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GAR 100 - 5th Edition

Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier

05 March 2012

The blue-chip French M&A firm is well known for its impressive client list and incredibly lean partner-to-associate ratio (more than half of its 55 lawyers are equity partners). When it decided to branch into international arbitration, it brought in the regarded Matthieu de Boisséson.

Who’s Who name:
Matthieu de Boisséson

He and his team joined the firm from Gide Loyrette Nouel, where they had built a name working on large arbitration cases such as TML v Eurotunnel, working for the TML construction consortium.

Today the group handles a variety of complex civil and commercial disputes, defence and aerospace industry matters, and construction disputes, although it has a primary focus on M&A, securities and capital markets disputes.

Its clients tend to be elite French corporations. One current user is Groupe Casino. It has instructed the firm in its ICC claim against Brazil’s Diniz Group, the family-owned conglomerate with which it co-owns Grupo Pão de Açúcar, over a possible merger of the retailer with the Brazilian arm of French hypermarket group Carrefour. De Boisséson is handling the case.

A more public matter was for French multinational Danone in an arbitration with its Chinese joint-venture partner Wahaha at the Swedish Chamber of Commerce. Danone eventually settled a claim brought by the Chinese soft drinks company hours before an award was issued. Wahaha paid €300 million for Danone’s 51 per cent stake in a joint venture. De Boisséson at the time described the result as highly positive, noting that “enforcing arbitration awards in China can be an uncertain process.”

Other clients include Elf Neftegaz – a former subsidiary of French oil and gas group Elf Aquitaine (now part of the Total Group) – for whom the team is running an ad hoc arbitration under UNCITRAL rules, after claims from Russian entities; and Euromissile, in its long-running dispute with Thales over various joint-venture agreements to develop and market air defence weapons systems.

It’s also been representing Renault in a dispute arising from Volvo’s acquisition of Renault Trucks.

Away from daily practice, De Boisséson was part of the working group that drafted France’s new arbitration law and, according to GAR reports, one of the driving forces in persuading the government to press on with the reforms when it was wavering.

Last year, the firm added former judge Christophe Ingrain as a partner.



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