Antoine Ferrot, the winner of the bitter battle of Volia on behalf of Suez

A few days after Volia finally sealed a deal to buy arch rival Suez, Antoine Ferrot felt comfortable enough to describe himself in Machiavellian language.

Machiavelli said that whoever wants the outcome takes the path. . . I am as rational as Machiavelli, ”Violia boss told the Financial Times.

Excluding the comments, however, Freud Suez and more widely in Paris rejected suggestions that he was too aggressive in fighting for his company’s water and waste rivals.

“There was no question of morality in what happened. There were only two mismatched motives, ”he said. “Faced with confusion … I’m straight back to what I said with firmness, not violence.

The battle ended in a very Parisian way: at the top-end Bristol Hotel after serving room in the room of a three-star chef.

Across the ferret table were Philippe Varin, the Suez chair, and the veteran politician. Beside them was a board member from each side, a court-appointed observer and former Suez boss Gerdard Mastrallet, who called for mediation.

The French state, which had already failed to end the war and was not present, was not present. According to people familiar with the matter, Bertrand Camas, the chief executive of Freud Suez, insisted on not staying in the room.

The two CEOs have only spoken since October, when Volia bought 29.9 percent of Suez from French power group NG and promised to remove the rest. Suez fought again, fighting hard to keep the campus independent.

Despite promises to persuade the Suez Board, a hostile bid was eventually launched In February And Veolia strained his goal. Board members were threatened with criminal charges. And only one deal was announced this week due to increasing pressure from both sides.

Long Sunday, at the end of a long discussion, Suez agrees to buy by Veolia, Which raised its price from 18 18 to 20 20.50 per share. Volia said they would resell part of the Suez, an asset that had been sold in the past to create smaller competitors to get competition regulators, including facing legal threats. Shareholders on both sides are happy.

Freurot told FT that the price they were willing to pay was “very close to the ceiling”. He further added that the new Suez regime was critical because it would “blame me if it disintegrates in a few years”, and stressed the need to limit management pay to new Suez and lockups before the sale of assets. .

Varin and Ferrot decided to split 70 percent of the new Suez’s capital into private equity groups allied with both sides. Ardian, who was allied with Suez and wants control of the new group, is not happy, say people informed about the matter.

For 62-year-old Ferret, the deal, which has been on his mind for years, has the potential to create a “champion of environmental conditions” by combining the world’s two largest water and waste groups.

Suez and Veolia, each with a long history, came close in 2012 when Suez tried to snatch Violia for three years during Freud’s tenure.

Coming out of the financial crisis, Freurot had to reduce debt and change tactics, and gain the enmity of Henry Proglio, who hired him. The lessons he learned while tackling the challenges of the boardroom have been put to good use.

“When big changes come. . . You have 20 percent of people who agree and want to go for it, 20 percent of people who are against it and want to slow you down. And win0 percent is waiting to see who wins, ”he said. “So unfortunately, the required 20 percent brakes need to be released and convince 0 people.”

If the barriers to competition are cleared, Freirot will lead a team with a revenue of 37bn from his office in the northern suburbs of Paris. It’s a long way off when her father, a native doctor, “gambles” while sending 15-year-old Ferrott to school in the famous Lacy Louis-le-Grande in Paris.

From there he followed a well-organized path of the French elite through an engineering college called the Ekle Polytechnic in France, which churned out top executives.

Divorced and the father of three daughters, Freut now lives on the rich 3rd shore but stands a little out of the Paris set.

A private man, he resists sharing too much in the office, not wanting his decisions to be influenced by personal reasons. That means, according to a former colleague, he has depth that most can’t see.

A student of philosophy and sociology, he re-read the biography of Claude Lavi-Strauss during the war with Suez. He smokes craven cigarettes and collects “exotic art”. He first bought a painting when he was in the military in Deutschemark 100 in Germany.

Another former colleague said Ferrett had a “long memory” and was “not easily forgiven.” He may need to show a different direction to himself to unify the injured Suez. Anyone who has vocally supported a more inclusive form of capitalism must avoid accusations that it has gone too far.

“Opinions about Ferrett are divided,” said one banker who advised Suez. “He was a good battlefield general, he told people to go out and kill, and they did. But is violence the best way to get good results? Integrating these organizations will not be easy. ”

But Frerot supports himself to bring the teams together and has a look at his legacy. Further, his bet is “If you don’t change your goals, people will believe you.”

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