With less than two weeks of submission of the firm offers for the acquisition of Equans, Bain Capital has found a key asset.
Determined to take control of this group of energy services (12.5 billion in turnover, 74,000 employees worldwide, including 26,000 in France) put up for sale by Engie, the American investment fund is acquiring with a "French touch".
The Fimalac company, founded and managed by Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, will indeed join forces with Bain Capital.
The information, revealed by lesechos.fr, has been confirmed by the investment fund.
Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière supports Rallye
The arrival of Fimalac could weaken a key argument brandished by the other two candidates for the acquisition of Equans: Bouygues and Eiffage.
These industrialists waved their blue-white-red flag to stand out from the star-spangled banner of the Bain Capital investment fund.
The latter is now supported by Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière, a figure of the Parisian establishment.
Bain will remain the controlling shareholder of Equans if it wins the auction.
But he will not have more than 78% of the capital.
Fimalac will have 20%.
The sale of Equans by Engie turns into a rat race
The price mentioned by observers for Equans is between 5 and 6 billion euros.
Fimalac's investment - around 1 to 1.2 billion euros - is significant.
It is possible that Engie will retain a 20% interest in Equans.
Bain also proposes to leave room for Bpifrance (5% to 10% of the capital) if the armed wing of the State so wishes.
Finally, employees will quickly have 2% of the capital, before rising to 5% within five to six years.
Some observers doubted Bain's motivation, especially since all the other investment funds (Carlyle, Apollo, CVC or PAI) that studied the case threw in the towel.
But the ability of the American to adapt its offer, in particular its flexibility regarding the share of Equans capital that it could hold, shows that its interest in the file is not feigned.