About Me

I am co-head of the firm's Restructuring practice internationally and head of the Litigation practice in France.

My expertise covers all stages of the restructuring of companies in difficulty, from advice to litigation related to these operations. My practice ranges from industrial and financial restructuring to complex commercial litigation.

With a doctorate in private law, I began my career in 2002 with a law firm, where I developed an expertise in litigation before the supreme, administrative and judicial courts over several years.
I joined Bird & Bird as a partner in 2015. I previously practised with Gide Loyrette Nouel and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, where I was appointed counsel in 2011.

Former first secretary of the Conférence du Stage des avocats au Conseil d'Etat et à la Cour de cassation (2006), I teach the insolvency law course in the Master II Business Law at the University of Paris V and write numerous articles on this subject. I am a member of the ARE (Association pour le Retournement des Entreprises).
Experience
  • Advising a SPV in the context of the implementation and enforcement of a French trust (fiducie) and the sale of the underlying asset (48,000 sq.m. office building) in safeguard proceedings (portfolio: €110 million). The transaction involved a major French bank and a German bank as senior creditors.
  • Advising the senior bondholders of a French manufacturing group in relation to the €200 million cross-border financial restructuring of the group and its acquisition by the senior bondholders. The specificity of the case lied in the security package that was designed to secure a €40m new money financing, and which included the transfer to a French trust (fiducie) of IP rights located in more than 15 North American and Asian jurisdictions.
  • Advising a major French bank, as trustee, in relation to a French corporate trust (fiducie) set up as part of a financial restructuring of a €70 million debt. The transaction involved a pool of nearly 10 banks and was conducted under the supervision of the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The specificity of the case lied in the assets transferred to the corporate trust (a group of companies with liabilities at various levels) and the need to organise the control and distribution of cash flows related to the sale of each company and/or underlying assets.
Cases
  • Advising a multinational pharmaceutical company against claims made in court by the court-appointed liquidator of a former manufacturing unit seeking (i) the extension of the liquidation proceedings to the company and (ii) €11 million in damages on the ground of excessive credit support extended to this former operational unit. The claims relate to the financial consequences of a failed carve-out of a distressed business unit.
  • Advising a multinational oil and gas company and its subsidiary in relation to a post-safeguard litigation. The litigation was initiated by a French group specialised in the solar power in relation to the failure of a partnership project. The purpose of the action is to have the company and its subsidiary held liable for the alleged loss of financing and investment projects resulting from the failure of the negotiations, estimated by the claimant at €250 million.
  • Advising a real estate SPV held by French public institutions against claims made in court by the court-appointed liquidator of its former tenant seeking (i) the extension of the liquidation proceedings of the latter to the SPV and (ii) €11 million damages on the ground of excessive credit support extended to its former tenant. The main issue was to obtain the overruling of the decision of a Commercial Court which extended the liquidation proceedings of the SPV's former tenant to the SPV and preventing the judicial sale by the liquidator of the SPV's real estate valued at €25 million. This was obtained in appeal. The other action brought by the Liquidator, on the ground of excessive credit support, is still pending.
  • Advising a multinational logistics company in relation to legal actions initiated by the court-appointed liquidator as well as dismissed employees of a French company. The purpose of these actions is to make the multinational corporation liable for the consequences of the liquidation proceedings of this French company, which was sold in the context of a spin-off of one of the former's non-core businesses.
Education

Studied

  • University Paul Cézanne Aix-Marseille III, Doctorat, Droit privé
  • University Paul Cézanne Aix-Marseille III, DEA, Droit des affaires

Admissions

  • Paris Bar (2005)
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Testimonials

Nicolas has an established reputation in both court-driven and out-of-court restructurings. He is particularly recommended for his work on the side of borrowers. 'He is proactive and adopts a strategic approach. He is very available and excellent at managing relationships with clients'.

Chambers Europe 2017

'Nicolas Morelli assists distressed companies with a range of in-court liquidation proceedings and out-of-court restructurings. Of late, he has represented SCI Les Salins in claims brought by the court-appointed liquidator of Rue Le Bec seeking liquidation proceedings against the client and damages due to alleged excessive credit support'.

Chambers Europe 2018

He is invariably described as a 'hard worker, intelligent and talented. He is doing a superb job, because he is very rigorous in his approach'. Further praise confirms him as 'very calm, an excellent technician and good negotiator'.

Chambers Europe 2015

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