The Nanterre Commercial Court, which ordered Veolia to suspend its hostile takeover bid on Suez, finally declared himself incompetent on Tuesday in this case and referred it to the Paris Commercial Court. The court says it is “incompetent for the benefit of the Paris Commercial Court”, in a decision dated Tuesday consulted by AFP.
Veolia launched on February 8 a hostile takeover bid for the 70.1% of Suez capital that it does not own, for a total of € 7.9 billion. The water and waste giant has already held 29.9% of its competitor’s capital since October, sold by Engie. But the commercial court of Nanterre had the same day ordered Veolia to suspend any takeover bid against Suez, pending a substantive debate on its previous friendly commitments.
Veolia, for its part, argued that “its head office was domiciled within the jurisdiction of the Paris Commercial Court”, recalls the decision published on Tuesday, which therefore retains this argument. Suez is also ordered to pay several thousand euros to its competitor and to Engie, in respect of legal costs.
Veolia’s takeover bid “is on track”
“The delaying maneuvers of Suez have once again failed”, ruled in a statement Veolia, estimating that its takeover bid “was therefore following its course”. Its CEO Antoine Frérot “wishes to present his merger project to all the directors of Suez in order to initiate a constructive dialogue with them”, continues the group.
In another press release, Suez took note of the court’s decision “for reasons of geographic jurisdiction”. “The court did not question the group’s arguments on the violation of the friendly commitment made by Veolia since October 2020. Suez is examining its options to assert its rights in this regard,” the text concludes. Suez management is opposed to the merger project, which it believes is synonymous with social and industrial damage. The battle between the two French champions of the sector, which has been going on since last summer, is punctuated by numerous legal remedies.
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