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Hong Kong > Antitrust and competition > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Antitrust and competition
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Stephen Crosswell - Baker McKenzie
    • Adam Ferguson - Eversheds Sutherland
    • Clara Ingen-Housz - Linklaters
    • Mark Jephcott - Herbert Smith Freehills
    • Alastair Mordaunt - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
    • Marc Waha - Norton Rose Fulbright
    • Natalie Yeung - Slaughter and May

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Baker McKenzie’s three-partner Hong Kong team is well equipped to handle merger control filings involving a Chinese nexus; it is able to deal directly with the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China (MOFCOM) by dint of the firm’s joint operation in China with FenXun Partners. ‘Very experienced and accomplished’ team head Stephen Crosswell has advised on the China merger clearance control aspects of several acquisitions by Platinum Equity including on its $4bn acquisition of Emerson’s Network Power business, and its $111m purchase of the Foam Plastics Solutions and the Flow Control Devices business from Broadway Industrial Group. Crosswell has also been at the vanguard of the development of competition law in Hong Kong and has been involved in many of the most significant competition cases in the telecoms and broadcasting sectors. His ability to effectively handle contentious work was recently enhanced as a result of his attaining of higher rights of audience in October 2016. Thomas Jenkins was recently promoted to special counsel, a reflection of his expertise in the region on M&A-related work and cartels, in particular. Senior associate Donald Pan continues to handle numerous large-scale competition audits for Hong Kong and multinational corporates, while at a partner level David Fleming also provides antitrust expertise as a function of his M&A transactional practice. Clients also include FedEx, Allnex, Aston Martin and British American Tobacco.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has an ‘excellent perspective of the local market’, and handles a range of competition work including merger control issues and investigations, as well as discrete advisory work on behalf of both domestic and international clients relating to the implications of Hong Kong’s new competition regime. With 14 antitrust specialists based in Hong Kong and Beijing, the firm is well placed to coordinate the necessary Asia Pacific clearances on big-ticket global M&A mandates. Splitting his time between the firm’s Hong Kong, Beijing and London offices, Nicholas French is a pan-Asian competition law expert; he recently secured the necessary China merger flings and coordinated the antitrust aspects relevant to InBev’s £71bn acquisition of SABMiller across the entire Asia Pacific region, including filings and submissions in Australia and South Korea. The ‘excellent’ Alastair Mordaunt is head of the firm’s Hong Kong competition practice and benefits from a strong understanding of competition law, not only from his many years in private practice but also from those spent acting for the regulator (including four years at the UK’s Office of Fair Trading). Acting alongside practitioners in the firm’s Dusseldorf office, Mordaunt recently provided the merger clearance advice (inlcuding securing clearances across Europe, Asia, South America and the US) relating to Midea’s €4.5bn acquisition of German company Kuka; notably this was the largest-ever acquisition of a German company by a Chinese bidder. William Robinson provides contentious antitrust capability as part of his broader commercial litigation practice.

Linklaters has an ‘excellent reputation’ in the market across merger clearance work (where it regularly handles the relevant Asia Pacific aspects pursuant to major international M&A activity), contentious matters and general advisory/lobbying work. Clara Ingen-Housz has an ‘excellent standing in the market’ and recently worked alongside the firm’s Beijing office to provide the necessary Asian merger clearance advice pursuant to CMA CGM’s $2.4bn acquisition of Neptune Orient Lines. Ingen-Housz has also been at the vanguard of work handled by the new Competition Commission and has been involved in many of its initial cases. In this regard, the firm was also bolstered by the return of ‘superb’ managing associate Marcus Pollard, following his stint in-house at the Commission. Pollard and Ingen-Housz also regularly provide discrete standalone competition law advice to clients from a range of industries including financial services and energy; they both recently assisted one of the largest global banks in Hong Kong with the assessment of potential substantial market power issues. Other highlights include the team’s involvement for information technology company Innovix as one of the respondents accused of bid-rigging in relation to a tender for an IT server in what is the first case heard before the Hong Kong Competition Tribunal.

Led out of Hong Kong and also able to tap into the expertise of practitioners with significant competition law expertise across other Asia Pacific offices, Norton Rose Fulbright provides a ‘client-oriented and flexible approach’ to international and Asian companies across the spectrum of advisory work, M&A clearance and international cartel investigations. ‘Very pleasant’ and ‘experienced’ team head Marc Waha provides ‘top-class’ advice to clients from a range of industries, including the aviation sector where he has acted for multiple airlines over the years in establishing complex joint ventures and alliance agreements across Asia; he recently advised Delta Airlines on a TransPacific joint venture with Korean Airlines. Waha also has considerable contentious competition expertise and is representing SiS as one of the five respondents accused of bid-rigging in the first competition litigation pending before the Hong Kong Competition Tribunal. In addition to disputes originating in Asia, Waha also regularly handles work for Asian clients that are subject to scrutiny from the EU competition law authorities; he is acting as EU and international counsel to Japanese company Sanden Holdings as one of the respondents in a major multi-jurisdictional cartel investigation relating to supplies of air conditioning and engine cooling components to car manufacturers. At associate level, the ‘very dedicated’ Sophie Chen and Pearl Yeung are also recommended, while ‘excellent’ of counsel Maxime Vanhollebeke is taking an increasingly prominent role in several transactions, including multi-jurisdictional merger filings, international cartel matters and compliance mandates across East Asia. Other clients include Air China, American Express, BP and Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong.

Led out of Hong Kong by the well-respected François Renard, Allen & Overy’s integrated Asia Pacific antitrust practice provides a ‘high level of expertise’ on inbound, outbound and regional matters relating to merger control, anti-competitive agreements, abuses of dominant position and antitrust compliance. Leveraging the firm’s top-notch global corporate M&A practice, the team regularly provides the concomitant antitrust clearance advice associated with global transactions involving exposures to the Asia Pacific markets. For example, working alongside colleagues in the firm’s Beijing office, Renard recently successfully secured clearance from the Chinese authorities without any conditions attached for TNT Express on its highly scrutinised €4.4bn takeover by FedEx.

Led by Adam Ferguson, the team at Eversheds Sutherland provides ‘commercial and reasonable advice’ with particular expertise in the competition law aspects impacting the telecoms and broadcasting sectors. Ferguson has handled numerous matters for the Communications Authority, including representing the client, alongside Mark Yeadon, in the defence of High Court judicial review proceedings brought by Hong Kong television giant Television Broadcasts (TVB) following the Communications Authority’s ruling that it had engaged in anti-competitive conduct. Although he is currently on secondment at a global bank, associate Charlie Markillie is noted for his ‘excellent understanding of what in-house counsel find useful’ and his ‘superb interaction with business stakeholders’. Other clients include Cathay Pacific Airways, Pentland Brands and International Air Transport Association.

Gibson Dunn handles a balanced mix of litigation, M&A clearance and government investigations for clients from a varied array of industry sectors. Sébastien Evrard has an excellent reputation in the region, particularly in relation to securing M&A clearances on heavily scrutinized deals before MOFCOM. Evrard has been a key part of multi-office teams handling high-profile multi-jurisdictional M&A mandates; he recently helped secure unconditional global antitrust clearance for Marriott International on its $13.8bn merger with Starwood. He was also a part of the global antitrust team which advised St Jude Medical on its $25bn merger with Abbott Laboratories; notably this matter involved significant interaction with MOFCOM and was approved only after the parties agreed to divest part of the business to Terumo. The team also excels at ensuring companies have strong antitrust compliance programs in place and in this regard also benefits from the ability to leverage the firm’s well regarded investigations capability. Other clients include Chevron, Intel and Hong Kong Telecommunications.

The ‘responsive and hardworking’ team at Herbert Smith Freehills provides a ‘high level of service’ to multinational clients across a range of competition issues facing them in their commercial activity across Asia Pacific. ‘Solution-oriented and responsive’ team head Mark Jephcott provides ‘excellent insight into policy direction’ and has advised a raft of companies from numerous industry sectors including retail, real estate and energy on Hong Kong Competition Ordinance compliance work. Jephcott is also well versed in handling merger clearance work before MOFCOM and has provided the necessary PRC-related antitrust clearance advice in relation to many multi-jurisdictional M&A mandates handled by the firm, including working with practitioners out of Melbourne and Sydney on the non-Australian merger control aspects of Yancoal’s $2.4bn acquisition of Rio Tinto’s Australian coal unit. ‘Practical and knowledgeable’ senior associate Adelaide Luke is ‘easy to work with’ and has extensive knowledge of other south-east Asian competition regimes, most notably the new regime in the Philippines. Senior associate Alexandra Long regularly advises Asian clients on the obligations under/implications of EU/UK competition laws. Other clients include Google, Marriott International, Furukawa Electric Company and Hyatt International.

Galvanised by the relocation in December 2015 of Australian partner Neil Carabine, King & Wood Mallesons’ competition law practice has been at the forefront of guiding clients through the changes in competition law in Hong Kong and continues to represent companies and trade associations on Competition Ordinance issues and compliance matters. On the contentious front, the Hong Kong team is in the rare position of being appointed to both the Hong Kong Competition Commission and Communications Authority litigation panels. Senior associate James Wilkinson has particular expertise in compliance, investigations and litigation under the Hong Kong Competition Ordinance.

Mayer Brown JSM’s competition law practice provides pan-Asian expertise to international and local clients across the gamut of advisory, litigation and M&A clearance matters. Benefiting from close relationships with the relevant regulatory authorities in Hong Kong and China, clients appreciate the firm’s ‘commercial and pragmatic’ approach. Hannah Ha is able to provide advice in English, Cantonese and Mandarin and is therefore seen as an ‘invaluable resource’ to clients in the region, both in relation to Competition Ordinance issues as well as on PRC-related merger clearances. John Hickin advises on compliance issues and regulatory disputes relating to competition, while at an associate level Joe Lee and Nicolas Cassauba-Tircazot are also recommended.

Led out of Hong Kong and Beijing by counsel Andrew Foster, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s Asia Pacific competition law practice is a vital component of the firm’s global offering and is frequently called upon to secure the necessary approvals on multi-jurisdictional M&A work handled by the firm. Foster has significant experience in matters requiring PRC clearance and recently secured conditional approval from MOFCOM in relation to the firm’s work for E.I du Pont de Nemours and Company on its complex $130bn merger with The Dow Chemical Company.

At Slaughter and May, team head Natalie Yeung is a ‘class act’ whose competition expertise spans EU and UK regimes, in addition to Hong Kong, and is consequently regularly involved in multi-jurisdictional cross-border M&A work involving an Asian nexus. Praised for her ‘technical excellence’, she has also recently been active advising corporates on compliance with the new competition legislation. Recent highlights include coordinating the merger filings across China, Japan and EU for Starwood on its high-profile $13bn merger with Marriott, and acting for Tencent on the EU competition aspects of the $8.6bn acquisition of a majority stake in Finnish game developer Supercell.

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