M: Communications is advising on the £48bn merger with rival utilities firm Suez, which will make the company the largest in its sector in Europe. The deal also sees Gaz de France director of comms Raphaele Rabatel take over the role of head of group comms for the merged firm – now called GDF Suez.
M: looks set to retain a role for the merged utility giant.
M: first worked with Gaz de France in 2005 when it advised on the company’s partial IPO. The current deal, in which French President Nicolas Sarkozy was heavily involved, makes GDF Suez the second-largest electricity producer in Europe, behind EDF.
Before Sarkozy’s intervention, the two parties had been talking for 18 months. The French government retains a 35.6 per cent stake in the merged company.
Both Suez and other stakeholders in the deal used internal resources. The London-based M: team is led by M: consultant Louise Tingström.
The deal will mean France is home to two of Europe’s top five energy groups (EDF is also based in France). In terms of sales, GDF Suez is ahead of E.ON, RWE and EDF.