经济学人:法国商业 由外到内
日期:2014-04-16 16:00



French business
Outside in
France just might be growing more tolerant of disruptive outsider
THE French do have a word for “entrepreneur”, pace George Bush, and more than 500,000 new businesses in 2013 to prove it. What they struggle to translate precisely is “outsider”.

Patrick Drahi, a Moroccan-born, Swiss-resident, Franco-Israeli billionaire who has just won a bitter takeover battle for SFR, a telecoms operator, happens to be both. It was a striking victory over the Bouygues family, a powerful industrial clan at the heart of the establishment, who were backed by a clutch of other well-connected family businesses, a state investment agency, a big union, and above all by the industry minister, Arnaud Montebourg. This is quite a feat in a country where disruptive newcomers have rarely been made welcome at the big-business high table.
帕特里克·德拉希,一位摩洛哥出生,定居于瑞士的以籍法裔亿万富翁,于不久前赢得了一场发生在收购SFR的恶战,SFR是一家电信运营商。这是一场出人意料的战役,因为它战胜了布依格家族,这个强大工业帝国的核心,是由以众多其他出生名门的家族企业为靠山构成的,它不仅拥有政府投资,而且拥有一个巨大的联盟,其中以工业部部长,Arnaud Montebourg为首。在一个具有破坏性的外来者在大企业的谈判桌上是不被欢迎的国家,这是一个相当了不起的壮举。
Mr Drahi attributes his win to the simple fact that his was a better project than Bouygues Telecom's, and logic prevailed. Others argue that the board of Vivendi, the media group that was selling SFR, is stiff with unusually independent-minded men whose backs were put up by the public pressure that the Bouygues family and their chums brought to bear.
Drahi把他的胜利归结为一个简单的原因:他比布依格电信公司拥有更周全的计划,因此理应胜利。还有一些人认为这是因为试图出售SFR的维旺迪董事会(Vivendi SA;又译威望迪,前名为维旺迪环球(Vivendi Universal)是法国一家巨型媒体跨国集团。业务范围包括音乐、电视、电影、出版、电信、互联网和电子游戏等行业。)出人意料的是因为无党派人士背后有布依格家族以及其同盟所施加的社会压力。
Even so, it is not implausible to see in it the beginnings of a sea-change in French capitalism. The long-standing assumption that with the state's blessing, the destinies of entire industries should be overseen by a charmed circle of interconnected people from the grandes ecoles and the haute bourgeoisie seems to be wearing thinner these days. One line in Mr Drahi's CV implies he is part of that circle—he attended the elite ecole Polytechnique—but rather than continuing on the usual route via public service and politics to the top of a giant French corporation, the son of humble Moroccan teachers pursued a rather Anglo-Saxon career as a buyer, seller and stitcher-together of cable and telecoms companies around the globe, alongside buy-out firms.
即便如此,法国资本主义史上这样一个如此重大的变革依然是令人难以置信的。一个长期存在的猜想就是在国家的庇佑下,法国整个实业的前途应该是在一些来自grandes ecoles以及haute bourgeoisie(法国中产阶级上层)的互通有无排外团体的严密监管之下的,这些些日子,他们看起来似乎衣着单薄。从Drahi先生的简历看来他似乎也是也是这个团体之中的一部分——因为他参与了整个的法国高等工商学院的整个精英班的学习——但是比起沿着通过公共服务以及政治活动等成为法国的巨头企业这一条寻常之路,这位摩洛哥普通老师的儿子追随了盎格鲁-撒克逊的道路作为一个买家,卖家和有线电视遍布全球的电信公司,他与全面收购并驾齐驱。
Not many such disruptive outsiders have risen to the very top, but there are a few. One is Xavier Niel, founder of Iliad Group, a mobile-phone operator that has grown fast by drastically undercutting its rivals' prices. The co-owner these days of Le Monde, a newspaper, and partner of the daughter of Bernard Arnault, boss of LVMH, a luxury group, Mr Niel is being clasped to the establishment's bosom. Another iconoclast is Jacques-Antoine Granjon, the billionaire co-founder of an early online-retail business, Vente-privee.com.
并没有很多这样具有颠覆性的局外人达到如此顶端之高度,但也不是没有。其中之一便是Xavier Niel,Iliad Group的创始人,一位增长迅猛与竞争对手议价能力极高的移动电话运营商。这些日子他成为了《世界报》的合伙人以及LVMH这个奢侈品集团老板Bernard Arnault女儿的合伙人,Niel先生已经紧紧扣住了当权者的心扉。另一个打破常规的人便是Jacques-Antoine Granjon,这位亿万富翁是Vente-privee.com.这个早期网上零售商的共同创始人。
More shaking-up is on the cards. France's business climate is changing as its flagship companies go global. Some are now run by foreigners—for example, Sanofi, a pharmaceuticals giant with a German chief executive, its first non-French boss. Others have shifted senior management overseas: Essilor, the world leader in corrective lenses, is mainly overseen from Texas these days. And foreign investors, with their Anglo-Saxon expectations of corporate governance, own around half the shares of the biggest firms, the CAC-40.
There is another reason, too, why France is set to become more open to entrepreneurs, outsiders and disrupters. “France's back is to the wall economically,” says Mr Drahi, “President Hollande has realised that only enterprises create jobs and Manuel Valls, the new prime minister, is already pushing that line.” Just as Fran?ois Mitterrand, elected president in 1981 on an intensely socialist platform, had to change tack to woo back business and save the economy, so Fran?ois Hollande has begun to do the same. Among the 1980s returners, from self-imposed exile in America, was Mr Arnault, a disruptive force in his day. Helped by the French state, he acquired the kernel of what was to become the world's largest luxury group.
同时还有另一个原因,为什么法国对于企业家、外来者、以及颠覆者的设定变得更加开放。“法国背靠经济墙,” Drahi先生说道“奥朗德总统已经实现了只要企业能够创造了就业机会并且Manuel Valls,这位新总理已经在推广这条线。”正如Fran?ois Mitterrand,于1981年在强烈的社会主义平台中竞选总统,认为必须改变策略招商引资以挽救经济,所以奥朗德也开始着手做同样的事情。在十九世纪八十年代的在美国自我放逐的回归者中,是Arnault先生,一个破坏者,得到了法国的帮助,由此他获得了世界最大奢侈品集团的核心。

1.rise to 上升到

In 2008, global consumers squealed when chinese demand caused commodity prices to rise to record levels.

Of course, china's rise to gdp second place is much more a function of size than success.

2.happen to 碰巧;赶巧

I happen to know of a few good ones!

If you happen to have one at home then don't ignore it.

3.clutch of 一批,一群

A clutch of other concessions would also be looked at.

The prime minister was there with a clutch of cabinet ministers.

4.seem to 似乎

But you don't seem to think so.

The problem doesn't seem to be price.

  • woov. 向 ... 求爱,追求,恳求
  • implausibleadj. 难以置信的,不像真实的
  • senioradj. 年长的,高级的,资深的,地位较高的 n. 年长
  • tolerantadj. 宽容的,容忍的
  • entrepreneurn. 企业家,主办者,承包商
  • circlen. 圈子,圆周,循环 v. 环绕,盘旋,包围
  • exilen. 放逐,流放,被放逐者 vt. 放逐,流放
  • commodityn. 商品,日用品
  • platformn. 平台,站台,月台,讲台,(政党的)政纲
  • assumptionn. 假定,设想,担任(职责等), 假装