international hedge funds in shareholder activism cases concerning leading listed companies. Hedge fund CIAM is a key client. Julien Visconti is recommended.

Practice head(s):

Julien Visconti

Key clients

CIAM

Financière de l’Echiquier

Wyser-Pratte Management

Work highlights

  • Advising activist hedge fund CIAM regarding the takeover bid of Suez by Véolia.
  • Advising an activist investor on an EEM activist campaign.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP assisted a leading listed company in an AMF investigation. The firm is also regularly retained by high-profile listed corporations to defend them in shareholder conflicts. Didier Malka leads the practice.

Practice head(s):

Didier Malka

Key clients

Lagardère SCA

Engie

Rallye – Casino Group

Work highlights

  • Representing Lagardère in multiple proceedings against Amber Capital and Vivendi.
  • Representing Rallye, the mother company of Casino Group, in a dispute against bondholders.
  • Represented the Italian independent directors of EssilorLuxottica against Essilor before the Commercial Court of Paris.