Dear Montebourg, Please Don’t Kill French Startup Acquisitions

Arnaud Montebourg has a huge responsibility now. He’s France’s minister of the economy, industrial renewal, and the digital economy. He just signed a decree that allows the government to prevent acquisitions of French companies by foreign firms in multiple industries, including “electronic communications”. As a reminder, he’s the one who killedDailymotion’s acquisition by Yahoo. Does this portend that he’s going to kill more startup acquisitions in the future?

Originally, this decree had nothing to do with startups. General Electric wants to acquire Alstom, and Montebourg wants to avoid handing out this French company to American shareholders. To be fair, other countries, including the U.S., have similar tactics and block acquisitions from time to time.

Yet, the decree also talks about potential acquisitions in the “electronic communications” industry — whatever it means. As Montebourg has set a bad precedent with Dailymotion, one could fear that he won’t let French entrepreneurs sign with American tech companies.

Yahoo wanted to pay $270 million (€200 million) to acquire YouTube competitor Dailymotion. It would have been a great exit for the startup. “Dailymotion is considered a marquee company in France’s technology industry. Hence, Montebourg didn’t want to let it go to the Americans,” a source told TechCrunch at the time.

Read more here

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