François Barrière

French Counsel, Corporate
François Barrière has experience in regulatory and corporate matters, including cross-border, and capital markets transactions.


Prior to joining Skadden, he practiced law in the Paris office of another leading international law firm.

Mr. Barrière's representative M&A experience includes the following:

  • Criteo in its discussions with activist investor Petrus Advisers, which resulted in the nomination of an additional independent director to Criteo’s board
  • Air France-KLM in connection with corporate and governance matters relating to the €4 billion recapitalization measures approved by the European Commission in April 2021
  • Mercedes-Benz in its investment in European battery cell manufacturer Automotive Cells Company alongside founding joint venture partners Stellantis and TotalEnergies
  • Willis Towers Watson plc in its proposed (but withdrawn) $80 billion combination with Aon plc, and in its pending sale of Willis Re to Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. for $4 billion
  • Silver Lake in its acquisition of Silae from its founders for €570 million
  • Renault, a French multinational automobile manufacturer, in connection with its:
    • agreements with Nissan regarding the rebalanced cross-shareholding between the two companies (including the transfer by Renault of 28.4% of Nissan shares into a French trust)
    • proposed (but withdrawn) €32.6 billion 50/50 merger transaction with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
  • Dassault Systèmes in its US$5.8 billion acquisition of Medidata Solutions, Inc.
  • SCOR in the:
    • acquisition of 5.01% of its own shares from Covéa for €252 million upon the partial exercise of the call option granted by Covéa in 2021, and the subsequent sale of these shares to BNP Paribas Cardif
    • successful defense against a €8.3 billion unsolicited takeover proposal from Covéa, and later, in connection with the settlement of its dispute with Covéa
    • defense against claims made by the activist fund CIAM
  • Westfield Corporation, an Australian shopping centre group, in connection with its proposed combination with — through a US$24.7 billion acquisition by — the French listed company Unibail-Rodamco SE, Europe’s largest listed commercial property company. This transaction necessitated a stapled security structure, including the shares of an already listed French company (which was a first under French law), and of a Dutch company to be created
  • Nokia in connection with its public buyout offer of Alcatel-Lucent
  • a private equity fund in connection with the sale of its majority stake in a leading global provider including French entities

Transactions in which he has acted prior to joining Skadden, either as counsel to acquirers, targets, selling shareholders or financial advisors, include:

  • Sompo Japan Nipponkoa in its investment in SCOR
  • Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in its acquisition by Merck for $3.85 billion
  • CGI Group Holdings Europe Limited in its £1.7 billion all-cash offer for Logica plc
  • Axa in connection with Axa Re’s reorganization
  • EDF in its tender offer for the shares of EDF Energies Nouvelles
  • Metrovacesa in connection with its acquisition of Gecina
  • Alcan in its $6 billion acquisition of Pechiney
  • Aventis in its defense against a hostile takeover bid from, and its subsequent acquisition by, Sanofi-Synthélabo for €59 billion
  • France Télécom in its €3.3 billion sale of PagesJaunes to KKR; and in its tender offer for Wanadoo for €3.9 billion
  • Thomson in connection with the acquisition by Silver Lake Partners of a $500 million interest in Thomson
  • Sidel in connection with Tetra Laval’s bid and subsequent acquisition
  • Microsoft in its investment in Thomson Multimedia’s capital
  • Société Générale in its proposed merger with Paribas S.A. and its defense against a hostile takeover bid from BNP
  • Elf Aquitaine in its defense against a hostile takeover bid from, and its subsequent acquisition by, Total Fina
  • CreditSuez in connection with certain divestitures
  • Yves Rocher in connection with its acquisition of Stanhome
  • Adia in its merger with Ecco to create Adecco
  • Callebaut in its acquisition of CacaoBarry
  • Iveco in connection with its combination with Fraikin
  • Adidas in its acquisition of Salomon
  • SITA in its acquisition of the non-U.S. assets of Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI)
  • The Puig Group (Paco Rabanne) in its acquisition of Nina Ricci
  • Holdiam and its shareholders in connection with their acquisition by Kohler Europe
  • Goldman Sachs in its acquisition of Allflex

Mr. Barrière also has been involved in a number of capital market transactions prior to joining Skadden, including IPOs and other equity offerings (including privatizations, rights offerings and block sales) and debt offerings (including high-yield offerings), acting either as issuer, selling shareholders or underwriters’ counsel. Such transactions include offerings of securities issued by Axa, Alcatel Lucent, EDF, Total, Ellis, Suez Environnement, ANP, Paris Re, Société Générale, Eutelsat, PagesJaunes, Sanef, France Telecom, Thomson, Vivendi Environnement, Vivendi Universal, Wavecom, Ecia, Danone, JCDecaux and Alcatel.

In addition, Mr. Barrière has significant experience in banking and finance transactions under French law. Prior to joining Skadden he was involved, among others, in the financing related to:

  • APG Asset Management N.V., Arcus Infrastructure Partners LLP, Brookfield Infrastructure Group and Public Sector Pension Investment Board in connection with the acquisition of TDF
  • Alcatel Lucent in connection with certain refinancings
  • Goldman Sachs in connection with the refinancing of Eurotunnel’s restructuring
  • Four Seasons in connection with certain refinancings
  • Metrovacesa in connection with the financing of the acquisition of the French real estate company, Gecina
  • NXP in connection with certain refinancings

Mr. Barrière also advises clients with respect to litigation matters, particularly in French M&A, financial and regulatory matters. 

He has extensive knowledge of fiducie and trust matters.

Mr. Barrière lectures extensively and is a frequent speaker at symposiums both in France and abroad. He has published a wide range of publications, both in France and abroad.

Mr. Barrière is a member of the scientific committee of the Association Européenne pour le droit bancaire et financier and of the Association Française des Fiduciaires. He serves on the banking and financial committee of the AfricaFrance Foundation, is an elected member of the International Academy of Estate & Trust and also is a member of the IFA – Institut Français des Administrateurs. He also is involved in pro bono matters and is the former chairman — and current director — of Alliance des Avocats pour les Droits de l’Homme.

In recognition of articles he authored, Mr. Barrière has received the Legal and Business Features award from Business and Legal Forum in 2023, 2022, 2019 and 2017. He is recognized as a notable practitioner by IFLR1000 and clients in The Legal 500 have noted Mr. Barrière as an “excellent professional in M&A” with a “strong ability to offer innovative and sophisticated solutions in the structur­ing of operations.”

For a complete list of Mr. Barrière's lectures and publications, click here.



  • Certification as a Senior Professor of Law, Conseil National des Universités, 2015
  • Accreditation to Supervise Research, Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II), 2012
  • Ph.D. in Law, Université Panthéon-Assas (Paris II), 2001


  • Paris


  • Member, Scientific Committee of the Association Européenne pour le droit bancaire et financier
  • Member, Banking and Financial Committee of the AfricaFrance Foundation
  • Member, Scientific Committee of the Association Française des Fiduciaires
  • Elected Member, International Academy of Estate & Trust
  • Member, IFA – Institut Français des Administrateurs

François Barrière