Paris

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
21-23 rue de la Ville l'Evêque
75008 Paris FR

T: +33 1 53 43 4500
F: +33 1 40 06 9606
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Established in Paris in 1921, the office counts about 70 lawyers including 17 partners. Our top tier lawyers are ranked among the best in their respective local markets and have uniquely broad and deep industry experience. We regularly represent high-profile French and multinational companies, investment funds and financial institutions in the most sophisticated legal matters, business disputes and transactions.

CORE AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Our areas of expertise include:

  • Private Equity
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Competition and Antitrust 
  • Capital Markets 
  • Banking and Project Finance 
  • Tax 
  • Restructuring and Business Reorganization 
  • Litigation and Arbitrage 
  • White-Collar Crime Public Law and Environment

Corporate

Our Corporate team is one of the most experienced and recognized in the Paris market. Our mergers and acquisitions and private equity team specializes in leveraged buyouts, mergers, acquisitions, tender offers, joint ventures and private equity investments. We advise numerous investment funds and assist financial services companies in complex acquisitions, leveraged buyouts and companies’ divestment.

We also advise issuers and underwriters in domestic and international offerings of equity and debt securities and assist clients with public securities offerings, flotation and financial regulations. Willkie Paris has significant experience in advising borrowers in the field of domestic and cross-border financing and in representing both issuers and institutional investors in debt private placements.

Our corporate attorneys benefit from the strong business acumen and legal expertise of complementary areas of practice, including tax, antitrust, regulatory and public law, restructuring, litigation and environment law.

Corporate Experience

  • Advising ISS in the sale of its landscaping activities to Chequers Capital – Eduardo Fernandez / Grégoire Finance - 2014
  • Advising Ekkio Capital in the sale of BO resort – Christophe Garaud - 2014
  • Advising NXMH in the acquisition of Stokke – Annette Péron / Paul Lombard / David Tayar - 2014
  • Advising Kiloutou in the acquisition of Most Location – Christophe Garaud - 2013
  • Advised Ekkio Capital in the sale of Risk & Co - Christophe Garaud - 2013
  • Advising Swissport in the acquisition of Servisair – Christophe Garaud et Grégoire Finance - 2013
  • Advising Meriguet Group’s founders and management in the investment made by Qualium Investissement – Daniel Payan / Cédric Hajage / Paul Lombard / Marie Hélène Raffin - 2013
  • Advising Macquarie and other exiting shareholders in the sale of Rossignol to Altor – Eduardo Fernandez / Paul Lombard / David Tayar - 2013
  • Advising Arcapita, CEPL  shareholder in the acquisition of CEPL by ID Logistics – Eduardo Fernandez / Alexandra Bigot - 2013
  • Advising Elior in the acquisition of TrustHouse – Cédric Hajage - 2013
  • Advising Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations with regards to the JV with EON regarding the biomass plant in Gardanne, France – Fabrice Cohen 2013
  • Advising CDC with respect to the reallocation of its shareholding in EADS – Fabrice Cohen - 2013
  • Advising DCNS in its joint venture with Piriou – Fabrice Cohen - 2013
  • Advising PAI Partners in the acquisition of ADB – Christophe Garaud/David Tayar/Paul Lombard/Annette Péron - 2013
  • Advising CMA CGM in the sale of Terminal Link – Daniel Hurstel /Annette Péron / Pierre Ullmann / Jacques-Philippe Gunther - 2013
  • Advising PAI Partners in the acquisition of IPH – Christophe Garaud / Jacques-Philippe Gunther - 2013
  • Advising Arkema in the proposed sale of its Vinyl product business segment to Klesch – Grégoire Finance / Eduardo Fernandez / Cédric Hajage / Marie Hélène Raffin - 2012
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Competition and Antitrust

Our Competition and Antitrust practice works in close collaboration across our network of European and international offices.

Our locally and internationally renowned team specializes in providing counsel in all aspects of the competition and antitrust issues: merger control, state aids, vertical and horizontal agreements and abuse of dominant position (predatory pricing, loyalty rebate, cross subsidization, restrictive practices, etc.). Our practice also regularly advises on a full spectrum of complex agreements (joint ventures, R&D, long-term supply, exclusive arrangements) and develops compliance programs.

Our leading practitioners have a strong professional relationship with competition authorities at the European level (European Commission, Court of Justice and European Community Court) and at the national level (particularly in France, Belgium, Italy and Germany).

Competition and Antitrust Experience

  • Advised France Telecom before the Court of Appeal (Paris) in the context of an alleged abuse of dominant position against Cogent – Jacques-Philippe Gunther - 2014
  • Advised France Télévisions’ on its long-term financing regime – Jacques-Philippe Gunther - 2013
  • Advised CMA CGM in the sale of 49% of Terminal Link – Jacques-Philippe Gunther - 2013
  • Advised PAI Partners in the acquisitions of IPH and ADB – Jacques-Philippe Gunther / David Tayar 2013
  • Represented EDF before the antitrust authority in the context of an alleged abuse of dominant position against SUN’R – Jacques-Philippe Gunther – ongoing
  • Represented the French State in Obtaining EC Approval for €1.2 Billion PSA Group Aid – Jacques-Philippe Gunther / Fabrice Cohen - 2013
  • Advised EDF in the acquisition of Edison – Jacques-Philippe Gunther - 2012
  • Advised EDF in the acquisition of Photowatt – Jacques-Philippe Gunther - 2012
  • Advised CMA CGM with regards to the FSI’s investment – Daniel Hurstel / Grégoire Finance / Jacques-Philippe Gunther - 2012
  • Advises CMA CGM with regards to an investigation related to sea transport services from North Europe to the French West Indies – Jacques-Philippe Gunther - ongoing
  • Advised CMA CGM with regards to an investigation launched by the European Commission against several liner shipping companies regarding potential anticompetitive agreements and/or abuse of dominant position – Jacques-Philippe Gunther - ongoing
  • Advised Eurotunnel in the acquisition of Sea France’s assets – Jacques-Philippe Gunther - 2012
  • Advised GDF Suez in obtaining the largest antitrust fine reduction in a major EU cartel case in the energy sector (more than €230 million). The team was nominated in the category “Litigation of the year” by Global Competition Review – Jacques-Philippe Gunther - 2012
  • Advised Teva Pharmaceutical Industries in its $6.8 billion acquisition of pharmaceutical company Cephalon – David Tayar - 2011
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Banking & Project Finance

Our Banking and Project Finance attorneys provide counsel on a wide range of financing transactions in France and abroad for large sponsors and corporates as well as a number of leading lending institutions.

Our team handles syndicated and bilateral lending, leveraged finance and acquisition finance, real estate finance, project finance, PPP, private placements, recapitalizations and corporate restructurings and workouts.

Our project finance practice is at the forefront of local market firms advising on major transportation and public infrastructure projects including roads, rail, hospitals, airports, prisons and police stations.

Banking & Project Finance Experience

  • Advising OFI Infravia in the acquisition of a stake in Régaz Bordeaux – Amir Jahanguiri / Thierry Laloum / Vincent Brenot - 2014
  • Advising European Capital and Tikheau on the financing aspects of the acquisition of Asmodée by Eurazeo – Christophe Garaud / Paul Lombard - 2014
  • Advising NXMH in relation to the financing aspects of the acquisition of the Stokke group – Annette Péron / Paul Lombard / David Tayar - 2014
  • Advising CenterBridge Partners and Angelo Gordon in the financing aspects of the acquisition of Frans Bonhomme – Paul Lombard / Alexandra Bigot / Cédric Hajage - 2014
  • Advising the lenders on the public-private partnership (PPP) project for  the L2 road project in Marseille - Amir Jahanguiri / Thierry Laloum / Vincent Brenot - 2014
  • Advising Ardian (ex Axa Private Debt) on the financing aspects of the acquisition by Equistone of Europeenne des Desserts – Paul Lombard - 2013
  • Advising Meriguet Group’s founders and management in the investment made by Qualium Investissement – Daniel Payan / Cédric Hajage / Paul Lombard / Marie Hélène Raffin - 2013
  • Advising Essilor in the context of a Syndicated revolver facility refinancing of its existing back up facility together with bilateral facilities – Eduardo Fernandez / Paul Lombard - 2013
  • Advising PAI partners on the financing aspects of the acquisition of ADB Airfield Solution, a group active in the airfield industry operated from Belgium, the US, South Africa and China – Christophe Garaud / David Tayar / Paul Lombard / Annette Péron - 2013
  • Advisor on the project for the design, financing, construction and maintenance of four new prisons in France for a total amount of € 415 million – Amir Jahanguiri - 2013
  • Advised ADTIM, Infravia Numérique, Caisse des Dépôts & Consignations, ETDE and AXIONE with regards to the due diligence and the acquisition aspects and ADTIM in the negotiation of the financing and project documentation. Willkie also advised Infravia Numérique and Caisse des Dépôts & Consignations  in the setting up of the mezzanine financing – Amir Jahanguiri / Thierry Laloum / Annette Péron - 2013
  • Co-advising Axa Private Debt on Unitranche debt aspects for the acquisition of the IPH Group by PAI partners – Paul Lombard / Christophe Garaud / Jacques-Philippe Gunther - 2013
  • Advisor on the innovative financing of the “Operation Campus” of Bordeaux University – Thierry Laloum - 2012
  • Advising Axa Private Debt on Unitranche debt aspects of a capex financing for Ceva – Paul Lombard - 2012
  • Advising on the financing of the second tranche of the upfront payment for the purchase of electricity from EDF under a limited recourse project financing scheme for its on-sale to Exeltium II clients – Amir Jahanguiri / Thierry Laloum - 2012
  • Advising IK Investment Partners in the acquisition of Unipex – Paul Lombard / Eduardo Fernandez - 2012
  • Advising Bonduelle in a European Private Placement – Eduardo Fernandez - 2012
  • Advising Icade in a complex refinancing including a medium term loan, a back-up RCF facility and a forward start facility (the first for a real-estate business in France) put in place in the context of the public take over bid over Silic – Paul Lombard / Eduardo Fernandez - 2012
  • Advising the sponsors on the design, building, maintenance and financing the Nimes - Montpellier railway bypass – Amir Jahanguiri / Thierry Laloum - 2012
  • Advising Sonepar in its USPP – Eduardo Fernandez - 2012
  • Advising Bonduelle in relation to the implementation of a €300 million Revolving Credit Facility – Eduardo Fernandez - 2012
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Tax

Our Willkie Paris tax group is recognized for its broad expertise and experience in advising clients on tax-related aspects of all types of transactions.

With extensive experience in business and financial matters, our tax group is highly skilled and has a strong reputation for creating efficient tax structuring solutions. Our attorneys work closely with major audit firms to develop complex financing and acquisition structures in local and international matters.

Tax Experience

  • Advising ISS in the sale of its landscaping activities to Chequers Capital – Pierre Ullmann / Eduardo Fernandez/Grégoire Finance - 2014
  • Advises Jacques Veyrat (Impala) in the buy-out of CPI, currently owned by his creditors – Philippe Grudé / Alexandra Bigot - 2014
  • Advised Meriguet’s founders and management on the tax aspects of the acquisition by Qualium investissement of a stake in Meriguet – Daniel Payan / Cédric Hajage / Paul Lombard / Marie Hélène Raffin - 2013
  • Advised PAI Partners on the tax aspects of the acquisition of IPH – Philippe Grudé / Christophe Garaud / Jacques-Philippe Gunther - 2013
  • Advised CMA CGM on the tax aspects of the sale of 49% of Terminal Link to China Merchants Holdings – Pierre Ullmann / Philippe Grudé
  • Advising Ekkio Capital on the tax aspects of the sale of Pomme de Pain to Neuhauser Financière – Philippe Grudé / Christophe Garaud - 2012
  • Advising Ekkio Capital on the tax aspects of the acquisition of Compagnie des Vacances – Philippe Grudé / Christophe Garaud - 2012
  • Advising Arkema on the tax aspects of the sale of its Vinyl product business segment to Klesch – Grégoire Finance / Eduardo Fernandez / Cédric Hajage / Marie Hélène Raffin - 2012
  • Advising an investment fund in the structuring of real estate acquisition (tax audit) – Pierre Ullmann - 2013
  • Advising Apsys  in the structuring and financing of partnerships with institutional investors to build, finance and operate commercial centers – Pierre Ullmann - 2013
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Restructuring and Business Reorganization

Our practice is uniquely qualified to assess more accurately the risks and challenges faced by distressed businesses, as many of our preeminent restructuring attorneys have substantive experience in the finance and business sectors.

Our restructuring and business reorganization attorneys have vast expertise in advising public and private companies in complex debt restructuring matters and insolvency proceedings.

We provide counsel to debtors, shareholders and investors, in the following areas:

•    Distressed LBOs

•    Sale of distressed businesses in large groups

•    Complex multijurisdictional restructuring

•    Insolvency proceedings

•    Liability lawsuits

Our team works collaboratively with our litigation and white-collar experts to advise companies and their management teams throughout the business restructuring process. Our restructuring and business reorganization team is widely recognized by prestigious international industry publications and rankings. Our highly skilled attorneys work seamlessly across all areas of practice to provide the maximum benefit of our firm’s expertise to our clients.

Restructuring and Business Reorganization Experience

  • Advising Transdev as minority shareholder of SNCM regarding state aid granted to the company –
    Alexandra Bigot / Thierry Laloum / Jacques-Philippe Gunther - ongoing
  • Advises Jacques Veyrat (Impala) in the buy-out of CPI, currently owned by his creditors – Philippe Grudé / Alexandra Bigot - 2014
  • Advising Hachette Livre in  the bankruptcy proceeding of its subsidiary Actissia – Alexandra Bigot - ongoing
  • Advises Ateliers Mériguet in its acquisition of Boiseries et Décoration under bankruptcy proceedings – Alexandra Bigot – ongoing
  • Advises Ateliers Mériguet in its acquisition of EDM Projet, group in conciliation and then in safeguard proceedings – Alexandra Bigot - ongoing
  • Advises Centerbridge and Angelo Gordon as major creditors of Frans Bonhomme, in their acquisition of Frans Bonhomme, owned by Cinven – Paul Lombard / Alexandra Bigot / Cédric Hajage - 2014
  • Advises Arkema as former shareholder of Kem One Group acquired by Klesch Group and a part of which filled for bankruptcy proceedings – Alexandra Bigot - ongoing
  • Advises Hachette Livre as major supplier of Virgin, in bankruptcy proceedings – Alexandra Bigot -ongoing
  • Advises Qualium in the financial restructuring of Quick Group – Alexandra Bigot - 2013
  • Advise CDC Entreprise and other financial minority shareholders of Loret Telecom in the context of the safeguard proceedings of Loret Group's companies – Alexandra Bigot - 2013
  • Advises Pragma Capital, in the context of Leyton's restructuring – Alexandra Bigot - 2013
  • Advises Arcapita, in the context of CEPL restructuring – Alexandra Bigot - 2013
  • Advises Cocom mezzanine's lenders, in the context of Consolis's buy-back – Alexandra Bigot - 2013
  • Advises Doux in its restructuring in the context of a conciliation and then a bankruptcy proceedings
  • Advises CMA/CGM in its financial restructuring (renegotiation senior debt and RCF, FSI entrance, strengthening of equities) – Alexandra Bigot - 2013
  • Advises Park Square, second "lien" lenders in the context of Mediannuaire restructuring, Pages Jaunes controlling holding, listed company – Alexandra Bigot - 2013
  • Advises Apax Partners in the context of Parkeon company's takeover, via a debt buy-back
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Litigation

Our Litigation practice has handled some of the most complex and high-profile matters in France and international jurisdictions. Our local litigators are among the most distinguished practitioners in France and international jurisdictions and advise on a broad range of matters and business disputes in civil and commercial litigation, domestic and international arbitration, local and compliance and enforcement and white-collar crime. Our areas of focus include the following:
  • Civil and commercial litigation: advising international clients on complex procedures in multiple jurisdictions.
  • Domestic and international arbitration: significant experience advising on merger and acquisition-related matters such as shareholders’ disputes.
  • Compliance and enforcement: substantial expertise conducting internal investigations and counseling companies and individuals on compliance and corporate governance matters.
  • White-collar crime: strong white collar crime experience advising local and multinational managers and legal entities.

Litigation Experience

  • Advising Lagardère in a litigation against Vivendi related to Canal+ cash management – Dominique Mondoloni - 2013
  • Advising AFD in a litigation related to the seizure of public state aid to Congo – Dominique Mondoloni - 2013
  • Representing Wendel, as defendant, in proceedings initiated by Editions Odile Jacob in relation to the validity of the purchase, by Wendel, of EDITIS from Lagardère in 2004 and subsequent sale to Spanish publishing giant Planeta in 2008 – Dominique Mondoloni - 2013 and ongoing
  • Assisting Daimler AG in dealing with issues arising out of French law (data privacy and judicial cooperation) in relation to the conduct of investigations by the corporate compliance monitor appointed in accordance with the Deferred Prosecution Agreement entered into with the US DOJ –Dominique Mondoloni - 2013
  • Acting as counsel for the Luxembourg company URUS Corporation as plaintiff in a multi-jurisdiction criminal investigation that concerns the Gabon airline company Air Service – Dominique Mondoloni - 2012
  • Representing and assists GL events in connection with allegations of corruption in Asia – Dominique Mondoloni - 2012
  • Advising Compagnie Financière de Logistique in a litigation related to misuse of company’s assets against the former CEO – Dominique Mondoloni - 2012
  • Advising an investor from Luxembourg in a breach of trust procedure – Dominique Mondoloni – 2012
  • Advising Eurotunnel in the litigation regarding the award of the ships of SeaFrance adjudicated in the framework of SeaFrance liquidation proceedings - 2012
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Public Law and Environment

The uniquely broad expertise of our Public Law and Environment practice has received significant recognition from leading local and international legal industry rankings and indices. Our public law team advises public bodies, local governments, semi-publicly owned companies and financial institutions on the construction, financing and management of public  assets and services (underground trains, hospitals, stadiums, plants for treatment of household waste, etc.), including in connection with public-private partners. We advise on a wide range of domestic and international transactions in particular for sponsors and corporates as well as a number of leading lending institutions.

Our attorneys specialize in providing counsel in all areas of environmental law as it relates to M&A transactions as well as administrative, civil and criminal litigation, shutdowns of industrial sites, negotiation with French and European authorities and regulatory issues.

Public Law and Environment Experience

  • Advising OFI Infravia in the acquisition of a stake in Régaz Bordeaux – Amir Jahanguiri / Thierry Laloum / Vincent Brenot - 2014
  • Advising DFE on the financing aspects of the construction, maintenance and operations of new campus in Grenoble university – Thierry Laloum / Amir Jahanguiri - 2013
  • Advising on the project for the construction, financing, maintenance and operations of the Highway L2 in Marseille – Amir Jahanguiri / Thierry Laloum / Vincent Brenot - 2013
  • Advising Natixis and the city of Marseille in a € 40 million private placement – Thierry Laloum / Vincent Brenot - 2013
  • Advising Natixis in two bond issues for Champagne Ardenne region – Thierry Laloum - 2013
  • Advising Agence Française de Développement (AFD) on several issues – Vincent Brenot - 2013
  • Advising banks pool and 16 hospitals in their € 228 million bond issue – Thierry Laloum / Vincent Brenot - 2013
  • Advising Pays de la Loire region in relation to the setting up and the update of a euro medium term notes program – Thierry Laloum - 2012
  • Advising banks pool and 44 French local authorities in their €610 million bond issue – Thierry Laloum / Vincent Brenot - 2012
  • Advised Chemtura on the environmental issues regarding the transfer of its Seveso classified site in Catenoy (Oise) – Vincent Brenot - 2013
  • Advised Arkema on the environment aspects of the sale of its Vinyl product business to Klesch Group and subsequent issues relating to the insolvency procedure affecting the newly created entity Kem One – Vincent Brenot - 2012
  • Assisting Petroplus on the environmental/regulatory aspects of the contemplated shut down of the Reichstett refinery (Alsace - France) – Vincent Brenot - 2012
  • Assisting FMC Chemicals in a the context for the challenge of the decision taken by the EU authorities and the French government to withdraw one of its key products from the market (bifenthrin) – Vincent Brenot - 2012
  • Assisting the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations with regards to the acquisition of shares in a company specialized in renewable energy – Vincent Brenot - ongoing
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Publications / News / Events

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