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Suhail Nathani and Ravisekhar Nair head the team at Economic Laws Practice. Notable highlights include advising PVR on the Competition Commission of India (CCI)’s investigation into its INR5bn acquisition of assets from DLF Utilities and successfully representing APM Terminals before the CCI in two abuse of dominance investigations. Senior associates Parthsarathi Jha and Abhay Joshi joined the team from AZB & Partners and the US Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Competition, respectively.

The practice at Khaitan & Co. has ‘a personable, straightforward style’, and provides ‘outstanding quality of advice and response times’. ‘Strong litigator’ Manas Kumar Chaudhuri represented Alkem Laboratories in its successful appeal of a CCI penalty order before the Competition Appellate Tribunal, and Avaantika Kakkar, who has ‘strong negotiation skills’, advised Reliance Communications and Aircel on their pre-merger notification to the CCI. Executive director Arshad (Paku) Khan, associate partner Sagardeep Rathi, and ‘meticulous’ senior associate Dhruv Rajain, who has ‘impeccable knowledge’, are also noted.

At LakshmiKumaran & Sridharan, the ‘detailed’, ‘focused’ and ‘very knowledgeable and experienced team’ includes T Sundar Ramanathan, who is ‘hard working’ and ‘experienced’, and ‘calm and patient listener’ Abir Roy; the duo are acting for NOK in the CCI’s investigation into the global auto cartel, including challenging the CCI’s jurisdiction in this matter before the Delhi High Court. Principal associate Prashanth Shivadass is also recommended. Former practice head S Seetharaman left to launch Seetharaman & Associates in 2017.

G R Bhatia heads the practice at Luthra & Luthra Law Offices, which counts ITC, Denso Corporation, Intel and Lufthansa among its clients. Bhatia, together with Abdullah Hussain, advised new client Bayer on its acquisition of Monsanto. Kanika Chaudhary Nayar is also recommended.

Led by John Handoll, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co provides ‘in-depth’, ‘timely’ and ‘business-oriented’ advice. Harman Singh Sandhu represents Nissan Motor India before the Supreme Court of India in a pending appeal pertaining to the CCI’s sale of spare parts investigation. Managing partner Pallavi Shroff, Naval Chopra and Aparna Mehra stand out for their ‘industry knowledge and solution-oriented approach’; Manika Brar has ‘great knowledge and acumen’; and Shweta Shroff Chopra and principal associate Yaman Verma are also recommended.

AZB & Partners’ practice head Samir Gandhi successfully appealed a Competition Appellate Tribunal order pertaining to an abuse of dominance case for Toyota Kirloskar Motor and is representing Google in the CCI’s investigation into alleged anti-competitive conduct. Recently promoted partner Rahul Rai and senior associate Aditi Gopalakrishnan are also noted. Nisha Kaur Uberoi and Percival Billimoria left to head Trilegal’s and Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas’ competition practices, respectively.

Atul Dua heads the practice at Advaita Legal, which includes Vijay K Aggarwal. The team advised Bhati Airtel on competition law issues and merger filings, and defended Nissan Motor India Private against claims of anti-competitive behaviour and abuse of dominance before the CCI, securing a reduction in penalties in a subsequent appeal before the Competition Appellate Tribunal.

At Dua Associates, Shashivansh Bahadur and Shiraz Patodia act as the Indian antitrust counsel to The Dow Chemical Company on its merger with E I Du Pont de Nemours, Diamond-Orion, Diamond Merger, and Orion Merger. The team is also defending the CCI in a case brought by Verifone before the Competition Appellate Tribunal pertaining to an order issued by the client. Other key figures include Kunal Mehra, Akash Nath and Neeraj Kumar.

Gagrats advised Kirloskar Brothers on the competition aspects of its acquisition of a majority stake in one of its engineering joint venture companies, and is assisting a major stationery manufacturing company in India on bringing proceedings against a competitor for anti-competitive agreements and practices. Managing partners Rustam Gagrat and U A Rana are the key figures.

At Kochhar & Co., practice head Piyush Gupta advised EMC on its $67bn acquisition by Dell, securing phase II clearance from the CCI. Gupta and principal associate Reeta Mishra defended state-owned oil marketing companies against six allegations pertaining to cartels and bid rigging before the Supreme Court of India following an appeal by the complainant.

The practice at Talwar Thakore & Associates has particular strengths in the broadcasting, petrochemicals, energy, and pharmaceutical sectors. Practice head Vinod Dhall advised Rosneft on its joint acquisition of a 98% equity stake in Essar Oil with a consortium of investors, and managing associate Sonam Mathur is representing Sanofi Pasteur India in the CCI’s cartel investigation into the meningococcal vaccines market. Managing associate Ram Kumar Poornachandran is also recommended.

Trilegal’s practice head Nisha Kaur Uberoi is acting for Idea Cellular on its $23bn merger with Vodafone. The team is also representing Ambuja Cement and Nuvoco Vistas before the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal pertaining to their alleged participation in the cement cartel. Uberoi, Sitesh Mukherjee and counsels Soumya Hariharan were new arrivals from AZB & Partners and Gautam Shahi joined from J Sagar Associates.

Karan Singh Chandhiok heads the practice at Chandhiok & Associates, Advocates & Solicitors, which includes managing associates Vikram Sobti and Kalyani Singh. The team advised ICU Medical on its acquisition of Pfizer’s global infusion therapy business and handled a failure to notify matter before the CCI for Clariant.

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas’ team provides ‘very effective, adequately detailed, professional, and timely advice’, and is led by Percival Billimoria, who joined from AZB & Partners. The practice advised Sony Pictures Networks India on its merger with Ten Sports Network, securing unconditional approval from the CCI despite the creation of a duopoly. Other key names include Rahul Goel, who is ‘diligent’, ‘thorough’ and provides ‘very practical advice’, Bharat Budholia, and Anshuman Sakle, who joined from Khaitan & Co..

Amitabh Kumar leads the practice at J Sagar Associates, which acts for the Indian Sugar Mills Association, the National Federation of Cooperative Sugar Factories, and Balrampur Chini Mills in a matter pertaining to alleged cartels in the ethanol industry. The team also advised Nissan Motor Company on its restructuring arrangements with Ashok Leyland, and acts for Ford India in proceedings before the Supreme Court of India concerning alleged abuse of dominance. Farhad Sorabjee is also recommended.

Jafa & Javali is assisting Helixor Heilmittel with its distribution and marketing agreement with its proposed Indian distributor, and advising Sound Central on proposed joint venture and licensing arrangements with Antenna Audio. Other clients include Envirotainer and Eterna Mode. Mana Imtiyangla is the key contact.

Atul Sharma leads the team at Link Legal – India Law Services, which includes Anand Srivastava and associate partner Abhishek Sharma. Srivastava advised SpiceJet on the acquisition of a controlling stake by Ajay Singh, which was cleared by the CCI, and Atul Sharma is representing the same client in proceedings before the CCI pertaining to alleged price fixing.

Majmudar & Partners’ practice head Rukshad Davar advised Gallagher Operations Support Services on its acquisition of assets from Cross Domain Solutions and Sporting Group International. The team also assisted Stanley Electric with the competition law aspects of its internal operations. Senior associate Kritika Agarwal is also noted.

Phoenix Legal successfully acted for Sundaram Finance in a delayed filing for merger approval investigation by the CCI. The team is active in merger control, compliance and advisory, and behavioural matters, and counts Sandvik and A.O. Smith India Water Products among its clients. Saket Shukla, Manjula Chawla, and Trinath Tadakamalla are the key contacts.

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Legal Developments in India

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