September 2015
Reduction of the Minimum Number of Shareholders in French Privately Held Stock Corporations
Effective September 12, 2015, the minimum number of shareholders in a French stock corporation (société anonyme or SA) has been reduced from seven to two. This modification is only applicable to privately held SAs, publicly traded SAs still being subject to the seven shareholder obligation.

This modification puts an end to one of the least understood complexities of French companies in the form of an SA, which often made foreign investors opt for the société par actions simplifiée (SAS) rather than the SA as the preferred corporate form for their French affiliates. Coping with the seven shareholder requirement in practice often meant setting up share loans with affiliated companies or corporate officers, resulting in unexpected difficulties when terminating those share loans.

Another feature of the French SA which is often criticized, i.e., the minimum capital of EUR 37,000 (compared to EUR 1 for an SAS), has not been changed under the new law.

About the Authors:
Johannes Jonas is head of the firm's Paris office and has over 25 years of experience managing sophisticated corporate transactions for European and North American clients. Fluent in French, German, Dutch, and English, Mr. Jonas' practice focuses on cross-border transactions and investments, mergers and acquisitions, and employment law. 

+33 153 53 45 01 Phone


Olivier Lopez is a partner in the firm's Paris office. His practice focuses on private equity and venture capital funds, and he regularly advises clients on investments and complex mergers and acquisitions. Fluent in French and English, Mr. Lopez has maintained a significant base of clients worldwide, particularly in the automotive, banking, entertainment, and retail industries. 

+33 1 53 53 45 03 phone

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