France to lower threshold for squeeze-outs in takeover to 90 percent

FILE PHOTO - French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire waits for German Finance Minister and vice-chancellor Olaf Scholz before a meeting in Paris, France March 16, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) - France will lower the threshold for requiring minority shareholders to sell their shares in a company during a takeover to 90 percent of the target’s capital, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Wednesday.

Currently a company taking over a another firm has to acquire 95 percent of its shares and voting rights before its offer becomes obligatory for minority shareholders.

The lower squeeze-out threshold would bring France more in line with other European countries. It is one among a series of measures in a new wide-ranging corporate law being drafted that aims in part at making it easier for companies to raise capital.

With initial public offerings down by nearly half over the last decade, the government also wants to make it easier for small and mid-sized companies to sell shares on equities market.

The law, which is due to go to parliament in early May, would allow companies with annual revenues of less than eight million euros to file simplified IPO documentation rather than a full-blown prospectus.

Reporting by Yann Le Guernigou; writing by Leigh Thomas