Jeantet and Links advise on £7bn French transport deal

Jeantet Associés and Linklaters have landed roles on a French deal creating a new European transport giant.

A team at Jeantet led by competition partners Loraine Donnedieu de Vabres-Tranié and Thomas Picot worked alongside French sole practitioner Patrice Gassenbach to advise Veolia Environnement on the proposed joint venture with the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC).

Under the deal, approved by the French competition authority on 30 December, Veolia’s subsidiary Veolia Transport will merge with transport company Transdev. CDC owns 70 per cent of Transdev.

The joint venture will create a company with annual revenues of around €8bn (£6.9bn) and 130,000 employees. It was previously partially approved by the European Commission in August, subject to approval by competition authorities in France and the Netherlands. The Netherlands went on to rubber-stamp the deal in early December.

Under the terms of the French competition ruling the companies are required to set up a €6.5m fund that will be used to compensate companies unsuccessfully bidding for services in areas where the merged business has to withdraw.

The new company is likely to be listed on the French stock exchange.

Linklaters advised CDC, led by competition partner Olivier d’Ormesson.

In the Netherlands, CDC was advised by Loyens & Loeff partner Maurice Essers. Veolia was advised by Van Bael & Bellis partner Markus Wellinger.

The deal is part of a wave of consolidation across the European transport sector. In 2010 Deutsche Bahn paid £2.5bn for Arriva following failed merger talks between the UK company and French rail operator SNCF.