THE FIRM This three-partner team excels on the tax issues of banking and finance and real estate transactions. It acts for a loyal client base that includes big names such as Unibail-Rodamco, GMAC and JPMorgan Real Estate European Property Fund. Recent highlights include assisting Société Générale and ING Real Estate Financing (France) as lenders under a cross-collateralised real estate cross-financing for a portfolio of properties held by LBREP affiliates.
Sources say: “A top-calibre team offering business-focused assistance to international clients.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Interviewees highlight team head Siamak Mostafavi, appreciating his “precise, in-depth advice, solid financial knowledge and towering reputation in the Paris market.”
Mathieu Vignon proves a hit with his clients, who value his global overview, commercial grounding and "immaculate English skills."
The arrival of Jean-Yves Charriau and his team boosts the firm's strength in real estate tax advice, and clients highlight his sector-specific knowledge.
THE FIRM This market-leading French firm is often involved in tax aspects of large corporate M&A transactions. The 13-lawyer team complements its strong domestic reputation with considerable pan-European strength, thanks to its offices in Paris and Brussels. Key clients include household names such as SNCF, Intel, Carrefour and PagesJaunes Groupe, reflecting the team's broad sector experience. It recently advised BPCE on the planned sale of French real estate services company Foncia to a consortium comprising Bridgepoint and Eurazeo.
Sources say: “A top-tier team that has a reputation for being close to large corporates and draws upon the expertise of some quality specialists.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Renaud Streichenberger works on M&A, corporate restructurings and tax litigation. He continues to lead the market in taxation.
Clients refer to Yves Rutschmann as a “pleasant, well-informed tax practitioner and a valuable asset on large deals," thanks to his "supreme communication skills and intricate understanding of how the authorities work.”
Edouard Sicot receives strong recommendations for his advice on both French and cross-border M&A and real estate mandates. He recently headed the team advising Gecina on the tax considerations of the acquisition by its subsidiary of 30 retirement homes.
Pierre-Henri Durand specialises in management incentive plans and private equity transactions.
THE FIRM This firm boasts one of the largest tax teams in the country, with 58 partners active in this area. The team covers direct taxation, local taxes, VAT, international taxation, tax doctrine, environmental tax law, and African and emerging markets taxation. The lawyers are also noted for their expertise in transfer pricing, and have recently been active on the negotiation of high-profile mutual agreements. Highlights include advising Nissan France on the completion of the cross-border merger of Nissan Belgium and the Netherlands into the French parent company.
Sources say: “The team is a reference point for tax issues in France and manages to steer the client with great ease through complex matters."
KEY INDIVIDUALS International taxation specialist Bruno Gibert stands out as a transfer pricing expert.
Clients appreciate Bruno Gouthière's litigation prowess and specialist knowledge of international tax structurings.
Lionel Lenczner's direct taxation practice encompasses tax litigation work, for which he continues to gather warm recommendations.
François Rontani is identified by peers as a "tax expert with a keen eye for international issues."
THE FIRM This tax boutique enjoys a noteworthy market reputation and impresses interviewees with its dedicated tax focus and wide-ranging practice. The team covers corporate tax management and strategy, transfer pricing, VAT and indirect taxes, and litigation, amongst other matters. It attracts a predominantly French clientele.
Sources say: “A solid tax boutique that can turn its hand to assisting clients from a variety of sectors and has had a high level of visibility on good-quality deals in recent times.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peers remark that firm chairman Frederic Donnedieu is a “tremendous tax expert.” He has been active advising on issues arising out of acquisitions and corporate reorganisations.
THE FIRM This eight-partner team covers corporate tax, real estate taxation, litigation, wealth management and employee benefits. Reflecting the firm's diverse expertise, it recently advised National Bank of Kuwait on the finance structuring of the acquisition of a real estate asset in Paris. This was the first financing in France to be structured in compliance with Shari'a law by way of murabaha commodities. Further key clients include Generali, Carval, Center Parcs and AXA Private Equity.
Sources say: “A go-to group for LBO work especially given its current tax line-up.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Admired by peers for his long-standing experience in this area, Pierre-Yves Bourtourault has served as tax adviser on a variety of high-profile matters, and has of late received praise for his handling of supply chain restructurings. He is rated for his skills in both tax planning and disputes.
Véronique Millischer is renowned for her work with French multinationals and sources also highlight her knowledge of real estate tax.
Olivier Mesmin co-heads the real estate taxation team and receives market recognition for his work on foreign investment financing and tax planning in property transactions.
Eric Meier leads the tax audit and litigation team, and often assists clients with proceedings involving the tax authorities.
Clients appreciate Christine Daric's leading experience in tax optimisation and international taxation. She co-heads the real estate taxation team.
THE FIRM This team has a broad-ranging practice, handling M&A and capital markets deals as well as standalone work such as employee benefits, financing, litigation, wealth and real estate tax matters. It recently advised Faurecia on its USD409 million acquisition of EMCON Technologies. Other clients include Accor, BNP Paribas, Lafarge and Veolia Environnement.
Sources say: “Our go-to team for cross-border tax projects, and we really appreciate the firm's international network.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients appreciate senior counsel Gilles Entraygues's pragmatic approach and wealth of experience.
Partner Anne-Sophie Coustel recently led the team advising Bridgepoint and Eurazeo in the acquisition of Foncia from BPCE. She is described as a “savvy and talented tax specialist who has an efficient, direct style.”
Consultant Pascal Coudin is hailed as a “clever professional with a solid reputation in the Paris market.”
THE FIRM The French outpost of this magic circle firm has four partners and 17 fee earners in its tax team. The team has been busy advising on corporate transactions in recent times, including assisting Carrefour and Dia with the spin-off of the two supermarket groups, and with the latter's listing in Spain. It also handles employee share scheme matters for the likes of GDF SUEZ, Crédit Agricole, Steria and Vallourec.
Sources say: “A superb team of tax experts that brings a truly global perspective to our international mandates.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice area leader Eric Davoudet recently led the team advising The Carlyle Group on its EUR485 million acquisition of the B&B hotel group from Eurazeo, including tax due diligence and tax structuring.
Alexandre Lagarrigue is applauded for his command of property-related tax matters and his private equity tax expertise.
THE FIRM This tax team advises on business tax, indirect taxation, business tax compliance, transaction tax, business tax services, human capital and tax accounting, and risk advisory work. It is also noted for its prowess in transfer pricing.
Sources say: “A large team that houses some great tax minds and is able to provide a uniformly reliable tax advisory service across the board.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Patrick Dibout has a robust tax practice and receives much praise from sources, who describe him as a “marvellous tax contact if you want someone who is as comfortable on litigious matters as on complex transactional work.”
Claire Acard has a sound knowledge of the finance world and often plays an active role on international tax mandates.
THE FIRM This leading global firm is notably strong on corporate and international tax matters. The team typically assists financial institutions including banks and investment funds, and also acts for French multinationals such as Yoplait and Danone. Sources highlight the firm's client-focused approach and impressive experience in tax planning issues in the aeronautical sector. Recent highlights include assisting Astrium with its EUR673 million takeover of Vizada from equity firm Apax Partners. This deal involved parties in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the USA, highlighting the firm's impressive cross-border capabilities.
Sources say: “A conscientious, common sense team and its members are relentless and driven.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources laud group head Cyril Valentin's client-focused approach, strong negotiation skills and commitment. He is described as “an excellent lawyer who is ahead of his game. He is straightforward and commercially minded.”
Antoine Colonna d'Istria is admitted to the Bar in France and New York, and stands out for his high-quality international work. He led the Astrium takeover and clients enthuse about his negotiation skills, saying “he has real savoir faire and is a pleasure to work with.”
THE FIRM This tax team is closely connected to the firm's corporate department, and regularly advises French and international insurance companies, financial institutions and corporates. Amongst its many highlights the team recently advised Activa Capital on its EUR190 million sale of Materne-Mont Blanc to LBO France.
Sources say: “We appreciate the lawyers' cross-departmental understanding as this results in seamless cohesive advice, even on complex, international mandates.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Xavier Renard's practice assists banks and investment funds on M&A transactions and clients applaud him as an “outstanding tax expert.”
Paris tax department chair Olivia Rauch-Ravisé specialises in the tax considerations involved in private equity and M&A deals.
Olivier Delattre focuses on advising high net worth individuals on investment and estate planning issues. Clients find him a “flexible, pragmatic, deal-driven adviser who is always up for a challenge.”
THE FIRM This six-member team maintains a significant presence in the French tax arena. It provides high-quality advice on a range of transactional matters, with recent mandates focusing on LBOs, corporate reorganisation, real estate acquisitions, IPOs and the issue of publicly traded securities. Its impressive client list includes leading national and international corporate and financial institutions.
Sources say: “Our team of choice for cross-border European work given its flexibility and ability to work with the firm's other departments.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Edouard Chapellier commands much respect from peers, who refer to him as a “sterling tax expert.” He recently led the team advising AXA Private Equity on its acquisition of Outremer Telecom.
Sources identify counsel Thomas Perrot as a well-known fixture on the French tax scene. He handled the reorganisation of Sagemcom and its sale by the Gores Group to The Carlyle Group.
THE FIRM This two-partner team covers acquisitions and divestitures, mergers, spin-offs, reorganisations and new financial products, and is often seen on multi-jurisdictional projects in this area. It recently advised PAI partners on the sale of its interests in Yoplait, valued at more than EUR1.6 billion. Further clients include ACTO, TOREADOR and Oaktree Capital Management.
Sources say: “A magnificent team.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Marie-Hélène Raffin is referred to as one of the country's most highly rated specialists on the tax considerations arising out of group restructurings.
Pierre Ullmann is recognised by interviewees for his wealth of experience in this practice area.
THE FIRM This four-member team has handled an impressive number of mandates from private equity investment funds of late, advising on the tax structuring of investments, investment packages and recapitalisations. Prominent clients include LBO France, Qualium Investissement, Patrimonium and Committed Advisors. On the tax litigation front, the lawyers advised several Spanish investment funds on claims against the French state relating to withholding tax on dividends distributed by French-listed corporates.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Catherine Charpentier's practice encompasses fund formation work with regards to real estate, debt and private equity funds.
THE FIRM This team frequently handles big-ticket mandates for banks, financial entities, investment funds and family interests, often participating on deals in the property and banking sectors. Sources also praise the team's litigation prowess, which extends to representing clients in negotiations with the tax authorities as well as defending them in court proceedings.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Interviewees hail Bernard Boutemy as a top-tier tax litigator with a strong client following.
Emmanuel Chauve is a real estate tax specialist, and works closely with real estate funds.
THE FIRM The lawyers in this tax group are active on transfer pricing, cross-border structuring and litigation, and each focuses on a different industry sector, such as luxury products, pharmaceuticals, real estate and financial operators. The team recently assisted Tamar European Industrial Fund with the EUR65 million refinancing of a portfolio of 27 industrial properties in France.
Sources say: “An outstanding tax outfit providing terrific support on cross-border projects.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Group head Sandra Hazan's “broad knowledge and international experience” make her a popular choice with clients, who appreciate her attentive approach.
THE FIRM This five-partner team earns positive market feedback for its client-centred service and high-quality advice. Recent mandates have focused on tax aspects of corporate restructuring, financial taxation, tax disputes, international tax issues, real estate taxation and personal estate tax.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients note that Olivier Dauchez is an “able tax lawyer who brings a global perspective to client deals.”
THE FIRM This six-member team is active on M&A transactions, project finance and international tax planning work, and works closely with the firm's capital markets, banking and finance and real estate practices. It recently advised Icade on the EUR100 million sale of a property company to GLL Fund. Other clients include ABP, The Blackstone Group, GE Real Estate and Rhodia.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Department co-head Vincent Agulhon's practice thrives on real estate transactions and recent times have seen him working on real estate fund structuring including vehicles such as SIICs and OPCIs.
THE FIRM Mayer Brown's four-partner tax team has solid transactional expertise, reflecting the firm's focus on the M&A and LBO markets. Key clients include Charterhouse, 17 Capital and Morgan Stanley. The firm also has a burgeoning fund formation practice, working with new private equity operators as well as more traditional players. The team recently advised The Carlyle Group on the acquisition of a majority stake in the Giannoni Group, a transaction valued at EUR475 million.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients note that Laurent Borey is a versatile tax practitioner who enjoys a well-earned reputation in the Paris market and has a masterful grasp of real estate tax issues.
Benjamin Homo is highlighted by clients as a “creative, calm technician who knows how to listen to his clients' needs.”
THE FIRM This compact team acts for industrial and real estate groups as well as banks and investment funds, in addition to other key names including Adeo, Decathlon and Facebook. The team is frequently involved in the firm's M&A mandates, and recently assisted Aareal AG Bank with the transformation of the French-affiliated company into a French branch operation by way of a cross-border merger involving the German parent company.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Anne-Sophie Kerfant enters the rankings following warm client feedback, highlighting her as a “talented tax expert who thinks creatively, gets to grips with complexities quickly and is a valuable asset on international projects.”
THE FIRM This tax team has a prominent global approach, as demonstrated by its work for US multinationals, UK corporates and French investment vehicles. The team has a broad practice and proven prowess on tax audits and litigation, advising on transfer pricing policies and tax planning.
Sources say: “The team of choice for listed companies.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Interviewees enthuse about Niels Dejean's “superb tax mind,” which has helped him to amass an impressive portfolio of work over the years.
THE FIRM This transaction-based team has been involved in an impressive number of buyout deals of late, most recently advising Lion Capital on the EUR1.6 billion acquisition of Picard Surgelés. The team is typically involved in mid-cap transactions, and advised Barclays Private Equity France on the tax aspects of the EUR190 million sale of Karavel/Promovacances to LBO France.
Sources say: “A commendable private equity client base makes for some prestigious tax work.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peers applaud Fanny Combourieu's professional attitude, pleasant working style and excellent client rapport.
Sylvie Vansteenkiste is an adept practitioner with notable fund formation expertise, and is hailed by sources as a “an all-round solid tax expert.”
THE FIRM A favourite with CAC 40 companies and financial entities, this team has participated in an impressive number of top-drawer mandates. Working in conjunction with the firm's London office, it recently advised Rio Tinto on the divestment of its Alcan Global Packaging business, a cross-border project that also involved the firm's US tax practice.
Sources say: “A dependable Parisian tax practice.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Gauthier Blanluet recently led the team advising EDF France on its USD2.1 billion tender offer for the shares of EDF Energies Nouvelles France that it did not already own. Blanluet continues to earn his reputation as a "brilliant tax lawyer.”
Jean-Pierre Le Gall is acknowledged by peers as having a vast wealth of experience in the tax arena. He occupies a senior position at the firm and continues to lend his tax knowledge to cases.
THE FIRM This tax team is renowned for assisting the firm's other departments on mandates relating to capital markets, executive compensations and employee benefits, fund formation, M&A and private equity. Clients include corporates, financial institutions, private equity funds and individuals.
Sources say: “This dynamic team does a good job of supporting the firm's M&A and banking colleagues.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peers endorse Stéphane Chaouat's expertise in private equity mandates, while clients applaud his skills as a "magnificent tax technician."
THE FIRM This multi-disciplinary tax team participates in M&A, corporate restructuring, real estate and private client work. Recent highlights include advising Merck on the legal and tax aspects of its restructuring following the acquisition of Serono France Holding. Other clients include Marriott, JPMorgan, Groupe du Louvre and Unimilk.
Sources say: “We keep coming back to this team because of its international reach and global contacts, which are invaluable on large cross-border projects.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources identify head of the Paris tax group Norbert Majerholc as a “remarkable expert who knows his stuff and is able to provide creative, precise advice. He also stands out for his commitment to his clients.
Partner Alexandre Ippolito earns recommendations for his work on both tax transactions and tax litigation.
THE FIRM This tax team attracts a leading role in several headline cross-border deals, advising French and international interests and private equity funds on a wide range of tax matters relating to M&A, capital markets and fund formation. The team often works with the London and New York offices, building on the firm's strong international connections. Recent highlights include advising Clayton, Dubilier & Rice on the international corporate reorganisation of two of its French investments.
KEY INDIVIDUALS The many accolades for Pierre-Pascal Bruneau mention the real value of his advice, notably on restructuring projects. He recently advised Alstom on the tax structuring of its disposal of Chantiers de l'Atlantique.
Peers refer to international counsel Eric Berengier's solid expertise and "no-nonsense approach" to client engagements.
THE FIRM This tax team is noted for its wide expertise, which ranges from corporate tax, VAT and indirect taxation to international fiscal issues and property-related tax. The firm is popular with local clients thanks to its extensive domestic network and is also adept in European tax law.
Sources say: “A wonderful tax outfit – a go-to team for transfer pricing work.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Paris-based Marc Crette offers his tax know-how primarily to clients from the property industry, who say he is “a prominent French property tax specialist.”
THE FIRM This compact team regularly acts on tax ruling requests and legislation drafting, reflecting its close connections with the national tax authorities. It is also noted for its growing experience in the real estate arena, having advised several real estate funds on the tax implications of their property ventures. Recent clients include Swiss Life, Universal Studios, CACEIS and Investcorp Bank BSC.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Group head Ariel Harroch has led the team on a number of high-profile tax mandates of late and counts several major investment funds in his client list.
THE FIRM Interviewees praise this group's expansive tax reach, which covers corporate tax, transfer pricing, indirect tax and individual tax matters. It typically acts for clients from the public sector as well as those in the telecoms, property and consumer industries.
Sources say: “This team has healthy compliance expertise and is able to offer responsive advice coupled with a remarkable breadth of experience.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS The main partner contact is Michel Combe.
THE FIRM This tax team focuses on corporate taxation and restructuring mandates. Building on the firm's global connections, the team is frequently active on the transactional front, working on cross-border M&A and private equity projects. It also advises on real estate matters, wealth management and benefits packages.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Allard de Waal commands widespread respect from peers in Paris, who say he has earned a weighty reputation on the French tax scene.
THE FIRM Building on the firm's alliance with audit firm KPMG, this team services major LBO funds including 3i and PAI partners. It recently advised The Carlyle Group on tax issues arising from its acquisitions of Metrologic and Sagemcom.
Sources say: “The team's link-up with KPMG makes it a first choice for specific domestic tax matters.”
KEY INDIVIDUALS Managing partner Hervé-Antoine Couderc focuses on asset and wealth taxation mandates, often advising capital investors and assisting with family concerns.
Clients applaud Hervé Israël
of Holman Fenwick Willan for his proactive style, calm approach and in-depth tax understanding.
Paris-based Henri Bardet
of Cabinet Bardet is respected for his private client work.
heads the Paris tax group at Herbert Smith and handles both transactional mandates and litigation work.
of SCP Benichou Rontchevsky focuses his tax advice on the corporate and restructuring areas in particular.
Yann de Kergos
of Scotto & Associés advises clients in the pharmaceuticals and IT industries, and excels in transfer pricing work.
At Stephenson Harwood, commentators praise Stéphane Salou
's “forthright style and knowledgeable contribution on asset financing deals.”
of TAJ is described as a “towering reference point on the Paris VAT scene.”
He heads the firm's VAT department and is an indirect tax specialist, focusing on both French and European issues surrounding this area.
Tax litigator Alain Frenkel
of Frenkel & Associés advises clients on tax audits, and represents them before the tax authorities and courts.
of Cabinet Turot continues to play a leading role in the tax litigation scene.
is managing partner of Wragge & Co. His reach extends to managing tax audit procedures and personal tax planning.
of Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP generates consistently positive feedback from his client base, many of which have followed him to Paris from New York, where he is qualified to practise. They describe him as a "truly international tax specialist who can be counted on to give solution-based advice."
Interviewees hail Philippe Derouin
of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates as “one of the best tax professionals in Paris, benefiting from superb academic knowledge and a potent technical grounding."
of Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP is well known for his real estate work and is described as “a creative, intelligent lawyer with a great international client portfolio.”
recently left Fairway to found Salmon-Legagneur & Associés. She is noted for her understanding of M&A and tax issues within the real estate sector.
of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP recently joined from STC Partners. He advises companies on tax structuring of transactions, and acts for individuals on equity holdings and transference.
Since publication, James Vaudoyer has left this practice.
Since publication, James Vaudoyer has joined Godet Gaillard Solle Maraux & Associés