French Insider Podcast Episode 6: How European State Aid Impacts French Subsidiaries of U.S. Companies with Jacques Derenne


For subsidiaries of U.S. companies looking to establish and/or grow their presence in an EU Member State and are perhaps seeking financial assistance from one of the Member States, it’s important to be aware of the European Union’s regulation of State aid. What is State aid and how does it impact U.S. companies with subsidiaries in the European Union, including France? We’re discussing the latest updates to EU State aid and discussing these controls vis-à-vis COVID-19. 

Joining the podcast is Jacques Derenne, the Co-Leader of Sheppard Mullin’s Antitrust and Competition Group and the head of the EU Competition & Regulatory practice at Sheppard Mullin’s Brussels office. He is a member of the Brussels and Paris bars. He is also a Professor at the University of Liège and at the Brussels School of Competition.

The co-hosts for this episode are Valérie Demont and Sarah Ben-Moussa.

Valérie Demont is a partner in the Corporate Practice Group in Sheppard Mullin’s New York Office and the Co-Chair of Sheppard Mullin’s French Desk. Valérie focuses her practice primarily on U.S. and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and securities offerings and corporate governance matters. She has been involved in numerous mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and dispositions for corporations and private equity funds in the U.S., Europe and Asia (including India). In particular, she routinely advises foreign companies with the establishment and growth of their operations in the United States.

Sarah Ben-Moussa is an associate in the Corporate Practice Group in Sheppard Mullin’s New York office and is a member of the firm’s Energy, Infrastructure and Project Finance team. Sarah focuses her practice on domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, financings and corporate governance matters. As a member of the firm’s French Desk, she has advised companies and private equity funds in both the United States and Europe on mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, financings, complex commercial agreements, and general corporate matters.

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What We Discussed in This Episode

  • What is European Union (EU) State aid and why does it exist?
  • What are the cumulative criteria that must exist to justify the existence of a State aid?
  • What is the process of seeking State aid approval from the European Commission?
  • Can a U.S. company with a foreign subsidiary benefit from State aid?
  • If a French business wanted to set up a company in the U.S., can they apply and receive assistance from the French government? If so, how?
  • Is any COVID-19 financial assistance to companies considered State aid?
  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, what guidelines did the European Commission provide regarding the issuance of State aid?
  • How are block exemption regulations allowing companies to avoid the State aid prior notification requirement?
  • What can companies learn from State aid-related litigation in the airline industry?
  • How the proposed EU regulation on the control of foreign subsidies is likely to impact non-EU companies, such as U.S. companies, investing in the EU?

Resources Mentioned:

The European Commission Adopts a Proposal for a Regulation on Foreign Subsidies Distorting the Internal Market, by Jacques Derenne 

Contact Information

Jacques Derenne's attorney profile 

Sheppard Mullin French Desk Website

Co-Chair - Valérie Demont 

Co-Chair - Christine Hoefliger Hourcade 

Sarah Ben-Moussa's attorney profile 

Thank you for listening!




Sheppard Mullin French Desk website

This podcast is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not to be construed as legal advice specific to your circumstances. If you need help with any legal matter, be sure to consult with an attorney regarding your specific needs.

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