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Alternative Market Briefing

Other Voices: France zeros in on private equity with new FDI guidance

Friday, September 23, 2022

By: Sophie Pele, from global law firm Dechert.

On 8 September 2022, the French Ministry of Economy and Finance, in charge of approving foreign direct investments (FDI) into strategic sectors, issued its first guidelines, intended to make the process of FDI into France more transparent and clear. The guidelines are a summary of existing practice. This is even more useful that decisions authorizing or refusing foreign investments are not public. However, FDI decisions may be subject to freedom of information requests: the Ministry considers that only undertakings from foreign investors would be deemed confidential.

The first striking item is that part of the guidelines concerns the definition of "strategic sectors". It is clear that the Ministry does not intend to depart itself from case-by-case definitions, which shall evolve depending on the context and facts of each case. For instance, the level at which a subcontractor operates may trigger the control or not.

The guidelines therefore mainly focus on the clarification of other items; definition of a foreign investor, the type of controlling investment operations under scrutiny, and on the procedure.

Regarding the definition of a "foreign investor", the guidelines confirm an extensive approach. An investor can be any type of entity, with or without legal existence, and the foreign investor can sit at any level within the chain of control.

Interestingly, the guidelines pay specific a......................

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