Simplifying French public-to-private deals

Author: | Published: 1 Jun 2005

"Is there a future for public-to-private transactions in France?" This question was raised in a paper published at the end of last year by a French professional investor association (Association Française des Investisseurs en Capital) together with the consulting firm Arthur D Little. According to the paper, there were on average just six public-to-private transactions each year since 1999 in France, compared with 39 in the UK during the same period. Many French and foreign private equity investors believe that French law, and takeover rules in particular, make it difficult to successfully complete a public-to-private transaction.

But despite the relative complexity of buying out listed companies, private equity funds have tackled very large public transactions in Europe over the past two years. Examples in France include the acquisition of business-to-consumer electrical device company Legrand by KKR and Wendel for €4.9 billion ($6.17 billion), the acquisition of shoe and clothing...