Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP > Paris, France > Firm Profile

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
21-23 RUE DE LA VILLE L'EVÊQUE
75008 PARIS
France

France > Administrative and public law Tier 1

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP ‘s practice, headed by the highly regarded Thierry Laloum, is called upon by leading companies to assist with their most challenging issues. The firm has built a strong reputation handling highly strategic public concession performance issues. It has recently been retained to advise on possible ways to obtain compensation damages from the French state in the aftermath of the Yellow Vest and the Covid-19 crisis which both had a major impact on their operations, especially in the motorway sector. The firm is also a reference for assisting lenders and sponsors with the awarding of France’s most high-profile procurement and PPP projects. It is currently advising key clients involved in major projects, notably in the transport sector. Finally, the practice provides regulatory guidance and is managing a high volume of strategic disputes. European counsel Charles-Antoine Erignac, senior associate Anne-Laure Barel and associate  Virgile Chanel complete the team.

Practice head(s):

Thierry Laloum

Testimonials

‘Thierry Laloum always knows how to innovate and create operational solutions by using with talent his great knowledge of the matter at hands.’

‘Availability, creativity, responsiveness.’

‘Thierry Laloum and Anne-Laure Barel show high quality, professionalism, great responsiveness, strong understanding of issues, and good listening skills.’

Key clients

Bouygues Telecom

CNP

Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations

Bouygues Travaux Publics

Air France/KLM Group

Ardian

SEPD/SPD

Vinci Concessions

Meridiam

Ceetrus

Bouygues Construction

Vinci Autoroutes

Eiffage

EDF Invest

Vinci Airports

PG Finances

Searchlight Capital Partners

Altitude Infrastructure

Work highlights

  • Advising VINCI Autoroutes on its legal strategy to obtain compensation from the French State for the financial damages caused by the restrictive measures implemented to fight the spread of COVID-19.
  • Advising the consortium on the acquisition of a 50% equity interest in Orange Concessions.
  • Advising Ardian 0n its acquisition of a controlling majority stake in the Société du Pipeline Méditerranée–Rhône (SPMR), which manages the oil pipeline from the area of Marseille to the regions of Lyon and Switzerland.

France > Private equity: Fund formation Tier 1

The fund formation team at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP advises clients on a wide ambit of private funds mandates, with a particular focus on buyout, credit, energy, infrastructure, real estate, software and reinsurance funds. It assists French and European buyout funds with the creation of private equity investment funds and the establishment of regulated portfolio management companies. The team is led by Nathalie Duguay, who has more than two decades of experience in the asset management arena. Tiana Rambatomanga was a new arrival in October 2021.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Excellent understanding of the needs of investors and the fund management team. Very good knowledge of market practices and the limits set by AMF regulations or doctrine. Great ability to innovate on subjects that are not always “marked “.’

‘Nathalie Duguay (Partner) and her team know how to make themselves available and always react extremely quickly.’

‘Willkie is the benchmark practice in Paris for the private equity training fund with perfect integration with Willkie ‘s M&A and transaction team.’

‘I have been working with Nathalie Duguay, the partner in charge of the funds team, for 20 years. What sets her apart and characterizes her: extensive knowledge of French and international private equity (LBO, Infra, Private Debt, etc.), expertise in asset management regulation (AIFM, MiFid …) & good introductions to the regulator,  fiercely and tactfully defends the interests of her client in negotiations with investors.’

Key clients

21 Invest France

Abénex Capital

Adagia Partners

Aglae Management

Alpha Private Equity

Apax Partners

Astorg Partners

BlackFin Capital Partners

BNPP Agility Capital

Ekkio Capital

Five Arrows Managers

PAI Partners

Sagard

Wendel

Work highlights

  • Advised PAI Partners on the closing of its inaugural €920 million PAI Mid-Market Fund.
  • Advised Apax Mid-Market on the structuring and fundraising of its tenth vehicle, Apax France X.
  • Advised BlackFin Capital Partners on the structuring and raising of its €985 million third buyout fund, BlackFin Financial Services Fund III, a fund dedicated to the financial sector.

France > Banking and finance: transactional work Tier 2

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP's team is adept at handling acquisition and leveraged finance transactions, as well as matters involving syndicated lending, equity bridge financing, debt restructuring and private placements. It is particularly active in the upper-mid-cap space and typically advises lenders, sponsors and borrowers on LBO financing and cross-border mandates. The practice is jointly led by Paul Lombard and Thomas Binet.

Practice head(s):

Paul Lombard; Thomas Binet

Testimonials

‘The team has a very good reputation.’

‘We work with Thomas Binet. Very good technically, commercially and always available to its clients.’

‘Very nice team, very responsive and efficient.’

Key clients

PAI Partners

Eurazéo

IK Investment

Ardian

CVC

Astorg

Latour Capital

Pemberton

Barings

HIG

Tikehau

Five Arrows

Motion Equity Partners

GSquare

Bluegem

CACIB

BNP Paribas

Work highlights

  • Advised the unitranche providers, as well as the super senior RCF lender, on the unitranche financing provided to Eurazéo for the acquisition of Aroma-Zone, a company specialised in the marketing of natural ingredients (essential oils, vegetable oils, etc.).
  • Advised Elior on the implementation of a new €450m senior term and revolving financing alongside €550m 3.750% senior notes due in 2026.
  • Advised Labeyrie Fine Foods and its shareholders including PAI Partners and Lur Berri in relation to a €520m refinancing. The transaction was structured as a cov-lite TLB with an RCF.

France > Dispute resolution: Commercial litigation Tier 2

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is recommended for high-profile corporate, M&A and shareholder disputes. The practice acts for a number of leading French companies as well as for international clients. High-stakes liability cases and disputes involving African jurisdictions are other areas of strength. The team is also involved in a rare private enforcement case that followed a condemnation by the French Financial Market Authority (AMF). Dominique Mondoloni and Grégoire Bertrou co-head the team which includes special European counsel Sophie-Jeanne Laroche.

Practice head(s):

Grégoire Bertrou; Dominique Mondoloni

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Sophie-Jeanne Laroche has an attention and a reflection of rare efficiency. Immediate adaptation to hazards and immediate intervention. The team is available and efficient.’

‘Good listening skills, analysis and efficiency.’

‘Dominique Mondoloni showed great rigor, good listening skills and was very diligent in handling the file submitted. He stood out through his experience and responsiveness.’

‘Dominique Mondoloni fully understood and addressed all the issues and aspects of the case, however very sensitive, which was entrusted to him. His advice and expertise were greatly appreciated.’

‘Sophie-Jeanne Laroche is an extremely competent lawyer with whom it is very pleasant to work.’

Team very involved up to the partner. Very good listening skills and very good pedagogy of what will work in court. Careful analysis of opposing conclusions and preparation of conclusions for our part. Perfect transparency on our strengths and weaknesses.’

‘Working with Sophie-Jeanne Laroche is a joy: she knows how take the drama out of a dispute, clearly explain the issues, and, as she pleads herself in court, she has excellent knowledge of the judges at the Commercial Court; as a result, she knows how to write strong and well-founded conclusions on the one hand, and prepare the salient points of a pleading that will mark on the other hand. She is exceptionally available and works sufficiently in advance for all questions to be addressed calmly. Finally, she is very balanced on a personal level, which is quite unusual in this environment of great lawyers and it is very appreciable.’

Key clients

Suez

Transdev

Besix/Icade

Air France/Air France-KLM

Arkema

Carl Bayard

Agence Française de Développement

Sportfive

SCI du 12 rue Oudinot

France > EU, competition and distribution Tier 2

Drawing on the firm’s international presence, the EU antitrust and competition law team at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP acts for major multinational corporates operating in the telecoms, luxury goods, automotive, transport, retail and defence sectors. The group assists with a diverse range of matters, from state aid issues, cartels and abuse of dominance, to vertical and horizontal cooperation agreements, distribution law issues and merger control cases. Faustine Viala leads the team, bringing over fifteen years of experience in European and French competition law, and is backed in Paris and Brussels by associate and merger control specialist David Kupka.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Faustine Viala is excellent in her field and has a strong team. Top responsiveness.’

‘Nice practice between Paris and Brussels. Availability and technicality.’

‘The team works very closely with its clients, being very attentive to their objectives while driving them securely through proceedings in a very professional manner.’

‘Faustine Viala is very dynamic, technically skilled, with a genuine care for her clients. She helps her clients navigate competition issues in a very effective manner, leaving them different options while being in command of what each option would imply and firmly committed to defend their interests. She has very good interpersonal skills and fares well before competition agencies as she is very professional. She is a pleasure to work with.’

‘The Willkie Farr & Gallagher antitrust team has a great capacity for work and advice, and is extremely responsive on all matters surrounding it.’

‘Faustine Viala has a great understanding of the market and has the technical qualities to achieve the common goal set between her and her client. Highly responsive, Faustine Viala facilitates the transactions on which she works.’

Key clients

KKR

Intermediate Capital Group (ICG)

Ethypharm

Air France

TOTAL

Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC)

Ardian

Bel Group

Bpifrance

CMA CGM

Elior Group

Arkema

Casino

PAI Partners

Kuehne + Nagel

Lagardère Group

Latour Capital

Materne

Insight Partners

IK Investment Partners

Naval Group

Dalkia

Webhelp

Oaktree Capital

CVC Capital Partners

Crédit Mutuel Arkéa

Cérélia

Work highlights

  • Advised Ardian on the in-depth investigation of the French Competition Authority (FCA) regarding the acquisition of sole control by Ardian over Société du Pipeline Rhône-Méditerranée (SPMR).
  • Advised Air France on securing multi-billion state aid packages from the French government, in successive steps, in the context of the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Advised CDC on the acquisition of a controlling stake (alongside EDF) in Orange Concessions, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Orange that operates Public Initiative fiber Networks (PINs).

France > Private equity: LBO Tier 2

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is retained by leading private equity sponsors to advise on all types of transactions, including acquisitions, joint ventures, debt restructurings and disposals. The department leverages the firm’s wider global network in Europe and the US to assist clients with cross-border mandates. The team is jointly led by Grégory de Saxcé, Eduardo Fernandez, Grégoire Finance, Gabriel Flandin, Christophe Garaud and Cédric Hajage.

Practice head(s):

Grégory de Saxcé; Eduardo Fernandez; Grégoire Finance; Gabriel Flandin; Christophe Garaud; Cédric Hajage

Testimonials

‘Very good knowledge of the private equity sector, which allows teams to be efficient and to move matters forward in the right direction.’

‘The firm’s team is made up of experienced lawyers, who do a lot of transactions (and who are therefore perfectly familiar with market practices).’

‘Lawyers who are business-oriented. We work a lot with Christophe Garaud in particular, who distinguishes himself by combining legal technical skills and business vision. He always helps us find solutions and knows how to identify risks. In addition, the team is always available to support us throughout processes.’

Key clients

PAI Partners

IK Investment Partners

Ardian

Intermediate Capital Group

CVC Capital Partners

EQT

The Carlyle Group

Searchlight Capital Partners

Equistone Partners Europe

Latour Capital

Adagia Partners

Qualium Investissement

RAISE Investissement

Sagard

Aquiline Capital Partners

Weinberg Capital Partners

Montefiore Investment

Five Arrows

Warburg Invest

Cobalt Capital

BIM

Peugeot Invest (FFP)

Vaultier7

Ekkio Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised Intermediate Capital Group on its investment in Biogroup, a French operator of medical diagnostic laboratories.
  • Assisted CVC Capital Partners Fund VII with the entering of exclusive negotiations with Charterhouse Capital Partners for the acquisition of a majority stake in Cooper.
  • Advised PAI Partners on its acquisition of Euro Ethnic Foods, the grocery business of Grand Frais.

France > Project finance Tier 2

At Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, practice head Amir Jahanguiri’s wealth of experience helps secure a steady stream of high-profile projects in France and abroad. The team has recently been retained to advise on the construction of the third Bosphorus bridge in Turkey and is also involved in various energy and projects in Africa and the Middle-East. Combined with Thierry Laloum’s thriving public law expertise, the project finance group also has high-level capabilities to advise on large French matters. Recently, the firm has notably completed several large brownfield transactions in the broadband network sector. Counsel Antoine Bouzanquet is the other key name in the practice following the departure of Michael Armandou  in October 2021.

Practice head(s):

Amir Jahanguiri

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Meridiam

CMA CGM

Ardian

Bouygues Construction

Bouygues Telecom

Vinci Airports

Vinci Concessions

Rönesans

Atlantia (Autostrade per l’Italia)

Sojitz Corporation

Agence Spéciale Tanger Méditerranée

Government of Djibouti

Great Horn Investment Holdings (Djibouti)

South Bridge

ArcelorMittal

Veolia

European Investment Bank

Eiffage

Total Direct Energie

STOA

Société Générale

Allianz

Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations

Hydrogène de France

Nareva

Work highlights

  • Advised Bouygues Telecom on the structuring of a joint venture aimed at purchasing and accessing rights to fibre for home (FTTH) lines from Orange in certain areas in France.
  • Advised Banque des Territoires, CNP Assurances and EDF Invest on the acquisition of a 50% equity interest in Orange Concessions.
  • Advised Meridiam in connection with the successful bid for the concession of the Sofia Airport.

France > Shipping finance Tier 2

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP finance practice stands out through its primary focus on  work for liners and shipyards. Among others, the team handles the construction financing of new vessels, matters involving letters of intent, shipbuilding contracts, and refund guarantees. Recent matters also included financings for equipment bought to comply with environmental regulations. Brice Pommiès is the head of the shipping finance practice.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘Exceptional competence and availability of Brice Pommiès, whose communication and negotiating skills are also remarkable.’

Key clients

CMA CGM

Chantiers de l’Atlantique

Work highlights

  • Advised Chantiers de l’Atlantique in connection with the documentation entered into with a new cruise line (backed by a private equity sponsor) for two firm and two option cruise vessels.
  • Assisted CMA CGM with innovative financing relating to the acquisition and installation of scrubber equipment on vessels owned or chartered by CMA CGM.

France > Insolvency Tier 3

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP regularly advises prominent sponsors, hedge funds and investors on insolvency and restructuring matters. The firm is regularly appointed by the main stakeholders to handle large restructuring cases, for example the Vallourec case, a recent stand-out matter. The team has handled prominent work in the aviation sector and assisted a large industrial company on a major takeover asset bid. Practice head Lionel Spizzichino is well recognised and ably supported by counsel Audrey Nelson and associate Batiste Saint-Guily.

Practice head(s):

Lionel Spizzichino

Testimonials

‘The team is particularly flexible, creative and available to deal with difficulties. They easily collaborate with other departments (eg M&A or financing) and other firms if necessary. Team creativity is distinctive.’

‘The practice is very well integrated within the firm and allows clients like us to access a complete offer covering restructuring, banking, capital market, in France as well as in the United Kingdom and the USA.’

‘Lionel Spizzichino is extremely well connected, responsive, available, commercial and ‘user-friendly’!’

‘Lionel Spizzichino and Batiste Saint-Guily show: absolute excellence and experience on technical aspects; total confidence which is necessary to execute our complex transactions; ability to produce large volumes of documentation in record time; unique creativity for the complex situations we are working on; talent and ability to advise beyond pure legality and the ability to express strong points of view on business and commercial aspects that are very important to us.’

‘Lionel Spizzichino does not hesitate to share his extraordinary network and put his encyclopedic knowledge of market players at the service of success of its clients, and that whatever the size of the deal, delivering much more than a legal service of a quality unmatched by other business firms with which we work, but a total advisory service that would make more than one investment bank blush.’

Key clients

Air France/Air France-KLM

Searchlight Capital Partners

OpenGate Capital

Recommerce

21 Invest

Alès Groupe

HLD

J.P. Morgan

ArcelorMittal

The Carlyle Group

The coordinating committee of senior secured noteholders of Lecta

Apollo

Cheyne Capital

Credit Suisse Asset Management

CVC Credit Partners

Work highlights

  • Advised Air France KLM and Air France on its €4bn French State sponsored help to recapitalise Air France and its holding company.
  • Advised Searchlight Capital Partners on the recapitalisation of Latécoère.
  • Advised Bpifrance as shareholder in connection with the financial restructuring of Vallourec.

France > Mergers and acquisitions Tier 3

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP covers a broad range of corporate and M&A transactions, including disposals, contested takeovers, acquisitions, strategic alliances, management buy-outs and reorganisations. The team is particularly active in cross-border matters, bolstered by its integration with the firm’s other European and US offices. Co-managing partner of the Paris office Eduardo Fernandez  is well versed in the business services, consumer products, food and healthcare sectors.

Other key lawyers:

Eduardo Fernandez; Grégoire Finance; Gabriel Flandin; Cédric Hajage; Daniel Hurstel; Annette Péron; Brice Pommiès

Testimonials

‘Great capacity for work and execution, power with the mobilisation of teams when necessary, responsiveness, and precision in the opinions delivered.’

‘Gabriel Flandin is a partner particularly oriented towards business and the conclusion of transactions, preferring simple and effective solutions rather than theorizing. Pure and perfect legal solutions. Very appreciable in a transactional logic.’

Key clients

CMA CGM

TechnipFMC

Thales Group

Orange S.A.

Arkema S.A.

Air France

Elior Group S.A.

Lagardère

Bonduelle

Bpifrance

BEL Group

BUT

Arch Capital Group Limited

Cérélia

France > Dispute resolution: White-collar crime Tier 4

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Practice head(s):

Grégoire Bertrou; Dominique Mondoloni

Key clients

SCAEL (Société Coopérative d’Eure et Loir)

Air France

Air France KLM

France > Tax Tier 4

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP's special European counsel Philippe Grudé assists the firm’s corporate team with the structuring of its transactions. He regularly advises leading investment funds, as well as some companies, on large- to jumbo-cap LBO transactions. Recently, Grudé assisted a leading company with the divestment of one its businesses.

Practice head(s):

Philippe Grudé

Key clients

PAI Partners

IK Investment Partners

Insight Partners

Intermediate Capital Group

Qualium Investissement

Caisse des Dépôts

CNP Assurances

EDF Invest

Arkema

Arch Capital Partners

France > Dispute resolution: International arbitration Tier 5

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Practice head(s):

Grégoire Bertrou; Dominique Mondoloni

Testimonials

‘Our general experience of working with the team has been overwhelmingly positive. The team is extremely flexible and responsive, and has been able to provide advice on all the issues that have arisen in the context of the arbitration matters they have been engaged on, sometimes on a very short notice. Their conduct of the arbitration proceedings has been very efficient, and we have been impressed with the way lawyers have invested themselves in defending our position at every stage of the proceedings in all of the cases they have been involved in. Moreover, from the start of our cooperation, the team has been able to quickly establish an open and cordial relationship with their interlocutors, and has demonstrated remarkable transparency in the way it conducts its work. Such qualities are very valuable and important to us.’

‘Grégoire Bertrou excels at strategic thinking. He has an exceptional ability of always keeping track of the ‘big picture’ of the case and putting various arguments together like pieces of a puzzle, which naturally fit together in a sound defense strategy. He has constantly proven to be able to distill even the most complex factual and legal issues into straightforward, easy-to-follow advice.’

‘Astute commercial team.’

‘Dominique Mondolini is incisive, quick and smart – exactly what one is looking for in a French disputes lawyer.’

Key clients

Port de Djibouti S.A.

Kyrgyz Republic

Merck Santé SAS

Devas Corporation (India)

DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
Partner, Corporate & Financial Services Eduardo J. Fernandezefernandez@willkie.com+33 1 53 43 45 30
Partner, Corporate & Financial Services Christophe Garaudcgaraud@willkie.com+33 1 53 43 45 13
PhotoNamePositionProfile
Mr Michael Armandou  photo Mr Michael Armandou Please see http://www.willkie.com/professionals/a/armandou-michael
Grégoire Bertrou photo Grégoire BertrouPlease see: http://www.willkie.com/professionals/b/bertrou-gregoire
Mr Thomas Binet  photo Mr Thomas Binet Please see https://www.willkie.com/professionals/b/binet-thomas
Nathalie Duguay  photo Nathalie Duguay Please see: http://www.willkie.com/professionals/d/duguay-nathalie
Charles-Antoine Erignac  photo Charles-Antoine Erignac Please see: http://www.willkie.com/professionals/e/erignac-charles-antoine
Mr Eduardo Fernandez  photo Mr Eduardo Fernandez Please see http://www.willkie.com/professionals/f/fernandez-eduardo-j
Mr Grégoire Finance  photo Mr Grégoire Finance Please see http://www.willkie.com/professionals/f/finance-gregoire
Mr Gabriel Flandin  photo Mr Gabriel Flandin Please see http://www.willkie.com/professionals/f/flandin-gabriel
Mr Jeffrey Fouts  photo Mr Jeffrey Fouts Please see http://www.willkie.com/professionals/f/fouts-jeffrey-w
Mr Christophe Garaud  photo Mr Christophe Garaud Please see http://www.willkie.com/professionals/g/garaud-christophe
Mr Philippe Grudé photo Mr Philippe GrudéPlease see http://www.willkie.com/professionals/g/grude-philippe
Mr Cédric Hajage photo Mr Cédric HajagePlease see http://www.willkie.com/professionals/h/hajage-cedric
Mr Daniel Hurstel  photo Mr Daniel Hurstel Please see http://www.willkie.com/professionals/h/hurstel-daniel
Mr Amir Jahanguiri  photo Mr Amir Jahanguiri Please see http://www.willkie.com/professionals/j/jahanguiri-amir-h
Gil Kiener  photo Gil Kiener Please see https://www.willkie.com/professionals/k/kiener-gil
Igor Kukhta  photo Igor Kukhta Please see: http://www.willkie.com/professionals/k/kukhta-igor
Mr Thierry Laloum  photo Mr Thierry Laloum Please see http://www.willkie.com/professionals/l/laloum-thierry
David Lambert  photo David Lambert Please see: http://www.willkie.com/professionals/l/lambert-david
Ms Sophie-Jeanne Laroche  photo Ms Sophie-Jeanne Laroche Please see http://www.willkie.com/professionals/l/laroche-sophiejeanne
Mr Paul Lombard  photo Mr Paul Lombard Please see http://www.willkie.com/professionals/l/lombard-paul
Mr Dominique Mondoloni  photo Mr Dominique Mondoloni Please see http://www.willkie.com/professionals/m/mondoloni-dominique
Audrey Nelson  photo Audrey Nelson Please see https://www.willkie.com/professionals/n/nelson-audrey
Ms Annette Péron photo Ms Annette PéronPlease see http://www.willkie.com/professionals/p/peron-annette
Mr Brice Pommiès photo Mr Brice PommièsPlease see http://www.willkie.com/professionals/p/pommis-brice
Mr Lionel Spizzichino  photo Mr Lionel Spizzichino Please see http://www.willkie.com/professionals/s/spizzichino-lionel
Ms Faustine Viala  photo Ms Faustine Viala Please see http://www.willkie.com/professionals/v/viala-faustine
Mr Grégory de Saxcé  photo Mr Grégory de Saxcé Please see http://www.willkie.com/professionals/d/de-saxce-gregory
Total number of lawyers : Approx. 1000
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