Antoine Frérot, the boss of Veolia.
ISA HARSIN / SIPA
After several months of financial, media and legal battle between Veolia and Suez, these two French groups present in water and waste announced on Monday that they had reached an agreement for a merger.
While Veolia initially offered 18 euros per share, an amount deemed insufficient by its rival who demanded 22.50 euros per share, the two companies finally agreed on a price of 20.50 euros, which values the whole of Suez. to around 13 billion euros.
"Global champion of ecological transformation"
This merger should allow the constitution of a "world champion of ecological transformation" in an increasingly supported and competitive market, with turnover of around 37 billion euros, according to a statement from Veolia.
At the same time, a “new Suez” must be set up, owned by a group of mainly French shareholders comprising financial partners from both groups and employees.
Its scope will integrate Suez's current activities in municipal water and solid waste in France, as well as other activities of the company "particularly in water" and in several geographical areas including Italy, Africa. , India, China and Australia.
The two French flagships have been clashing since last year, especially since the acquisition by Veolia in October of 29.9% of Suez from Engie before launching a takeover bid on the rest of the shares.
For seven months, they have multiplied legal action, invective through the press, pressure blows and warning signs.
Interventions by Bruno Le Maire
At the same time, everyone regularly showed their willingness to reach out to their rival, but on their own terms, giving the impression of a dialogue of the deaf.
The affair had also taken a political turn, the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, intervening on several occasions, and again at the end of March, to estimate that an agreement remained “possible” between the two rivals.
The tension had risen a further notch when Suez had announced last week to have signed an agreement to sell to the Australian Cleanaway its activity "recycling and recovery" in this country, which Veolia considered as "strategic".
The agreement announced Monday also provides for the deactivation of the Dutch foundation planned by Suez, created to oversee its Eau France assets and prevent their sale.
Veolia had again asked him to give it up at the beginning of April.
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