Clifford Chance remains one of France's finest addresses for fund formation matters. In addition to a very strong primary transaction caseload, the team of practice head Xavier Comaills is also a market-leader in secondary transactions, acting for both buyers and sellers. French, Luxembourgish and pan-European funds are the group's mainstay, with private equity funds, -including venture capital, real estate, infrastructure and debt funds- accounting for the majority of instructions. Impact funds are another particularly busy line of work. The team offers in-depth knowledge of a wide range of industries, with the healthcare and technology sectors providing a significant number of mandates; and is well versed in highly complex transactions, including matters requiring the navigation through changing legal frameworks - for example in the context of Brexit. Clients also benefit from the Paris office's overall strength, especially from the powerful regulatory, corporate and finance, real estate and tax practices; as well as from the firm's international presence with experienced fund formation teams in key hubs. Counsel Marie Préat specialises in private equity funds, funds of funds and debt funds.
Private equity: Fund formation in France
Other key lawyers:
- Advised Bpifrance Investment on the fundraising and first closing (€4bn) of LAC I, its new investment fund dedicated to listed French companies.
- Advised Idinvest Partners on the sale of a portfolio of investments in twelve growth companies to Idinvest Growth Secondary Fund, capitalised by the private equity secondary market.
- Advised Montefiore Investment on the fundraising for its fifth generation fund investing in small and medium-sized service companies in France.
Goodwin bolstered its presence in Europe in autumn 2019 with the opening of its Luxembourg office as its third key hub in Europe, alongside the strong Paris and London teams. The team of Paris practice-head Arnaud David thus became even better equipped to assist with its cross-border caseload, with an increase in mid-market and large-cap alternative investment funds, real estate, infrastructure and debt funds (both regulated and unregulated), to be expected. The practice consistently attracts the biggest matters in the market, not least because of its proven expertise in a wide range of funds, with private equity funds (including those dedicated to the venture and growth capital sector), along with mezzanine, infrastructure, debt and impact funds, all areas of activity. Secondary transactions and fund restructurings also account for a considerable volume of instructions. With the offices complementary tax, regulatory and finance teams, and -in addition to the European offices- the firm's fund practices in the US and Asia, the practice remains at the very top of the market. With Sarah Michel as the second key practitioner, the team is also one of the rare two-partner departments in Paris.
Other key lawyers:
‘Arnaud David is a seasoned, experienced, commercially driven lawyer. He knows the market perfectly, the market conditions and peers, and is of great value when we want to think outside of the box.’
‘Very complete team with specialists in all aspects of fund formation.’
‘Arnaud David knows the market very well, is super smart and precise.’
‘Oana Oprean is extremely hardworking and intelligent.’
‘Goodwin combines reactivity, creativity and high professionalism.’
‘Arnaud David: highly experienced, always aware about recent market practice changes; smart assistance for negotiation.’
‘Sarah Michel: creativity to adapt bylaws to accomodate our constraints and requirements; extrem reactivity highly appreciated by our investors.’
‘Very high professionalism. Very good knowledge of the sector. They can also rely on a quality international network. Their return was always on time.’
‘The team distinguishes itself from their colleagues by their great availability which makes us believe that we are a unique client, their seriousness, and their efficiency during negotiations with their competitors.’
‘One of the top 2 or 3 names for infrastructure fundraising.’
‘As one of the French market‘s most experimented lawyers in terms of fundraising, Arnaud David is very well known and appreciated by partners. His involvement is immediately seen as a quality certification.’
‘The team is very knowledgable and supportive, not only at the level of the partner in charge, but extending to all members of the team allocated to us. Response time has always been very good and in line with expectations / requirements. Very often in other firms the partner who ‘sells’ the project is strong, but the rest of the team that manages the day-to-day activities and support is not at the same level.’
‘We worked mainly with three individuals during our most recent fundraising and we were fully satisfied with their knowledge, problem solving capability and effective response time.’
‘For me, Sarah Michel is clearly best-in-category. She is extremely efficient and dedicated. I also appreciate the quality of her advice. She is really outstanding and I will keep her as our main advisor for my future fundraising.’
‘In-depth knowledge of the structuring of private equity investment vehicles.’
‘Very available, very constructive, lots of good ideas that allow new structures – very efficient and reactive.’
Antin Infrastructure Partners
Dechert LLP added former World Bank in-house legal counsel, investment specialist Cyril Fiat , to its ranks in November 2019; he joins tax and fund structuring specialist Sabina Comis as co-leader of the small team. The practice is particularly active in private equity and debt funds, including real estate, infrastructure and feeder funds, and assists institutional investors and sponsors, as well as fund principals. In addition to its strong primary transaction caseload, the team is also very well-versed in secondary transactions and frequently assists with regulatory matters - such as advising UK funds on the legal framework of fund structuring in France in the context of Brexit. The Paris-based capital markets, corporate, restructuring and employment teams complement the funds practice well. Moreover, as part of the firm's wider geographical network, and with offices in Dublin, London and Luxembourg as the firm's European fund-structuring pillars, the group is an excellent choice for multi-jurisdictional matters. In July 2020 the Paris team organised the Private Funds Academy as an opportunity for US-American, European and Asian lawyers to exchange opinion and perspectives regarding fund structuring trends and challenges.
Sabina Comis; Cyril Fiat
‘Excellent and in-depth knowledge of the multiple subtleties of legal fund documentation. Ability to think outside of the box to recommend the best option, while putting perspective in relation to what is standard. Ability to mobilise their network with the relevant bodies (political, public …) to answer a specific question.’
‘Availability, responsiveness and precision for requests ranging from simple information to the structuring of complex products. Commitment, proactivity and effective follow-up on long-term transactions. Sabina Comis in particular has demonstrated the above qualities.’
‘Very good knowledge of the subject, high availability.’
‘International experience and knowledge, team with a solidd background and practice in private equity. Very good ability to understand clients’ needs and to fulfill them.’
‘A special good point to Cyril Fiat, with whom we have been able to develop a strong relationship to support our development. He is really client-oriented, able to think outside of the box, with a very good relationship and a very good knowledge in his practice.’
‘Cyril Fiat is one of the excellent fund structuring professionals. Trained by the biggest names in the field, and endowed with significant experience in the USA for a fund, he has developed extremely valuable expertise in private equity.’
‘Very attentive to his customers, very good technician and endowed with a high sense of negotiation, Cyril Fiat has all the qualities to become a key player in this sector of expertise.’
‘Very good technical knowledge, providing reliable and trustworthy support while being extremely responsive.’
‘Cyril Fiat accompanies us in an extremely reliable and responsive manner.’
‘This team has a good knowledge of the market and its practices. Above all, a very good command of tax aspects.’
‘Cyril Fiat is a pleasant person with whom it is pleasant to work.’
‘Dechert and the fund structuring team have excellent knowledge of the market, the players and their expertise in taxation is a valuable asset for our investors. By supporting the funds both in the structuring of vehicles, they have a complete view of the ecosystem vs. an approach divided between partners in other firms’
‘In addition to real technical competence that is in my opinion unmatched in the market, the teams demonstrate responsiveness, availability and provide a global and consistent quality of service’
‘Responsiveness and pragmatism.’
‘The practice uniquely combines both aspects of private fund work: fund formation and capital raising and representation of institutional investors in the process of negotiating investment documents.’
‘Cyril Fiat has been a truly invaluable resource in combining technical expertise in private equity fund formation with his in-depth knowledge, gained during his in-house experience, of institutional investor needs and limitations as well as practical knowledge of navigating internal infrastructure and unique sensitivities in the investor institution. ’
‘Dechert is a firm which has recognized expertise in the structuring of private equity funds, French or foreign, thanks to the experience of these two partners, Sabina Comis and Cyril Fiat. The firm is home to one of the most experienced teams in the market, capable of intervening in the constitution of a wide range of investment funds. The team assists investment fund managers and investors. It can rely on a strong tax expertise at the level of the Paris office and on the complementary expertise of the international platform of the firm.’
‘Cyril Fiat’s career is particularly unique insofar as his experience in prestigious firms specialising in the structuring of investment funds, combined with that spent at the World Bank, gives him in-depth and very broad knowledge of the expectations of the company.’
‘The team is very professional, available, and gives good advice tailor-made to your problems.’
‘Cyril Fiat has been a very good partner, listening to our specific needs and adjusting his recommendations to them. He is available and easy to work with.’
Artemis – Financière Pinault
Rothschild & Co Asset Management Europe / Rothschild Martin Maurel
Cheyne Capital Management
Blisce / Alexandre Mars / EPIC Foundation
Edmond de Rothschild Private Equity
Safran Corporate Ventures
- Advised Rothschild & Co Asset Management Europe and Rothschild Martin Maurel on the legal, regulatory and tax aspects of the formation of various private equity, debt, real estate and infrastructure feeder funds, set up as a société de libre partenariat of pan-European master funds.
- Advising Cheyne Capital Management as the manager of a French debt fund dedicated to loan origination in France via several sub-funds; the first French direct-lending funds managed on a cross border basis, pursuant to the AIFMD management passport.
- Advised UNIBEL on its investment in LAC I, a French fund established as a société de libre partenariat; managed by Bpifrance Investissement and investing mainly in French listed-companies to support them, particularly, with the digital and ecological transitions.
DLA Piper combines an experienced fund-formation team with strong Paris-based tax capabilities. Lead duo Benjamin Aller and Julien Vandenbussche and their team handle a predominantly international caseload that includes matters involving Luxembourg-reserved alternative investment funds. Private equity funds account for the bulk of mandates, with seed and venture capital funds as additional core components of the practice. The team primarily advises on the structuring of funds in the mid-market and large-cap segments, and has a strong record of assisting both general partners and limited partners, with French, African and Middle-Eastern private equity houses constituting a key focus group. Secondary transactions, regulatory advice and compensation schemes are additional elements in the practice group's portfolio of expertise; it is also active in fund restructurings.
Benjamin Aller; Julien Vandenbussche
Other key lawyers:
African Development Bank
Lyxor Asset Management
- Advised French private equity firm, Sparring Capital, on the creation of a European private equity fund, composed of a main fund and parallel structure (target size €200m).
- Advised Bpifrance Investissement on its formation of the FPCI French Tech Seed fund (target size €400m).
- Advised Bpifrance Investissement regarding the formation of the FPCI Fonds de Fonds Growth (target size €1bn).
At Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I., managing partner Stéphane Puel became the sole head of the practice following the retirement of Ann Baker in 2020. The group impresses with the breadth of its expertise, ranging from impact, investment debt and real estate funds, to private equity and funds of funds. With a strong domestic and cross-border caseload and experience in the mid-cap and large-cap market segments, the group consistently demonstrates its versatility. Guillaume Goffin made partner in January 2019. Counsel Rima Maitrehenry joined Racine in February 2021.
Other key lawyers:
‘Beyond the legal aspects, I found that the strength of the firm lay in its business knowledge of private placement investment and in the quality of the follow-up.’
‘Excellent technical mastery, great strength. Very strong involvement of the partner.’
‘The team that has great knowledge in its field with a lot of experience. Works with a lot of funds from the Parisian market and in particular institutional funds which allows to have practices in line with the market.’
‘Always available, fully aware of new regulations and market practices. They also know how to ask a business question and not just a legal one.’
‘The team shows great availability and responsiveness in handling cases.’
‘Fund experts, fast, efficient, very pleasant, transparent team.’
‘Very good knowledge of the regulatory environment. Ability to mobilize foreign offices of the Gide network for specific questions of foreign law (in particular taxation of foreign investors) and good drafting technique. Fully satisfied with quality and responsive employees.’
‘The Gide team has in-depth knowledge of the regulatory processes for the creation of management companies and investment funds and excellent relations with the AMF teams in charge of analyzing files. The firm has particular know-how in the segment of management companies and real estate investment funds. Regulatory practice is complemented by corporate and tax services providing access to a high quality global service within a single firm.’
‘Stephane Puel has extensive experience and a global vision of projects allowing a clear understanding of the complexity of the issues.’
Eiffel Investment Group
SwissLife Asset Managers
Unigestion Asset Management
Tikehau Investment Managers
Oddo BHF Asset Management
La Banque Postale Asset Management
BNP Paribas REIM
360 Capital Partners
Gaia Capital Partners
Sigefi Private Equity
Five Arrows Managers
Future Positive Capital
IDIA Capital Investissement
- Advised Tikehau Investment Management on the launch of T2 ELTIF Energy Transition Fund, the first private equity fund to be marketed as a European Long-Term Investment Fund (ELTIF) granted by the French Financial Markets Authority (AMF).
- Structured and documented three funds -established at the client’s initiative- to fight gloabl warming (total initial amount: €500m); two funds invested €200m each in European equity; and one in European investment grade bonds for an amount of €100m.
- Advised Candriam France on the structuring of its first impact fund of funds vehicle, Candriam Impact One, dedicated to investments in private equity European impact funds.
Jones Day is particularly active on behalf of sponsors, but also offers longstanding experience in assisting limited partners. The group mainly advises on the formation and structuring of retail, venture capital and LBO funds, as well as debt and real estate funds, and can leverage the strength of its colleagues from the complementary private equity and venture capital, regulatory, real estate, capital markets and restructuring teams. Another key asset is the firm's strong Paris-based tax capability. The practice excels in both primary and secondary transactions, and handles a caseload that contains both domestic and cross-border matters -not infrequently headline transactions- with the bulk of matters firmly in the mid-market segment. Florence Moulin is head of the practice.
Other key lawyers:
Emmanuel de La Rochethulon
‘Florence Moulin is the reference on the fund legal business in Paris. Florence and her team are very accurate people, reliable under any circumstances and keen to come up with practical solutions in order to help the client.’
‘Ability to understand complex issues. Problem-solving mindset. Reliability. Knowledge of the client’s business. Ability to act as an intermediary between the client and market regulation authorities.’
‘Skill, reliability, approachability, commitment.’
Ixo Private Equity
Singular Capital Partners
- Advised Bpifrance Investissement on the formation of its first retail fund, structured as an FCPR.
- Advised Bluester Capital on the fundraising for Bluester Fund IV, which aims to raise total commitments of €80m.
- Advised ISAI Gestion on the launch of its new early-stage VC vehicle, ISAI Venture III, to support and fund French Tech entrepreneurs; deal value on first closing: €90m.
Simmons & Simmons
At Simmons & Simmons, Agnès Rossi and her team act exclusively for fund managers and management companies, making them particularly powerful in negotiations with investors. The group's broad practice offering, including infrastructure, real estate and investment funds, as well as private equity funds (venture, growth and mezzanine), along with a number of market first's under Rossi's belt, make the practice a go-to address for complex matters. The team is particularly popular with first-time managers and spin-outs, thanks to its fine track record advising on such transactions. Moreover, the firm's international footprint - with other key fund formation teams based in the UK, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, as well as in Hong-Kong- allows the Paris team to provide seamless cross-border advice. The French asset management, litigation and tax teams also contribute to the strength and reputation of the practice.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team has developed well in recent years under the direction of Agnès Rossi. The responsiveness of the team is very good.’
‘Agnès Rossi not only has a great knowledge of the industry and its key players, but she also knows how to be pragmatic and find solutions to bring projects to fruition.’
InfraVia Capital Partners
Compagnie Benjamin de Rothschild
Edmond de Rothschild
Trocadéro Capital Partners
Weinberg Capital Partners
Motion Equity Partners
Tilt Capital Partners
- Advised RGreen Inest on the constitution of the second generation of Nouvelles Energies fund; the FIPS Nouvelles Energies II fund is dedicated to the financing of infrastructure projects related to the energy and ecological transition through senior short-term debt.
- Advised Weinberg Capital Partners on the closing of its first value-added real estate fund, WREP#3, for which the company has raised €1 10m with French and foreign investors.
- Advised Edmond de Rothschild Private Equity on its partnership with Kennet Partners to raise its fifth fund, Kennet V, which attracted new investors in Europe and Asia and has exceeded its target, closing at €222m.
The Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP team led by practice head Nathalie Duguay demonstrates strength across a wide range of funds - with distressed, debt LBO, mezzanine and venture funds as well as funds of funds and infrastructure funds among the most frequently advised on transactions. Impact funds are also increasingly visible in the group's caseload. The Paris team is an integral part of the firm's international fund-formation practice, with the New York, Washington and London offices as other major locations. Funds established by the team are routinely large-cap, with mid-market transactions also undertaken. Additionally, the practice offers fund-financing expertise thanks to the capabilities of the corporate finance team led by Paul Lombard.
Other key lawyers:
21 Invest France (f/k/a 21 Centrale Partners)
Alpha Private Equity
BlackFin Capital Partners
Five Arrows Managers
Kasada Capital Management
- Representation of BlackFin Capital Partners on the €985m fundraising for BlackFin Financial Services Fund III, which is dedicated to the financial sector.
- Advised Apax Partners on the fundraising for its tenth fund, Apax France X.
- Representation of Rothschild & Co on the €1bn fundraising for Five Arrows Secondary Opportunities V (FASO V).
Allen & Overy LLP
Antoine Sarailler; Brice Henry
‘Very high-quality team on the technical level/understanding of business issues, combined with great responsiveness, and all in a (very) good state of mind. Our No. 1 firm on our issues far and wide.’
‘Great professionalism and real advice and support beyond legal production’
‘Antoine Sarailler and Benjamin Lacourt are very professional, have a very good knowledge of the investment funds regulations and of the practice of the French regulator which allow them to understand our business needs and provide business-oriented solutions’
‘Antoine Sarailler and Benjamin Lacourt know the French funds market, legislation and regulatory practices inside out, they are highly technical and rigorous lawyers with the right commercial mindset to get matters done on time while remaining kind even when pressured or during heated negotiations. They are quick on their feet and manage to always get their points through elegantly. They quickly understood how we function and what we need and are pleasant to work with. ’
‘Antoine Sarailler and Benjamin Lacourt often raise technical points that other firms do not get right and which are however important. They also manage to keep their calm in any situation which is becoming rare among legal advisers and helps a lot when facing certain types of personalities. Their kindness is also a quality which clearly sets them apart from the more mainstream firms we work with, it gives another dimension to the external counsel role. ’
‘Very good knowledge of funds, fund structuring and investments, always putting things into context. Great rigour and involvement in projects carried out together.’
‘Transparency, availability, business orientation and efficiency are the key words of this legal support, the constructive exchanges of which have supported us. Antoine Sarailler and his team are therefore an essential team in the formation and management of funds.’
‘Antoine Sarailler and his team have always been able to respond to our requests by explaining the applicable rules to us. He was able to adapt our projects according to the rules in force and thus find the right solutions for our projects.’
‘I especially appreciated the reactivity, the advice and the ability to communicate to third parties of our projects.’
123 Investment Managers
Amundi Private Equity Funds
Aqua Asset Management
Audacia / Quantonation Venture
AXA Investment Managers
Banque Européenne d’Investissement
BNP Paribas Asset Management
BNP Paribas REIM
BOLD (L’Oréal Group)
Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations
Cheyne Capital Management
CIC Private Debt
Fonds de solidarité FTQ (Canadian pension fund)
Fonds européen d’investissement
Groupe FFP (Peugeot Family Office)
IDIA Capital Investissement (Crédit Agricole Group)
Ivanhoé Cambridge Europe
JP Morgan Asset Management Real Estate
Karista (formerly: Cap Décisif Management)
Lumyna (Generali Group)
Montana Capital Partners
Natixis Investment Managers
Peninsular Capital Management
Scor Investment Partners
Swen Capital Partners
Tikehau Investment Managers
UBS Asset Management
- Advised Tikehau Investment Management on the establishment of Tikehau Special Opportunities II, a debt fund structured as a Luxembourg Master/Feeder, investing globally.
- Assisted Swen Capital Partners with the structuring of Swen Infra Multi Select 4, a French société de libre partenariat dedicated to both direct and indirect investments in infrastructure assets.
- Advised AXA Investment Managers Paris on the structuring and launching of a loan-fund investing in revolving credit facilities on a pan-European basis (the AXA IM InMotion RCF Fund), and dealing in particular with banking monopoly issues relating the jurisdictions of 15 targeted assets.
Chammas & Marcheteau
Lola Chammas; Christophe Sevennec
‘Lawyers who are good technicians, but also pragmatic with good management of multidisciplinary teams. Excellent responsiveness.’
‘Lola Chammas: very clear and pragmatic in both acquisition documentation and shareholder pacts.’
‘Very good knowledge of the market context and current practices – great reactivity and ability to offer drafting that meets the demands of the main investors.’
Edmond de Rothschild Private Equity France
Hôtel Investissement Capital
Iris Capital Management
Amundi Transition Energétique
African Development Bank
- Advised Supernova Invest on the formation of its €5m CAIT fund.
- Advised Bpifrance and CNP Assurances on their investment in the €200m Quadrille Technologies IV fund, focused on investments in the technology sector.
- Advised NCI on the formation of its €45m FPCI WaterStart Capital fund, which will allow NCI to present a venture offering to entrepreneurs, supporting early-stage start-ups with an investment of up to €3m per entity.
Joffe & Associés
Entrustpermal debt fund
Elaia Partners / IT2 Investissment fund
Impact Partenaires / Impact Croissance IV
Sofimac Innovation / Pertinence Invest II
Elaia Partners / PSL Innovation fund
Elaia Partners / Elaia Alpha II fund
Massena Partners / Indigo Feeder fund
Massena Partners / Expansion Feeder fund
Ace Management / FDB II fund
Ace Management / Elara fund
Swen Capital Partners / Territories Innovants 3
Swen Capital Partners / Iridium II
‘An efficient, available and pragmatic team.’
‘Tiana Rambatomanga is always reachable and her expertise in the world of investment funds makes her an invaluable adviser for an investor.’
European Investment Bank
Access Capital Partners
Selwood Asset Management
Five Arrows Managers (Arolla)
- Advised CNP Assurances on its investments in private equity funds, as well as regarding its first secondary-transaction involving the sale of a significant portfolio of interests.
- Advised infrastructure, energy and sustainable investment investor Mirova on the fundraising for its 4th generation renewable energies investment fund Eurofideme 4.
- Acted as counsel to the European Investment Bank (EIB) -as sponsor / investor- concerning its investments in various investment funds including the Occitanie Region fund, Cap Energies and Eiffel Essentiel.
Jérôme Sutour; Christophe Blondeau; Alexandre Delhaye; Arnaud Hugot
123 Investment Managers
- Advised Hines on its establishment of a French asset management company (approved under the AIFM Directive) while simultaneously organising the transfer of the management of two funds (AIFs), on the two-fold condition of i. obtaining the AIFM license, and ii. gaining AMF approval for the management transferral.
- Advised 123 Investment Managers on the structuring of a joint venture capital fund aimed at investing in companies from the real estate and property trading sectors – with the investment strategy of the fund highly dictated by the consideration of environmental, social, societal and good governance (ESG) issues.
Lacourte Raquin Tatar
‘Reliable, available and dedicated team.‘
Aviva Investors France
Turenne Capital Partenaires
LaSalle Investment Management
Crédit Mutuel Arkéa – Federal Finance Gestion
Tikehau Investment Management
- Advised Turenne Capital Partenaires on the setting-up of an evergreen special limited partnership (société de libre partenariat – ‘SLP’), that aims to invest in private equity companies.
- Advised Lucky Oldstone on the establishment of an SLP and its sub-funds (two new sub-funds in 2020).