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International Corporate / M&A - France

posted 12 months ago

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Karl Hepp de Sevelinges

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Karl Hepp de Sevelinges
Jeantet

Created in 1924, Jeantet is an historical Law Firm on the Paris market. As a French leading firm, Jeantet advises large and mid-cap companies in a wide range of transactions (mergers, acquisitions, divestment, spin offs and joint ventures) with the guarantee to receiving high-end capability services.

Our corporate/M&A practice, having a team of more than 50 lawyers, has consistently been ranked as a top law firm for Corporate/M&A practice by numerous international prestigious editorials.

Pioneers in our international development, we operate in a resolutely cross-border context and accompany the development of your companies throughout the world.

France has a system of civil law primarily based on legal codes and statutes, with case law also playing an important role. French laws must comply with the French national Constitution and the European Union (EU) law.

The state and scope of corporate legislation in France is mainly based on the French commercial Code (Code de commerce) which governs – inter alia – the incorporation, registration, management, restructuring and/ or transformation as well as the winding up and/ or the insolvency of companies.

Other legislations with an impact on our corporate and M&A practice (notably in terms of timing and structuring), include notably the French financial Code (Code monétaire et financier), which governs financial instruments, as well as related activities, but also foreign investment prior approval requirements; and the French Labour Code (Code du travail) governing the relationships among the company and its employees and providing among others for the information consultation of the works council (if any) to take place prior to the completion of certain types of transactions.

We are mainly involved in mid-cap and large cap international transactions (including share deals, joint ventures, mergers, carve-outs, etc.) for strategic clients specialised notably in the following sectors: health, tech, infrastructure, and energy.

We handle all aspects of such transactions: merger issues, information and consultation process of representative bodies, foreign investments prior approval requirements, contractual documentation, negotiations, etc.

We remain extremely active notwithstanding the current market situation (financial fears, inflation, exposure to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, etc.).

Apollo Global Management: In 2022, Jeantet advised the US investment fund, Apollo Global Management on its EUR500M investment a subsidiary of Air France-KLM, dedicated to the engineering and maintenance operations of the Air France-KLM group. The originality of this case comes from the structure of the deal, in order to obtain an equity treatment qualification and the need to comply with French state aid law. The success of this operation required the support of a multitude of expertise within Jeantet (finance, tax, restructuring).

The French M&A market has slowed down significantly compared to 2021. Due to the high level of economic uncertainty, companies and investors are more cautious in the acquisition process and eager for more protection in purchase agreements. A growing number of companies are refocusing on their core business, thus selling their non-strategic or less profitable assets. In this context, and as in many other jurisdictions, the transfer of strategic assets and businesses out of France is increasingly limited by the state.

In addition to a general decline in M&A activity, there is a focus in the most predictable sectors, with proven profitability: health, tech, infrastructure, energy.

This trend is explained by the current economic and geopolitical context, pushing investors to take less risk and to take refuge in sectors supported by public investment policies.

Jeantet mainly advises international companies, including leaders in their sectors and Blue chips. This international dimension is part of Jeantet’s DNA. This means that the majority of our clients are at least mid-cap companies, with several hundreds or thousands of employees.

As a full-services law firm, Jeantet offers to its clients 360° support with the same high standards of quality and expertise. In addition, the experience of our lawyers and their extensive knowledge of business sectors ensure the success of our clients’ projects.

In addition to foreign offices, Jeantet can count on the members of its “Best Friends” networks, World Services Group (WSG) and Energy Law Group (ELG), to provide support in 145 jurisdictions around the world. The independent firms that are members of these networks all share a common set of values, including the excellence of their services.

One of the current main challenges for international transactions in France falling within the scope of the applicable regulation definitely remains the process of authorisation by the French Ministry of Economy. Indeed, the related processes, as well as the conditions attached to the authorisations when granted, have become more challenging for the investors lately.

This process has to be followed thoroughly and taken into account from the beginning of the contemplated transaction (notably in the conditions precedent and the planned timing). The assistance of lawyers with much experience of negotiation with the Ministry in this specific field remains highly recommended.

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International Corporate / M&A - France

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