November 13, 2019

Willkie is advising Compagnie Nationale à Portefeuille (CNP) on the contemplated acquisition of Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS), an international technology company specializing in providing high value-added solutions based on satellite data.

Willkie is advising CNP, an investment firm owned by the Frère family, on the contemplated acquisition of a majority stake in CLS, an international technology company specializing in providing high value-added solutions based on satellite data from CNES (France’s national space agency), Ardian (a leading private investment house), and IFREMER (France’s research Institute for the exploitation of the sea).

Under the terms of this transaction, Ardian and IFREMER would sell their interest in the CLS Group. CNP and CNES, the historical shareholder of the group that would retain a significant minority stake, would thus enter into a partnership to support a new growth phase for CLS.

Founded in 1986 by CNES, CLS is a worldwide company and pioneer provider of monitoring and surveillance solutions for the Earth. Its mission is to deploy innovative space-based solutions to understand and protect our planet, and to manage its resources sustainably. Headquartered in Toulouse, the group employs 720 people and benefits from a global footprint. The company operates in five strategic areas of activity: sustainable fisheries management, environmental monitoring, maritime surveillance, fleet management, energy & mining. The company notably provides satellite services based on localization and collection of environmental data, ocean and inland waters observation and the monitoring of land and sea activities. The CLS Group generated operating income of 127.5 million euros in 2018.

The completion of this transaction remains subject to a number of conditions, including the approval of the Boards of Directors of CNES and IFREMER, the information and consultation of the relevant CLS employee representative bodies as well as the approval of necessary regulatory authorizations. The parties are aiming for the completion of this transaction before the end of January 2020.

Willkie’s cross-border, multidisciplinary deal team was led by partner Eduardo Fernandez and special European counsel David Lambert, and included national partner Faustine Viala and special European counsel Charles-Antoine Erignac in Paris, and partner David Mortlock in Washington.