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Vincent Desbenoit

Vincent Desbenoit


CMS Francis Lefebvre Avocats
2 rue Ancelle
92522 Neuilly-sur-Seine
Languages English, French, German

Vincent Desbenoit joined CMS Francis Lefebvre Avocats in 2017, as an associate in the mergers & acquisitions, internal restructurings and general corporate law practice in Paris. 

Vincent assists companies in their projects, notably in French-German operations, but also in cross border M&A operations.

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  • Bilingual Master’s degree (French-German) in Business Law
  • LL.M. (Potsdam) (2014)
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  • Member of the Hauts-de-Seine Bar
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  • Die französische Genossenschaft. Eine rechtliche und steuerliche Untersuchung, co-author - IWB 16/2018
  • Plan d'attribution gratuite d'actions : une limite de 10 % du capital en revolving ?, co-author - Capital Finance (08/07/2018)
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Trans­fers of cross-bor­der re­gistered of­fices
The gen­es­isIn 2003, the draft 14th Dir­ect­ive on cross-bor­der trans­fers of re­gistered of­fices was ini­ti­ated by the European Com­mis­sion. It was sub­sequently aban­doned in 2007, par­tic­u­larly due to the res­ist­ance from cer­tain Mem­ber States which were op­posed to abandon­ing some le­gis­lat­ive autonomy in the field of com­pany law1.To­wards a har­mon­iz­a­tion of the rules on re­gistered of­fices trans­fers with­in the European Uni­on?This pro­ject has been put on hold on the agenda and Vera Jour­ovà, European Com­mis­sion­er for Justice in charge of the draft 14th Dir­ect­ive on cross-bor­der trans­fer ex­plained: "I am well aware that cross-bor­der trans­fers are a com­plex sub­ject and that is why we are care­fully as­sess­ing how to ad­dress it it. We want to take in­to ac­count all the dif­fer­ent in­terests at stake. "2. This pro­ject’s goal is to re­spond to the "ur­gent need for a spe­cial European frame­work for the cross-bor­der trans­fer of re­gistered of­fices"3.A suc­cess­ful con­firm­a­tion from the ECJWhile this pos­sible har­mon­iz­a­tion is pending, the European Court of Justice, in a 25 Oc­to­ber 2017 de­cision, sanc­tioned Po­lan­d's re­fus­al to re­move from the loc­al re­gister a com­pany that had trans­ferred its re­gistered of­fice to Lux­em­bourg. In this in­stance Po­land had con­sidered that the re­mov­al ne­ces­sar­ily im­plied the com­ple­tion of li­quid­a­tion form­al­it­ies (ECJ, 25 Oc­to­ber 2017 n°C-106/16, Pol­bud-Wykon­awst­wo). In that de­cision, the Court found that Pol­ish le­gis­la­tion dis­pro­por­tion­ately in­fringed on the prin­ciple of free­dom of es­tab­lish­ment with­in the Uni­on and es­tab­lished for com­pan­ies the right to cross-bor­der con­ver­sion while re­tain­ing their leg­al per­son­al­it­ies4.France as a good prag­mat­ic stu­dentIn this re­spect, France is a rather good stu­dent and, sub­ject to com­pli­ance with a now well-defined pro­ced­ure and cer­tain con­di­tions, the clerks of the com­mer­cial courts de facto re­cog­nise the valid­ity of trans­fers of cross-bor­der re­gistered of­fices with main­ten­ance of leg­al per­son­al­ity both when France is the coun­try of de­par­ture and when France is the host coun­try5; in the lat­ter case, a doc­u­ment must be sub­mit­ted to the French Re­gis­trar con­firm­ing that for­eign law au­thor­izes the trans­form­a­tion of a for­eign com­pany in­to a French com­pany; this doc­u­ment may be a leg­al pro­vi­sion of the do­mest­ic law of the coun­try of de­par­ture (as­sum­ing such a pro­vi­sion ex­ists) or, more gen­er­ally, a leg­al opin­ion is­sued by a not­ary or law­yer from the coun­try of de­par­ture. In prac­tice, it is at this stage that dif­fi­culties may arise. A prom­in­ent ex­ample of these dif­fi­culties is il­lus­trated by the fact that less than 200 days from Brexit, and since the United King­dom does not have leg­al pro­vi­sions or prac­tice gov­ern­ing such op­er­a­tions, trans­fers of re­gistered of­fices from the United King­dom to an­oth­er EU coun­try (and in par­tic­u­lar France) are not pos­sible. In short, a trans­fer of headquar­ters to (or from) France takes place in 4 stages:France as the coun­try of de­par­tureFrance as the host coun­tryStep 1Un­an­im­ous de­cision of the share­hold­ers to trans­fer the re­gistered of­fice, sub­ject to the res­ol­utory con­di­tion that the com­pany will not be re­gistered in the re­gister of the host coun­tryDe­cision of the share­hold­ers to trans­fer the re­gistered of­fice to France in ac­cord­ance with the pro­vi­sions of loc­al do­mest­ic law Step 2Com­ple­tion of the form­al­it­ies in France, i.e. fil­ing with the RCS the pro­ject to trans­fer the re­gistered of­fices abroad Re­quest to the French judge to pro­ceed with the re­gis­tra­tion of the trans­fer with the re­quired cer­ti­fic­ate (e.g. leg­al opin­ion above)Step 3Com­ple­tion of form­al­it­ies in the host coun­try with main­ten­ance of leg­al per­son­al­ity (if per­mit­ted by the law of the host coun­try) for its re­gis­tra­tion Re­gis­tra­tion of the com­pany in FranceStep 4Fil­ing of the re­quest for can­cel­la­tion of the com­pany from the French RCS with main­ten­ance of leg­al per­son­al­ity (cf. form M4 of can­cel­la­tion avail­able on In­fogreffe and no longer via a re­quest ad­dressed to the judge)Re­mov­al of the com­pany from the re­gister of the coun­try of de­par­ture and com­mu­nic­a­tion to the French Re­gis­trarAl­tern­at­ive tools in the ab­sence of har­mon­iz­a­tionIf it is not yet pos­sible to re­con­cile the con­di­tions im­posed by the man­dat­ory pro­vi­sions of each na­tion­al law on the trans­fer of re­gistered of­fice (and, for ex­ample, in France, the un­an­im­ity re­quire­ment in the case of a cross-bor­der trans­fer), prac­tice has de­veloped al­tern­at­ive solu­tions that achieve more or less the same res­ult, such as pri­or trans­form­a­tion in­to a European com­pany fol­lowed by a trans­fer (European Reg­u­la­tion 2157/2001 of 8 Oc­to­ber 2001) or cross-bor­der mer­gers with­in the Uni­on (Dir­ect­ive 2017/1132 of the European Par­lia­ment and of the Coun­cil of 14 June 2017) or even out­side the Uni­on, sub­ject to the com­pat­ib­il­ity of na­tion­al laws (and, for ex­ample, with Switzer­land), without for­get­ting - in the spe­cif­ic case of a re­or­gan­iz­a­tion in­volving France as the coun­try of de­par­ture -, a tool offered by the French Civil Code for the uni­ver­sal trans­fer of the as­sets of a French com­pany to its sole share­hold­er - re­gard­less of the coun­try of re­gis­tra­tion of the sole share­hold­er - by way of dis­sol­u­tion without li­quid­a­tion (cf. Art­icle 1844-5 of the Civil Code).In this con­text, one may won­der wheth­er such har­mon­iz­a­tion – even though it has been long awaited for -  is still im­per­at­ive.1 Source: Eval­u­ation of European ad­ded value EAVA 3/2012 (p. 23)2Brus­sels tackles head of­fice mo­bil­ity, Fré­der­ic Si­mon, 3 Oc­to­ber 20173Cross-bor­der mer­gers and di­vi­sions, trans­fers of seat: Is there a need to le­gis­late? Study, June 2016; in the same vein, Com­pany law: the Com­mis­sion pro­poses new rules to help com­pan­ies cross bor­ders and find on­line solu­tions, 25 April 20184"Right to cross-bor­der trans­form­a­tion of com­pan­ies in the Uni­on: the ECJ passes the third! "Thomas Mas­trullo, Bul­let­in Joly So­ciétés Janu­ary 1, 2018 n°1 p. 195See in this sense Cass. 27 Oc­to­ber 2009 n°08-16115 Com­ment Michel Men­jucq Bul­let­in Joly So­ciétés - Feb­ru­ary 2010


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Trans­fers of cross-bor­der re­gistered of­fices: how the mar­ket de­veloped...
The gen­es­is In 2003, the draft 14th Dir­ect­ive on cross-bor­der trans­fers of re­gistered of­fices was ini­ti­ated by the European Com­mis­sion. It was sub­sequently aban­doned in 2007, par­tic­u­larly due to the res­ist­ance...
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Trans­fers of cross-bor­der re­gistered of­fices
Trans­fers of cross-bor­der re­gistered of­fices: how the mar­ket de­veloped a prac­tice al­low­ing such trans­fers with­in (or even out­side) the European Uni­on
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