Posted on Nov 26, 2020 at 10:00 PM
Good strategies turn out even better in adversity. The glance in the rear-view mirror offered by the Prizes for the best financial operation awarded by the Club des Trente is enlightening. Dassault Systèmes, Loxam and Française des Jeux, the three awarded for the year 2019 by the association which brings together the financial directors of large French companies, under the chairmanship of Sophie Stabile (Lagardère), saw their choices confirmed by the health crisis. The trophies for this competition sponsored by Mazars, Deloitte, Cleary Gottlieb, Brandford Griffith and HEC, in partnership with “Option Finance” and “Les Echos”, were awarded on Thursday.
Diversification in health
For this twentieth edition, the jury, chaired by Jérôme Michiels (Wendel), awarded Dassault Systèmes a “grand prize”, a first in ten years, for the acquisition of Medidata. The timing of this diversification in the health of the group led by Bernard Charlès holds a posteriori of foreknowledge: the American manages on his platform more than half of the clinical trials in progress concerning the Covid-19.
The $ 5.8 billion transaction, the largest in the simulation software publisher’s nearly forty-year history, made life sciences its second outlet after transport and mobility. Dassault Systèmes was advised by Goldman Sachs for this transaction, the multiple of which was lower than its own.
Through the prize for the best acquisition awarded to Loxam, the Club hailed the career of an ETI of Breton origin, which has become in half a century the world number 3 in the rental of construction equipment. The takeover bid for the Finnish Ramissent, valued at 1.5 billion euros (debt included), developed it at the right time in the Nordic countries, less affected by the pandemic, and diversified it into generalist equipment for construction and industry. The biggest cross-border deal ever in the industry was advised by Deutsche Bank and Handelsbanken.
The entry on the stock exchange of the Française des Jeux, the most important on the Parisian market since that of EDF in 2005 – covered in two hours -, received the price of the best introduction. Half a million small holders, nine times more demand from institutional investors than securities offered, and a capitalization of 3.8 billion euros for a company lacking comparables: the success of the first privatization since that ADP in 2006 was confirmed in the pandemic by the good performance of the action. The transaction was led by BNP Paribas, Citi, Crédit Agricole, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Natixis, Société Générale, CM-CIC, Lazard and Rothschild.