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In early 2001, Schneider Electric made a friendly public offer to purchase Legrand in exchange for shares a part of a proposed merger project. When the offer closed in July 2001, the Company held more than 98% of Legrand. However, in October 2001, the European Commission declared the merger to be incompatible with the Common Market. As a result, Schneider Electric and Legrand separated in January 2002 and Schneider Electric sold its interest to the KKR-Wendel investissement consortium at the end of the year.

2002 was shaped by the introduction of the NEW 2004 (for New Electric World) program. Covering the period from 2002 to 2004, this ambitious, motivating program focused on growth and efficiency. The objective for Schneider Electric was to carry out a strategy of differentiation and innovation, while enhancing the qualities that make it the only world leader in automation and electricity management.