Skadden among advisers on French security deal

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom has landed the lead role alongside local lawyers on the acquisition of private security company Neo Security by Fiducial Private Security, a subsidiary of French multidisciplinary services company Fiducial.

Neo Security, an operational subsidiary of holding company Néo Sécurité, has been under bankruptcy protection since 18 June, when it emerged that it would be unable to pay approximately €60m of taxes owed to the French government.

The acquisition, which received approval from Paris’ commercial court on 3 August, will see Fiducial acquire Neo Security from the group management. The deal will include the acquisition of assets generating €117m (£92m) in revenue and will see Fiducial retain 3,317 employees from Neo Security.

Skadden advised Fiducial on the corporate, employment and regulatory aspects of the deal. The team was led by Paris M&A partner Christopher Baker and employment specialist Stéphanie Stein. Counsel Stéphane Heliot and associate Léon del Forno also acted on the deal, while the team worked closely with Fiducial’s in-house team of Philippe Jasnault, Laurent Marié and director of strategy Matthias Boizard.

Parisian firm Bremond & Associés also acted for Fiducial on aspects related to insolvency proceedings. The team was led by corporate insolvency partner Guilhem Bremond and associate Marie Tellechéa.

The teams had to go through around 450 contracts to identify which were the loss-making and profit-making contracts in order to select which Fiducial should retain and therefore which of Neo Security’s 5,100 employees it should hold on to.

Stein commented: “It was like Blitzkrieg: to seal the deal in just under six weeks, we first had to assess the exact situation, fast, and second to solve some very complex French labour law issues and equally complex French bankruptcy law constraints.”

Neo Security had no external legal counsel, other than a court-appointed receiver, who worked with employment counsel Nabil Kerouaz.

Background to this deal:

Baker founded Skadden’s Paris office and has advised Fiducial for around 20 years. Stein joined Skadden in September 2011 from Eversheds to establish the office’s labour and employment practice. Fiducial’s Boizard is also a former associate at Skadden.