Firm Clears Path for 1.2B Euro Loan in French IT Firm Merger


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Hughes Hubbard advised French computer-service provider Sopra Group in a 1.2 billion euro multicurrency term and revolving facilities agreement in connection with its merger with French rival Groupe Steria.
 
In July 2014, Sopra Group launched a friendly tender offer for all of Steria's shares. By the end of the offering period, 79.6 percent of Steria's shares were tendered to Sopra to create a new European leader in digital services.
 
"This success will enable us to accelerate the collaboration between our two companies so as to present, in the near future, our organizational plan for the new combined entity, Sopra Steria Group," said Sopra Chairman Pierre Pasquier.
 
The new group will use the proceeds to refinance existing loans and finance general corporate and working capital. The transaction closed on July 31. The bookrunners and mandated lead arrangers included Barclays Bank PLC, BNP Paribas, HSBC France and Société Générale.
 
The two rivals announced their plan to merge in April. When the merger is completed by the end of the year, the new group will be the third-biggest French player in its home market with a combined revenue of 3.1 billion euros and operations in 24 countries with more than 35,000 professionals at the service of major international clients.
 
Sena Agbayissah and Agnes Braka-Calas worked on this matter.