Advisors support French state with purchase of Nokia’s subsea division

28 June 2024 Consultancy.eu 2 min. read

The French government has acquired the submarine cable unit of Nokia for an enterprise value of €350 million, with advisors supporting the landmark deal at both sides of the table.

The Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN) business has been part of Nokia since 2015, when Nokia acquired Alcatel-Lucent in a €15.6 billion deal. The division has to date installed more than 750,000 km of optical submarine cable worldwide.

As part of the deal with the French government, represented by the Agence des Participations de l’Etat (APE), Nokia will initially retain a 20% stake in ASN with board representation ahead of a targeted exit, at which point the French State would acquire Nokia’s remaining interest.

Advisors support French state with purchase of Nokia’s subsea division

Bruno Le Maire, French Minister of Economy, said the deal is a milestone for France’s sovereignty and competitiveness in the digital economy. “We are thrilled to acquire an 80% stake in ASN. The company is one of the world leaders in the submarine cable market, and the only company of its kind in Europe.”

He added that under the ownership of the state’s holding agency APE, the French State will “secure the future of a strong French and European player in a globally competitive market.”

Nokia meanwhile said that by divesting a unit it considers as non-core, the company can focus on “growth opportunities in its core markets” and “further improve the profitability” of the group.

Alain Biston, President and CEO of ASN, said that the French State proved the most relevant custodian of ASN coming out of the bidding process. “The French State, as a stable owner with a long-term interest in the operation and maintenance of critical infrastructure, will ensure continuity for ASN customers, employees, and partners.”

Dealmakers

The deal was orchestrated and supported by a cohort of investment bankers and consultants, with APE receiving guidance from Eight Advisory and PMP Strategy, among others, and seller Nokia working in tandem with BNP Paribas, Skadden and Relians.

Eight Advisory provided strategic counsel and played a large role in planning for the complex carve-out out of Nokia into a separate entity. The engagement was led by Jean Guillou, according to reporting from Consultor.

PMP Strategy provided M&A advisory expertise and transaction support, led by its Infrastructure practice in a team comprising Frédéric Jover and two other consultants.