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Put simply, Marval, O'Farrell & Mairal is ‘clearly the best firm in Argentina for antitrust’, with its ‘highly effective advice’, ‘agile and client-oriented service’ and ‘technically solid team’ all striking the right note with clients. Standing out as its key assets are its ‘top-tier lawyers’, who are widely commended for their ‘proactive approach’ and ability to ‘keep constantly up-to-date with industry issues’. Most notably, department head Miguel del Pino is a ‘titan in the area’, while newly promoted partner Santiago del Rio is ‘thorough and knowledgeable’ with a ‘strong ability to simplify complex scenarios’. Excelling in merger filings, investigations and compliance work, the practice also leverages the firm’s wider full-service offering to bring ‘deep industry and cross-practice expertise to all cases’. On the transactional side, del Pino is acting for both ChemChina and Syngenta on the local aspects of their headline $43bn merger. On the contentious side, a major international bank turned to the firm to represent it in the Argentine Competition Commission (CNDC)’s high-profile investigation into alleged collusion and abuse of dominance in the management of the VISA card system – del Rio led that work. Senior partner Alfredo O’Farrell and experienced associate Gabriela Ariel Irizar are also central figures in the group.

Excellent in all respects’, Allende & Brea’s ‘very knowledgeable and well-informed group’ is composed of ‘flexible and pragmatic professionals’, according to sources. The practice advises an enviable roster of domestic and multinational blue-chip clients on the full gamut of competition and antitrust issues and is particularly noted for its ‘strong, "big game" experience handling cases before competition authorities’. High-profile group head Julián Peña is ‘one of the best competition lawyers in Argentina’ and demonstrates ‘strong knowledge of the law and enforcement trends and criteria’; he recently advised FMC on the local aspects of its acquisition of DuPont’s crop protection business. On the investigations side, Peña is representing Indura in a case concerning an alleged cartel in the medical oxygen market.

Beccar Varela continues to raise its profile in the competition space and sources attest to its ‘quick and effective advice’, ‘great knowledge of the industry’ and ability to marshal ‘strong support from other practice areas in the firm’. Led by Agustín Waisman, who is a ‘vastly experienced professional with great legal precision’, the group is active in merger filings, investigations and international trade-related matters. In a key highlight, it advised Prisma Medios de Pago (formerly VISA Argentina) in the negotiation of the settlement of the VISA card system investigation, which included several structural and behavioural remedies. Among its merger cases, the team represented Sherwin-Williams on the local aspects of its $11bn acquisition of Valspar. The practice also benefits from genuine strength-in-depth, with senior associates Camila Corvalán and Mercedes Pando both highly recommended.

A ‘great partner to clients’, M & M Bomchil distinguishes itself through its ‘strong ability to address complex issues quickly and effectively’ as well as its ‘unswerving focus on the end result’. In particular, Marcelo den Toom is singled out for his ‘great personal attention and practical knowledge’; he heads a department that acts on a comprehensive spread of merger filings, cartel investigations, abuse of dominance cases and related trade matters. Among its recent work, the group represented ABB in an investigation into an alleged cartel in the power transformer market, which was closed without sanctions. The firm has also recently handled merger control work on behalf of Apax Partners, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and DuPont.

Pérez Alati, Grondona, Benites & Arntsen’s competition practice continues to be led by seasoned specialist Luis Barry, who is widely recognised as a market leader. Areas of expertise include antitrust filings, competition litigation, behavioural matters and compliance issues and the team routinely acts for major domestic and multinational corporations. During 2017, it undertook notifications of nineteen economic concentration transactions, including successfully obtaining clearance for BRF’s $80m acquisition of Campo Austral. Other representative clients include Banco Santander, Molinos Río de La Plata and Old World Industries.

Baker McKenzie’s extensive global network translates into a steady stream of cross-border merger filings; the team also has sound experience in regulatory matters, cartel investigations and civil and criminal antitrust litigation. Group head Esteban Rópolo is ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ and is acting as local counsel to BASF on its acquisition of certain businesses being divested by Bayer as part of its acquisition of Monsanto.

Corporate and litigation boutique Bouzat, Rosenkrantz & Asociados enjoys an eminent position in the market due to the ‘very strong experience’ of firm founder Gabriel Bouzat – highlighted by several sources as a ‘leading light’. Competition is a core pillar of the firm and the team is particularly sought after for investigations, class actions and merger control. Virginia del Águila co-leads the department alongside Bouzat.

Bruchou, Fernández Madero & Lombardi’s competition practice, which is particularly strong in transactional matters but also handles behavioural work, impresses with its ‘excellent service, advice and industry knowledge’. Among the team’s recent merger cases, it advised Nautilus Inkia Holdings on its acquisition of IC Power Argentina and IC Power Argentina II. Estanislao Olmos is also recommended and advised Barrick Gold on the sale of a 50% stake in its Veladero mine to Shandong Gold Mining. In 2018, highly rated partner Aixa Sureda and senior associate Evangelina González Soldo left for Mitrani Caballero & Ruiz Moreno Abogados.’

At Estudio O'Farrell, economic regulation partner Agustín Siboldi is the key contact for competition law. The firm is a popular choice for infrastructure, energy and public law-related matters and is representing YPF on the competition aspects of its acquisition of a controlling shareholding in Apache’s Argentine assets. Other representative clients include Axion Energy and Claro Argentina.

Salaverri, Burgio & Wetzler Malbran’s group, which is led by the ‘smart and focused’ Tomás Arnaude, is ‘very responsive to the client’s unique needs and challenges’. The firm is highly active in merger filings and acted as local counsel to Arca Continental on its acquisition of Coca-Cola’s bottling business in the US Southwest as well as on its joint venture with Coca-Cola to operate all of Arca Continental’s beverage businesses in Latin America.

Competition work is a key specialism at Tanoira Cassagne Abogados, which is widely recognised as a ‘strong player in the market’ and ‘very experienced in investigations’. The practice group also handles merger control, consumer defence and compliance matters. Department head Bernardo Cassagne is a respected figure in the market.

Wiener Soto Caparrós’ ‘extremely responsive team’ secures strong praise for its ‘practical business and legal advice’. Group lead Mariela del Carmen Caparrós is ‘always available’ and advised Coca-Cola Andina Argentina on the competition aspects of its acquisition of the AdeS soy-based drinks business from Unilever.

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