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French cross-border M&A activity on the rise

France’s cross-border mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity is rising considerably as the corporate M&A appetite once again returns to North America and Europe, according to a study by Robert W Baird Group.

Of the USD450bn worth of M&A deals taken place so far in 2014 – the highest half year value since before the global economic downturn – France (domestic, inbound, outbound) accounted for a quarter of all this activity. 
French outbound M&A value has almost doubled in the last 12 months to June 2014 (LTM 2014) compared with the previous 12 months (LTM 2013) and French inbound M&A value has almost quadrupled over the same period.
A number of notable transactions in 2014 include:
•           Acquisition of Ecova to GDF SUEZ, a French multinational utility company.
•           Acquisition of Magic Holdings by L’Oréal.
•           Acquisition of Maxxam Analytics by Bureau Veritas.
•           Acquisition of Invensys plc by Schneider Electric.
•           A USD44 billion revenue merger between Lafarge and Holcim.
•           Investment in Laboratoires Prodene Klint by GOJO Industries.
Proving itself as an attractive inbound M&A alternative to Germany, France has seen significant increase in deal values, with the US acting as the most common M&A partner to France, accounting for 18 per cent of outbound deal count and 27 per cent of inbound deal count.
Baird anticipates continued involvement from French acquirers and targets in cross-border transactions as they further embrace globalisation and foreign investment, having increased their share of European M&A activity.

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