Quartz Partners is Financial Advisor in M&A and Private Placement under French law (CIF), member of ACIFTE, under the control of AMF (Autorité des Marchés Financiers) – ORIAS n°16001544.
Quartz Partners specializes in transaction services (Sell and Buy mandates) and raising funds on the « mid cap » market. Our clients include Corporate groups, financial institutions, SME's as well as Private Equity players.
In a competitive business environment, Quartz Partners provides financial expertise and an extensive experience of both entrepreneurship, Corporate groups and peculiarities of SME's.
We work in a tailor-made relationship with our clients and provide “hands on” Corporate Finance advice to « small cap » businesses, with a specific expertise in the following sectors :
- IT & Digital companies,
- Renewable energy,
- Food & Beverages,
- Specialized industries,
- Building industry & materials.
The team brings a 40 year collective year experience working in and advising industries and service companies, at crossroads between the spheres of finance and entrepreneurship.
Our clients are Corporate groups, Private Equity funds and SMEs.
•International Corporates seeking the spin off of « non-core » business units and/or subsidiaries,
• Owner/managers of independent SMEs, in their transmission process and financial restructuring,
• Investment funds seeking exit or refunding of invested companies.
We assist our clients in their search of selected acquisition targets to reinforce market shares, technical expertise and/or specific know how, be it in France or abroad, Corporate groups or SMEs backed up by Private Equity funds or companies in a very strong development phase. We also assist our clients in their acquisitions of distressed companies in « receivership », be it for the takeover of assets or restructuring plans (analysis of faisability, negotiation with creditors, writing of bid offers in compliance with French Law).
In all occurences, we may help identify selected acquisition targets, write Information Memorandums, contact selected prospects with all the necessary confidentiality, assist our clients in the negociations and, should the need occur, we coordinate the « data room » process and follow the negociation until closing date.
We take advantage of our network in the Private Equity sector in France, to assist business owners/managers willing to restructure or organize LBO/LBI transactions as well as businesses seeking a new development stage (growth capital) or start-up companies in various sectors (venture capital/business angels). We help entrepreneurs looking for:
- Equity funding,
- Mezzanine or syndications,
- Financial turnaround,
- Seed capital.
We help providing liquidity solutions for institutional investors seeking their way out of PE funds before their normal refund period (secondary transactions), We take advantage of our good European network and therefore we may assist GPs in their fund raising process (Equity placement) out of their national network of contacts, We advise also special situations (complicated sales where we bring customized solutions, « tail end situations » etc..), External growth and build up strategies.
Our mandates make us the natural counterparts of Private Equity funds and institutional investors in Europe : beyond its core activity in the M&A business, QUARTZ PARTNERS is willing to be a « one stop shop » for PE players.
Quartz Partners is a member of the ACS network, an international alliance of M&A consultants in Europe and out of Europe, specializing in mid-market cross-border transactions. ACS provides a key support in the origination and negotiation with strategic business counterparts and, as its French member, our firm will assist foreign businesses, either seeking strategic acquisitions, or willing to restructure their subsidiaries or to have a “fast track” contact to French Corporate Groups.
Quartz’s co-founders also bring an extensive international background, with a solid business network among institutional investors or entrepreneurs in Europe.
Brexit has thrown a spanner into the works regarding European dealmaking — but are there reasons to be cheerful? The New York Times ‘ Deal Professor, Steven Davidoff Solomon, thinks so. Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill proposed at the end of World War II that there must be built “a kind of United States of Europe”. Alas, the grand 20th century European integration project that is the European Union (EU) has at a minimum hit a speed bump, and is certainly on pause. In turn, this has had a knock-on effect for M&A and investment. Takeovers thrive on confidence. When CEOs are enthusiastic about the economic and regulatory environment, deals abound. Volatility and uncertainty are their enemy, as CEOs prefer to seek the safety of the sidelines during such times, instead focusing on their core businesses. Brexit spells a particular form of disruption as the uncertainty of its actual form and timing preoccupy the executive suite. There is a real possibility that Brexit – particularly with messages being sent from Brexit has thrown a spanner into the works regarding European dealmaking — but are there reasons to be cheerful? The New York Times ‘ Deal Professor, Steven Davidoff Solomon, thinks so the governing Conservative Party‘s 2016 Conference – will mean Britain setting limits on immigration and trade with the continent. But there is still the alternative possibility that Brexit will be a blip, fizzling out as the United Kingdom faces up to reality without the EU. There are other middle-of-the-road possibilities. In light of the different Brexit paths and the different impacts each one might have, who can blame executives for taking pause as reality justifies pessimism? Roaring back Churchill also said, however, that “A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty”. This is doubly apt when considering both the difficulties surrounding Brexit as well as the strife across Europe generally, creating room for investments. In a zero interest rate world, the hunger for acquisitions is likely to still be in plentiful supply as companies search for ways to increase growth and returns. Private equity firms with large stores of dry powder continue to look for elusive bargains in the turmoil, for example. These buyout houses specialise in taking risk, and so will supplant corporate CEOs who are adopting more of a “wait and see” approach. It will not just be private equity. As Chinese acquirers seek outside acquisitions to hedge a renminbi devaluation, there will continue to be robust support for takeovers. Americans will also seek to establish greater beachheads as they too flee a low interest rate environment. The result is likely to be a steady undercurrent of takeovers despite the measured gloom. Consolidation consolation We are also in a world of oligopoly, as industries consolidate into a smaller number of dominant companies. Nowhere is this reflected more than in technology acquisitions – now a fact of corporate life – as firms seek to build out and grow their own technology. Brexit could create opportunities for technology companies to sidestep an increasingly active competition authority, focusing efforts on a perhaps more relaxed Britain. The near-term uncertainty also highlights hedging activity for what may come. Even a “Brexit-lite“ will likely mean some limitations on the flow of people and goods, but also shifts and reallocation of business towards the continent and Ireland. There will no doubt be many opportunities for takeovers that take advantage of such shifts. And it will perhaps mean a longer-term downturn for the UK as business does shift outward. However, this is unknowable, and while it may be conventional wisdom it is hard to see London – with its huge advantages of language, infrastructure and diversity – going down without a fight. Brighter horizons All is not lost even for the pessimists. As the longer-term uncertainty fades, takeovers will return. M&A is cyclical, but even today the low peaks mean sustained activity in the trillions per year. The takeover business is also adaptable. If and when Brexit is negotiated, it will set new rules. Dealmakers will then know how to work around and within those boundaries. Adapting to new environments and working around set rules is nothing that business people and their advisers haven’t dealt with before. In the meantime, Brexit is a worldchanging event that deserves sobriety and tempered assessment of everything, let alone takeovers. However, the real question will be whether this sentiment holds as Brexit takes shape and form.
Dealmakers have warned that uncertainty over Europe and fears of a Donald Trump presidency in the US are set to further slow merger and acquisition activity, after global deal volumes in the first half of the year fell 23 per cent. Britain’s vote to leave the EU has raised concerns of an “exit contagion” spreading across the remaining bloc of 27 countries, which bankers and lawyers believe will dissuade chief executives from embarking on big deals. “M&A is very much confidence driven,” said Gary Posternack, global head of M&A at Barclays. “There have been a number of factors weighing on CEOs and boards in the current market: the regulatory environment, interest rate risk, the US elections and of course, most recently, Brexit.” Advisers said their clients had pressed the pause button on many planned deals, as they focus on managing foreign exchange risks, following the pound’s sharp fall against the dollar and other major currencies. Many believe Deutsche Börse’s proposed merger with the London Stock Exchange could become the biggest deal to collapse after the Brexit vote, despite fresh assurances from the German group. Backers of the $30bn deal now worry it will be blocked by German authorities opposed to the combined entity being based in London. “Things will remain volatile unless Europe finds its way through the constant geopolitical problems,” said Wilhelm Schulz, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa M&A at Citigroup. Bankers warned that the victory of the Leave camp in Britain was likely to galvanise like-minded supporters of Mr Trump, creating political uncertainty and deterring dealmaking. M&A volumes in Britain collapsed by more than 70 per cent ahead of the Brexit vote, according to Thomson Reuters, while in Europe and the US they fell 18 and 27 per cent, respectively. Corporate analysis China’s megadeals fail to offset slowdown M&A activity falls in US and Europe amid political instability “The Brexit vote has brought into sharp focus the rise of global populis ” said Paul Stefanick, head of Americas corporate and investment banking at Deutsche Bank. A record $525bn worth of deals failed to complete because of regulatory hurdles and changes in valuations or in tax rules — including Pfizer’s $160bn acquisition of Allergan. China proved the only bright spot, raising its outbound deal activity in the year to date above its total for the whole of 2015, and some bankers said Chinese companies might now view Brexit as an opportunity to buy in Europe. “Clearly the dip in the pound can provide buying opportunities in the UK . . . but whoever looks at a UK target will have to consider the overall macroeconomic environment,” said one London-based M&A executive. Rick van Aerssen, global head of corporate and M&A at Freshfields, said European deals were also appealing on regulatory grounds. “For Chinese buyers, European targets are increasingly perceived to be more attractive than US ones due to the fact that there is nothing as unpredictable as CFIUS [the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US], along with the growing political uncertainty in the US,” he said. Mark Shafir, co-head of global M&A at Citi, said M&A had held up more than most would have expected: “We need to keep in mind that we came from a record year in 2015.”
Based on GDP and population size, France has great potential for the expansion of many companies in international business. The French economy accounts for $2.73 trillion in GDP, ranking 5th in the world and 2nd in Europe, behind Germany and ahead of the United Kingdom. With over 66 million people, France ranks 21st in the world and 2nd in Europe, again behind Germany and ahead of the United Kingdom, according to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) World Factbook. The Invest in France Agency (IFA) states that “Many surveys on France’s investment attractiveness give the country high marks for its excellent communication and transport infrastructures, education and training provisions, skilled workforce, industrial base, and quality of life.” However, is the ease of doing business in France equal to the opportunities that the country provides? In what ways is opening up a branch or new market in the country different from business as usual in the United States, and how can these differences be measured? There are several ways to highlight the unique properties of this European crossroads, and challenges that must be addressed before venturing into the French market. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), France has the fourth-highest cumulative stock of inward foreign direct investment (FDI) in the world, after the United States, China, and the United Kingdom. In addition, favorable indicators of attractiveness compared to other European countries include: #1 in proportion of foreign students enrolled in advanced research programs in 2012 #1 in foreign industrial investment projects in Europe in 2012 #1 in tax incentives for business enterprise R&D in 2011 #1 in market share of investment funds in European industry in 2012 #1 in electricity rates (€/kWh) in 2013 #2 in foreign investment projects in Europe in 2012 (behind the United Kingdom) #2 in trademark applications filed in 2012 (leading countries are Austria and France) #2 in leading passenger airports in the EU-27 in 2013 (behind London Heathrow) #3 in goods transported by rail in 2013 (leading countries are Germany and Poland) #3 in access to EU-27 markets in 2013 (leading countries are Belgium and the Netherlands) So, France is adept at providing an educated and multicultural workforce. The government provides favorable tax incentives and a stable political climate for R&D, attracting a large amount of international investment in industry and banking. The country is innovative and located near the geographical center of the European Union, providing excellent transportation for goods and people. However, how do France’s opportunities rank compared to the business climate in the United Sates? The Ease of Doing Business ranking from the World Bank claims that the United States is better at overall ease of doing business, dealing with construction permits, registering property, getting credit, paying taxes, and resolving insolvency. In comparison, France is better at starting a business, getting electricity, protecting minority investors, trading across borders, and enforcing contracts. In France, there is total tax rate of 66.6 percent on profit, compared to 45.8 percent in the United States. It also takes twice as long and costs about five times more to obtain construction permits in France than in the United States. On the other side, it costs almost half the amount to enforce contracts, with a little less time and red tape, in France than in the United States. According to the Venture Capital & Private Equity Country Attractiveness Index from the IESE business school in Barcelona, Spain, the United States has the maximum score of 100, and France has a score of 80.9 (20th worldwide). The United States is ahead in 5 out of 6 categories: economic activity, capital market, taxation, investor protection and corporate governance, and human and social environment. Surprisingly, France is ahead on taxation for entrepreneur tax incentives and administrative burden. However, there are challenging labor regulations that increase the bottom line of companies operating in France. The labor tax contribution as a percentage of corporate profit in France is 51.7 percent, compared to only 9.8 percent in the United States. Also, once an employee is officially hired, it is extremely difficult to fire him or her because there is no “employment at will,” as is usually the case in the United States. There are three subcategories where France is in the top ten in the IESE Index: M&A activity, journal articles submissions, and R&D. The BAIRD Co. reports that “For the LTM 2014 period, the United States (US) was the most common M&A partner to France, followed by the UK and Germany. U.S. targets accounted for 18% of outbound deal count and U.S. acquirers accounted for 27% of inbound deal count. Industrial, information technology (IT), consumer and business services have been the most active M&A sectors, accounting for the majority of French cross-border deal count.” This fact set also confirms high levels of activity in the UK, France, and Germany. Innovation is key to economic growth, and France is in the top ten in the world for scientific and technical journal articles authorship and corporate R&D. In summary, France has great potential. Local agencies, such as Invest in France, “promote R&D and innovation by consolidating France’s innovation clusters and research tax credit, reducing labor costs through the competitiveness and employment tax credit, making it easier for companies to access effective and tailored funding, and introducing greater flexibility into the labor market.” While difficult labor regulations and high taxation of businesses increase the costs of doing business in France, the sheer market size, various tax credits, and an environment conducive to research and innovation make the leap worthwhile.
Herve is active in Corporate Finance since 2000, serving French and European businesses, concluding deals in diversified business sectors. He joined CMW International before co-founding Quartz Partners in 2007. Herve started his career at CCF (now part of HSBC) and then completed a successful LBO in the Fintech sector (1999).
He is a graduate in Business Administration (IEP Paris).
Jean-Marc brings a 16 year experience in transaction services, with numerous deals : sell side, buy side and fund raising. Before co-founding Quartz Partners, he held several management positions as CFO for Corporates in Germany, Spain and France.
He is a graduate in Business administration (ICN)
Buy, sell, fund raising, start ups
Transactions realized previously by team members :
Callander Fund, a Luxemburg based asset management Company was sold to MC SQUARE, a holding dedicated to Asset Management services.
Quartz Partners advised the shareholders of Callander Fund
Marcel & Fils, a French retail group active in the organic products sector acquires Bio Market
Quartz Partners acted as exclusive advisor to Marcel & Fils
La Pierre de France, a French company dedicated to trading of buidling materials
Quartz Partners advised the shareholders of La Pierre de France
Green Office, a French company dedicated to green accessories for professionals acquired NATPRO
Quartz Partners advised the shareholders of Green Office
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