ready to buy
By Pierre-Angel Gay in
October 12 2006
François Pinault, the veteran French
corporate raider, has agreed to buy the environmental services arm of
French conglomerate Suez
for €18bn ($22.6bn) if Italian power group Enel
makes a hostile bid for Suez, the Financial Times’ French sister
newspaper, Les Echos, has learned.
Mr Pinault, via his family holding
company Artemis, has secured financing to buy the water, waste and
energy services business of
The deal would be 10 times bigger than
the purchase by Artemis in 1992 from French Bank Crédit
But the French businessman is growing
tired of waiting for Enel to unleash its hostile bid, and their
agreement expired on September 30.
Enel has arranged financing of €50bn
to mount a hostile attack on
Enel’s ambitions to acquire the
electricity assets of
Consummation of that merger has been
delayed by the need to seek French parliamentary approval, achieved
this month, and divergence of the
But Enel, in which the Italian
government retains a stake, has continued to prepare a counter-bid for
Enel then tried to interest leading
French private equity firms to acquire Suez Environnement.
Only Mr Pinault stepped forward. His
team, code-named Wind, has drawn up detailed plans for the take-over.
The Artemis team is headed by Gilles
Erulin and Gilles Pagniez, under the direction of Patricia Barbizet,
Artemis managing director. Artemis is taking legal advice from Bruce
Johnston, of Leboeuf Lamb Green. Its investment bank, Natexis Banques
Populaires, has obtained financing through the
Enel, code-named Vulcan, is advised by
Jean-Pierre Martel of Paris lawyers Orrick Rambaud Martel, with
investment banking advice from François Kayat at Credit Suisse and
Ricardo Bruno of Deutsche Bank.
• The board of Gaz de France will
meet on Thursday to re-evaluate terms of its planned merger with