M&A in France: Waiting for Regulatory Guidelines

Many of the 180 professionals at the event shared their concerns about the current economic landscape, specifically a deep sense of uncertainty about the future.


21 October 2009

On September 29th, Mergermarket held its first annual conference on mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in Paris at the Hyatt Vendome. The agenda was divided into two sections: the status of the economy and the changing nature of economic transactions in M&A.

In the morning, discussions around the economy explored the advantages and disadvantages of regulatory guidelines. Many of the 180 professionals at the event shared their concerns about the current economic landscape, specifically a deep sense of uncertainty about the future. In France, financial institutions are waiting for new regulations, while regulators try to create politically acceptable rules that can simultaneously guarantee an environment where innovation and investment can thrive. The ultimate conclusion is simple: Uncertainty reigns.

In the afternoon, Intralinks was invited by mergermarket to present an update on technology that helps better facilitate M&A transactions . The audience, which seemed accustomed to older, simpler versions of virtual datarooms, was surprised to discover the extent of innovation which is currently sweeping the market. For instance, I received many positive comments on Intralinks features that enable users to add contextual information to documents and spreadsheets, as well as marking ("tagging") and custom fields. The ability to use "workflow", another feature Intralinks offers and that I discussed in this session, is fundamental to our goal of extending the use of datarooms through the entire deal lifecycle.

FranceAnother topic we touched on in the afternoon session was deal flow and restructuring engagements. I noted that activity on Intralinks currently shows an increase in the number of transactions in France by 19% in Q1 2009 and 26% in Q2 2009. Interestingly, Intralinks saw the greatest change-an increase of 150%, in fact-in the number of clients using the solution to facilitate restructuring engagements.

To better serve growing business in the region, Intralinks increase its staff in France within the next nine months. This prompted comments from a number of journalists present, many of whom had queried various panelists through the day about impending regulatory changes including Thierry Francq, Secretary General, Autorité des Marchés Financiers, and Anne Perrot, Vice-President, Autorité de la Concurrence. Hopefully by the next conference there will be more answers than questions on the subject of regulation.