(News Bulletin 247) – In a study devoted to start-ups, the BCG and RaiseLab devote part of the purchases of start-ups by the groups of the famous Parisian index. Out of 345 acquisitions, 240 were thus made outside France.

The tenants of the CAC 40 remain extremely internationalized groups. To give an idea, the Hexagon represents only 8% of the sales of LVMH, the most important company of the index in terms of capitalization. Even at Carrefour, which is one of the CAC 40 companies if not the company most exposed to France, this exposure remains below 50% since it amounted to 46.2% for 2022.

This highly internationalized distribution of activity logically leads the major CAC 40 groups to set their sights on foreign companies to make acquisitions. Including for young shoots.

This is shown very well by a study on start-ups carried out by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the company RaiseLab, published this Wednesday and relayed by The echoes.

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Nearly 70% of start-up purchases abroad

It should be noted that the term “start-up” being hardly defined in a categorical way, the study retained in its nomenclature companies “which have a strong potential for growth, use new technologies and have strong financing needs provided by fundraisers”. Specifically, the study focuses on companies that have been financed by venture capital over the past ten years.

On this basis, the number of start-up acquisitions by CAC 40 groups rose to 345 between 2013 and 2023, according to this study. And of this total, 240 operations were carried out abroad and 105 in France. This thus corresponds to a ratio of 69% abroad for 31% in France.

“Our CAC 40 companies are obviously companies with a scope of action that goes beyond French territory. It is therefore logical for these groups to proceed with takeovers of start-ups in all the countries that are relevant. for them, which explains the relatively low proportion of France”, explains Lionel Aré, senior associate director of BCG.

Publicis, which has undergone a successful transformation in recent years to increase its digital offering, particularly in data, is the CAC 40 group that has acquired the most start-ups, with 31 acquisitions over ten years, including only three in France. Engie follows with 27 start-ups, including 11 in France, and Dassault Systèmes with 24 operations, including eight in France.

“Obviously, this share of France in start-up takeovers by CAC 40 groups varies with their degree of globalization. -up important French”, underlines Lionel Aré.

strategic interests

Some disparities can be observed: Thales, Schneider Electric, Sanofi, and L’Oréal have only acquired start-ups internationally, while on the contrary all the acquisitions of start-ups by Bouygues and Safran have took place in France.

The young shoots have several virtues likely to interest our tricolor champions. They provide them, for example, with technological complementarities or new distribution channels, and are thus at the heart of companies that have a so-called “bolt-on” acquisition strategy, i.e. centered on small operations. sizes.

“For CAC 40 groups, acquisitions of start-ups follow two types of strategic rationale. These operations either strengthen the group’s core business, for example by bringing new technologies or distribution channels to businesses in which the group already operates. Either to add so-called ‘adjacent’ activities, i.e. new products or services but very close to what is already offered by CAC 40 companies”, develops Lionel Are.

It should also be noted in this study that French start-ups are increasingly attracting foreign investors. Their share has been around 50% since 2021, compared to around a third previously.