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French deal making slides towards multi-year lows

Lucille Jones
Lucille Jones
Analyst, Deals Intelligence

Investment banking activity in France has fallen by almost a fifth as part of a wider European malaise that is seeing deal making activity levels slump towards the lows of 2012-2013. The $2.2bn fee-take by investment banks in France in the first nine months of the year is down 18% year-on-year, and the lowest level since 2015. Both M&A and ECM fees fell by around a quarter, while DCM fees were down 14%.


  • French M&A has been propped up by consolidation in the power industry, with the two chunkiest deals so far this year being Total SA’s agreed acquisition of Anadarko Petroleum’s Africa assets for $8.8bn and an $8.7bn agreement to acquire Petrobras’ TAG gas pipeline by a group led by France’s Engie SA.
  • The first nine months of 2019 saw no IPOs of mature business, the only activity being two Euronext Growth listings, which raised a combined $11m.
  • Société Générale topped both France’s ECM and DCM rankings so far this year, with a 17% and 12% market share respectively. Overall European ECM issuance is down 25% to $89bn, the lowest level since 2012. Meanwhile fees from ECM activity were just $1.6bn across the whole of Europe, representing a 16-year low.

Discover more on French deal making in 2019 so far | Pour en savoir plus sur les transactions françaises depuis le début de l’année

French M&A has been propped up by consolidation in the power industry, with the two chunkiest deals so far this year being Total SA’s agreed acquisition of Anadarko Petroleum’s Africa assets for $8.8bn and France’s Engie SA’s agreement to acquire Petrobras’ TAG gas pipeline for $8.7bn.

Citi leads the French advisory rankings, taking $28.9bn from nine deals with a French component, shooting up from 9th place year-on-year. Goldman Sachs and BNP Paribas trail in second and third positions, respectively.France investment banking league table M&AHowever, the overall value of announced M&A deals with a French component is $106bn, 25% down on the same period last year and the lowest amount for six years.

The outlook was slightly rosier in equity capital markets. French ECM issuance crept up to 2% year-on-year to $8.5bn, significantly outperforming the wider European average, which fell 25% in the period. Almost half of the French issuance was follow-on activity. By contrast, the first nine months of 2019 saw no IPOs of mature business, the only activity being two Euronext Growth listings, which raised a combined $11m. This is the lowest level of new issuance on the French stock markets since the depths of the financial crisis in 2009.ECM proceeds by issue type graphMeanwhile, debt capital issuance has held up during 2019, with a 2% year-on-year rise, compared with an aggregate fall in the European DCM market of 8%. The French total was supported by strong financials sector issuance, accounting for more than half total proceeds, as well as government and agency bonds.

Société Générale topped both France’s ECM and DCM rankings so far this year, with a 17% and 12% market share respectively.Europe investment banking fees graphOutside of France, the UK tops the European tables for ECM, with $27.8bn issued so far in 2019, while Germany leads in DCM issuance. Overall European ECM issuance is down 25% to $89bn, the lowest level since 2012. Meanwhile fees from ECM activity were just $1.6bn across the whole of Europe, representing a 16-year low.

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