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The Economist
9 mins | May 13, 2020

Unshackling France SA

The Economist's Analysis: the best French firms have shaken off the attention of politicians — and thrived. "The ugly spat between Veolia and Suez shows politics still matters in Parisian business circles. Given the two firms offer the same outsourced environmental services to customers dotted across the globe, a tie-up has long been mooted. Veolia having already seized nearly a third of its target’s shares, each side has lined up members of 'l’establishment' to make its case. Their brief is not so much to convince shareholders of the merits of a deal, as might be the case in Britain or America. Rather, politicians whose assent is considered critical are an important audience. Suez and Veolia are each said to have a former speechwriter to President Emmanuel Macron lobbying for them (not the same one). Given that a slew of legal challenges and regulatory clearances is required, the outcome will not be known for months. Few think it will hinge on the transaction’s commercial merits."

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