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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > London > Corporate and commercial > EU and competition > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

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Index of tables

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

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Simon Priddis heads the practice at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP , which advises clients on cartel investigations, competition compliance, merger control, public procurement and state aid concerns, among others. Recent projects which Priddis has advised upon include advising a major US pharmaceutical group on the European Commission’s enquiry into the pharmaceutical sector and advising Manchester United FC on a UK regulatory enquiry into its season ticket arrangements. Rod Carlton's sector focus spans financial services, telecoms, transport and retail; he acted for BT in achieving unconditional competition clearance for its acquisition of EE. Deirdre Trapp recently represented SSE in relation to the Competition Market Authority (CMA)’s investigation into the UK energy market. James Aitken handles obtaining regulatory clearances for mergers, and has particular experience of advising regulated utilities. John Davies divides his time between the firm’s London and Brussels offices; projects he has been involved with include advising Comcast on the competition and regulatory strategy for its bid for Sky TV and 21st Century Fox and advising ChemChina on the global merger control aspects of its $8bn bid for Pirelli. Alex Potter possesses considerable multijurisdictional experience, having worked out of the firm’s London, Brussels and Hong Kong offices. Michele Davis is noted for her experience in the regulated sectors, including energy and utilities, water and telecoms.

The ‘first-class’ team at Linklaters LLP  is noted for its ‘quick, thoughtful, friendly and commercial’ approach, with a special focus on the financial services, mining, energy and infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, retail and oil and gas sectors. ‘Excellent’ practice head Nicole Kar ‘is laser-focused on what the client wants and what needs to be done to get that’. Kar and Simon Pritchard advised Amec Foster Wheeler on its £2.2bn takeover by John Wood Group, which involved the use of a novel ‘twin-track’ approach which allowed for Phase 1 clearance to be obtained swiftly and avoided the need for a Phase 2 investigation. Another highlight saw Christian Ahlborn advising Unilever on an investigation by the CMA into alleged abuse of dominance in the supply of single-wrapped impulse ice cream. Ahlborn is recommended for his ‘deep understanding of the law and a mastery of economics that enables him to get to the bottom of the most complex competition problem’. Natura Gracia is noted for her ‘practical approach’, and managing associate Anna Mitchell is ‘insightful, hardworking, and a pleasure to work with’. The firm’s global chairman Sir Christopher Bellamy is noted for his advice on multi-jurisdictional cases, having previously been president of the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT). The team saw the departures of Michael Cutting Paula Riedel to join the CAT and Kirkland & Ellis International LLP respectively.

The standard of service at Slaughter and May  is ‘always of the highest calibre’, and the practice is rated for its ‘extremely responsive, friendly and knowledgeable’ approach.  Philippe Chappatte (‘deep legal knowledge in the whole of this field, can think creatively about problems, always helpful’) is the global head of the firm’s Competition Group. Chappatte and Jackie Holland  acted for payments systems infrastructure provider VocaLink and its shareholders in relation to its acquisition by Mastercard, which was referred to the CMA and necessitated the development of a set of behavioural undertakings, which the CMA accepted in lieu of a Phase 2 investigation. The ‘very astute and attentive’  Claire Jeffs  acted for Google on the European Commission’s investigation into its AdSense for Search advertising services and Android operating system. Other highlights saw Bertrand Louveaux  representing Punch Taverns on the CMA’s Phase 1 review of Heineken’s acquisition of the Punch Securitisation A Estate and Isabel Taylor advising the UK Treasury on a series of measures put forward to the European Commission to be implemented by RBS in lieu of its State aid commitments to divest the Williams & Glynn business.

The ‘outstanding’ team at Allen & Overy stands out for its ‘responsiveness, accuracy of advice and pragmatic’ approach, as well as its ability to 'work superbly with other advisers' and its 'concise, easily digestible advice’. Recent highlights include global co-head of antitrust and ‘superstar and leading authority on telecoms-related antitrust issues’ Antonio Bavasso advising longstanding client 21st Century Fox on its extensive merger control and associated regulatory issues connected with its £11.7bn takeover bid for Sky, which includes acting for the client in its ongoing phase 2 public interest review and representing it in a judicial review brought by activist group Avaaz. The team is also advising the same client on all antitrust and regulatory matters relating to non-US jurisdictions pertaining to its proposed $52.4bn acquisition by The Walt Disney Company. Mark Friend, whose ‘enormous experience means that he delivers sound advice in context’, heads the firm’s London antitrust group; he recently assisted Total with the merger control aspects of the client's acquisition of the upstream LNG assets of Engie. Alastair Balfour successfully secured a phase 1 clearance for Allianz in respect of its entry into a joint venture arrangement with the Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society. Dominic Long was promoted to partner in May 2017 and is noted for his standout work on non-defence sector public interest interventions. ‘Top-notch' senior associate Ross Ferguson is ‘extremely, helpful, efficient and nice to work with’.

The ‘responsive’ and ‘client-focused’ team at Ashurst provides ‘partner-led’ and ‘high quality legal advice’ with a ‘very pragmatic and commercial approach’, with an impressive client roster including Coca Cola, Santander and Royal Mail. Nigel Parr and Euan Burrows jointly head the practice which is active across the range of competition law disciplines. Parr has been representing Hargreave Hale in relation to a Financial Conduct Authority’s (‘FCA’) competition law investigation into asset management firms, assisting the client throughout the investigation process and preparing a defence to the FCA’s statement of objections. Other highlights included Ross Mackenzie advising Cardtronics on CMA’s Phase 2 investigation into the client’s $464bn acquisition of DC Payments, Duncan Liddell representing Virgin Media before the CAT in respect of Ofcom’s 2016 Business Connectivity Market Review and Neil Cuninghame acting for Palmer & Harvey McLane in respect of the CMA’s consideration of the Tesco/Booker merger.

The 'excellent' competition practice at Baker McKenzie acts for clients across a wide range of industry sectors including consumer goods and retail, financial services, energy, mining and infrastructure, industrials and technology. Samantha Mobley  heads the firm’s EU, competition and trade practice and is advising Unilever with senior associate Irena Apostopoulos on the acquisition of Latin American consumer goods firm Quala, which required clearance at Phase 1 stage in Mexico and in Phase II in Colombia.  Keith Jones advised British American Tobacco on the acquisition of brands and retail assets of Bulgartabac, requiring regulatory approval in a number of Balkan states. Ross Denton  is noted for his expertise in cartel matters, acting for clients such as Mitsubishi Electric and Fedex. Jonathan Stoodley joined the team in December 2017 as a consultant, having previously worked for the Secretariat-General of the EC.

Clifford Chance LLP  provides a ‘top level of service’, and is ‘always quick to respond and gets to the nub of issues quickly’. The team advises clients across a wide range of industries including financial institutions, healthcare, life sciences, chemicals, TMT and energy. ‘Fantastic’, ‘very smart’ and ‘very experienced’ practice head Alex Nourry acted for ENGIE on the sale of LNG assets to Total, advising on merger filings in the EU and other jurisdictions. The ‘outstandingly responsive, thorough and creative’  Nelson Jung has been involved with a number of the market changing merger control instructions in the past year, including Booker Group’s merger with Tesco, and client Delivery Hero’s sale of Hungry House to Just Eat. Jung and Greg Olsen also secured CMA clearance at Phase 1 of Mastercard’s £700m acquisition of Vocalink without divestment remedies. ‘Superstar’ Jenine Hulsmann has longstanding expertise in the energy, infrastructure, telecoms and media sectors and has recently been assisting Tele2 Sverige with the competition aspects of its Dutch operation with T-Mobile Netherlands. Other clients of the team include CVC, EDF and Pfizer. Elizabeth Sinclair and Laila Wood  are two names of note at senior associate level.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP  stands out for its ‘high-quality legal advice combined with a strong strategic vision’. Global head of practice Stephen Wisking has been advising Sky on the merger control, regulatory and public interest aspects of 21st Century Fox’s proposed £11.7bn acquisition of shares in Sky, as well as representing Sky on the EC’s investigation into the provisions of its licensing agreements with a number of US film studios. ‘Very pragmatic, thoughtful and business-focused’  Susan Black is strong for competition advice in the transport and financial services sectors and recently acted for Hammerson on its £3.4bn offer to purchase the entire share capital of Intu Properties. Black also co-ordinated with André Pretorius in the notification and technical filings across multiple jurisdictions relating to British American Tobacco’s acquisition of a 57.8% stake in Reynolds American. Kim Dietzel continues to act for Virgin Atlantic Airways on a number of regulatory and competition law issues,  including acting alongside ‘proactive’ and ‘perceptive’ senior associate Suzy Campbell  in relation to its joint venture with Delta Airlines and Air France-KLM, as well as the proposed sale of a 31% stake in Virgin Atlantic to Air France-KLM. Senior associate Grace Aylward is recommended as ‘a good practitioner’. Former global head of practice James Quinney retired from practice in April 2017.

Suyong Kim and Angus Coulter  head the practice at Hogan Lovells International LLP , whose client roster includes Vodafone, Korean Air and Mars. The practice is particularly noted for its work in merger control activity in the media and entertainment sphere. Kim and Mark Jones have been representing News Corporation in the CMA Phase 2 merger investigation into the proposed takeover of Sky by 21st Century Fox, while Coulter has been advising Trinity Mirror on its intended acquisition of publishing assets of the Daily Express, Daily Star and OK! magazine among others. Jones also successfully handled the complex competition and public interest issues arising out of Hytera’s public takeover of Sepura, addressing national security concerns and obtaining a swift Phase 1 clearance. Susan Bright is noted for her experience in advising on antitrust investigations in the financial services sector and, while Ciara Kennedy-Loest  is strong for advice in the aerospace and defence, automotive and mobility and energy and natural resources sectors.

The ‘exceptional’ and ‘extremely responsive’ team at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld  'provides a very high level of service, with quick response times, strong industry knowledge and deep bench strength’. Clients of the practice include Singapore Airlines, Lukoil and Goldman Sachs. The ‘extremely responsive and pragmatic’ Davina Garrod heads the practice, and is noted for her ‘encyclopaedic knowledge of the Competition and Markets Authority’. Garrod represented multiple financial institution investors with interests in the bid by 21st Century Fox for Sky Counsel, advising on the process of the bid and the assessment of the competing transactions/bids by each of the EC, the CMA, Ofcom and the Secretary of State. Garrod also assisted Daniel Walsh  with Bridas’ formation of an integrated energy company in Argentina through the combination of Bridas and BP’s interest in Axion. Alaric Green and Sebastian Casselbrant-Multala joined from Slaughter and May and White & Case LLP respectively, while Scott Pettifor was promoted from associate to counsel.

The newly-combined team at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP has ‘excellent client service, good industry knowledge and bench strength’, combining Berwin Leighton Paisner’s (‘BLP’) strength in the financial services, utilities and regulated sectors with Bryan Cave’s expertise in EU and UK merger control for US clients. The firm was appointed to BT’s competition and regulatory panel in May 2017 and Andrew Hockley, head of antitrust and competition at BLP, has since advised on the merger control aspects of BT’s acquisition of IP Trade, including advising on the CMA process, managing the CMA review and achieving phase 1 clearance. James Marshall acts as standing competition and regulatory adviser to Heathrow Airport and is recommended for his ‘calm and effective delivery of advice’ and being ‘pragmatic with advice and sympathetic to the competing demands within an organisation’. ‘Rising star’ Victoria Newbold ‘is very proactive and responsive to client needs, giving solid commercially focussed advice, and is a lovely person to work with’. Chris Bryant is noted for his experience in cartel investigations and state aid matters. From the Bryan Cave side, Robert Bell is recommended as being ‘very responsive’ and ‘providing practical solutions’. One recent highlight saw Bell and Roman Madej  instructed by Novus International in respect of a claim against another company for alleged abuse of dominant position.

Maurits Dolmans heads the ‘highly expert’, ‘responsive’, and ‘rigorous’ practice at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. The practice is renowned for its global merger control work, playing a prominent role in market-leading transactions including the Alstom Siemens merger and The Walt Disney Company’s proposed acquisition of 21st Century Fox. Dolmans has a longstanding relationship with Google; he acted for the client on the CMA study into digital comparison tools, and is currently representing them on the EC’s investigations into alleged abuse of dominant position both in relation to online search and in website advertising. Counsel Paul Gilbert has been advising HarperCollins on the EC’s investigation into ‘most-favoured-nation’ clauses and Amazon’s e-book distribution deals with various publishers. ‘Highly effective drafter and negotiator’ counsel David Little advised Sony on the EU and international competition aspects of the $2.2bn acquisition of EMI Music Publishing. Richard Pepper was promoted to counsel in January 2018, while Nicholas Levy  moved to the firm's London office from Brussels.

Cyrus Mehta heads the ‘excellent’ practice at CMS , which possesses extensive sector knowledge in life sciences, healthcare, energy, financial services, telecoms and consumer products. Mehta ‘has an excellent understanding of the law and the client’s business, and is pragmatic, timely and personable’. Mehta notably acted on the consolidation of the Faster Payments, Bacs and Cheque and Credit Clearing Company payment schemes, which secured a Phase 1 clearances for the parties on 2 July 2017. Life sciences industry expert Brian Sher continued to advise GlaxoSmithKline on the competition law aspects of disputes with generic companies over infringement of trade mark rights in multiple European jurisdictions, while Graeme Young acted for EDP Renováveis on the EU merger control aspects of the joint venture arrangement to develop Scotland’s largest windfarm project. Satyen Dhana left in January 2018 to join Simmons & Simmons .

The 'excellent' Macfarlanes LLP practice ‘is always timely and prepared in all details, with good strategic analysis’, and is ‘always pleasant to work with’. Practice head Malcolm Walton has notable expertise in the pharmaceuticals, consumer and retail and telecoms sectors, with one recent highlight seeing him representing Flynn Pharma in its appeal before the CAT against a decision of the CMA on unfair pricing in the supply of phenytoin sodium capsules in the UK. Walton also advised E2V Technologies on the merger control aspects of its £620m acquisition of Teledyne Technologies. Tom Usher and Fiona Beattie are ‘responsive, clever and commercially minded’. Usher is also ‘a good listener, and excellent at communicating complex issues clearly’ and is noted for assisting with competition law aspects of Ladbrokes’ merger with Coral. Another highlight saw Christophe Humpe act for Freightliner Group on the acquisition of the issued share capital of Pentalver Transport, successfully obtaining Phase 1 clearance from the CMA.

Norton Rose Fulbright is noted for its ‘very practical, pragmatic approach’, with the team noted as ‘excellent in working under pressure and with challenging deadlines’. London office competition practice head Ian Giles ‘is reliable and to the point and gives very balanced and pragmatic advice, with a unique ability to drill down and find the key points in the matter’. Giles acts as lead antitrust advisor to Delta Air Lines in Europe and has been advising the client on its joint venture arrangements with Air France-KLM. The ‘very client-orientated’ Peter Scott was promoted to global head of the firm’s antitrust and competition group following Martin Coleman's departure to become a non-executive director at the CMA. Scott ‘thinks imaginatively and proactively’ and recently assisted Mercer in relation to the CMA’s market investigation concerning the supply and acquisition of investment consultancy services and fiduciary management services.  Mark Tricker provides ‘very user-friendly and actionable advice’, acting for major corporates including Carlsberg, G4S and Reckitt Benckiser.

Pinsent Masons LLP possesses ‘excellent strength in depth’ and demonstrates ‘excellent responsiveness and quality of advice’. Practice head Alan Davis (‘a highly effective operator, equally at home before the CMA as the High Court’) recently represented CST Industries in respect of the CMA’s criminal cartel investigation into the supply of galvanised steel tanks for water storage in the UK. Guy Lougher leads the firm’s cross-disciplinary Brexit advisory team and is noted as having ‘excellent antennae to see the issues coming’. Angelique Bret acted for UKTV, a joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps, in the context of the proposed acquisition of Scripps by Discovery. Also recommended are Caroline Ramsay , who is based in Glasgow and has ‘cutting-edge experience’, and Giles Warrington in Birmingham, who has ‘excellent experience in market investigations’.

Bruce Kilpatrick heads the ‘incredibly attentive’, ‘commercial’, and ‘practical’ team at Addleshaw Goddard, which is especially strong in the financial services, consumer and retail and regulated utility sectors and counts JD Sports, Ofwat and the Department for Transport among its clients. Kilpatrick and associate Michael Speer have been providing multi-jurisdictional merger control guidance to GVC in respect of its recommended offer for Ladbrokes Coral. Rona Bar-Isaac has been acting for Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in relation to the client’s proposed merger to combine with Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Managing associate Al Mangan has been advising SSE on the merger control and competition law issues associated with its investment in the Dogger Bank wind farm.

Bristows LLP is ‘excellent in all fields in competition law’ and is particularly well regarded for its expertise in the IP and TMT sectors, where it provides an ‘inventive’ and ‘highly tailored’ approach to clients including Google, Samsung, International Copyright Enterprise Services, Sony, and ZTE. Practice head Pat Treacy is recommended as ‘the go-to competition counsel in Europe for IP/innovation related matters, delivering outstanding work’. Treacy and Stephen Smith have been advising D&M on an EC investigation into resale price maintenance in the context of e-commerce in the EU, as well as assisting the client with an overhaul of its EU distribution agreements in the light of new market and legal developments and the EC’s Digital Single Market Enquiry. Sophie Lawrance is also noted for her expertise in the technology and pharmaceutical sectors and for forming an ‘outstanding team’ with Treacy.

Sector-focused practice Dentons ‘provides an exceptional level of overall service’, with expertise in energy, financial services, retail, transport, media and government projects. ‘Brilliant competition lawyer’ Adrian Magnus heads the practice and is noted for his ‘blend of legal expertise and commercial acumen’. Magnus acted for PT Pertamina on the competition aspects of its joint venture with Rosneft to construct and operate Indonesia’s first new oil refinery for 22 years and advised for Transport for London on the state aid considerations of its commitment to offer 4G coverage on the London Underground. Other key team members include ‘reliable, helpful and approachable’ counsel Rebecca Owen-Howes and senior associate Christopher Graf (‘definitely a talent’ who ‘goes the extra mile for his clients’). On a national basis the firm’s merger with Maclay, Murray & Spens enlarged the team with the addition of Glasgow-based Michael Dean and Edinburgh-based Catriona Munro .

The 'effective' Sam Szlezinger heads the EU and competition offering at ‘very good firm’ DLA Piper , which ‘provides excellent advice at more competitive rates than magic circle firms’. Szlezinger’s recent highlights include advising JustGiving on the merger control aspects of its acquisition by Blackbaud and advising Heineken on its acquisition of the partial Punch pub estate, working alongside Sarah Smith on merger control questions before the CMA. Alexandra Kamerling (who is noted for giving ‘great advice’ that is ‘practical and commercial’) acted for longstanding client of the competition team, Nisa Retail, in relation to its sale to the Co-Op. Other notable instructions were received from John Menzies, Axalta Coating Systems and OCS.  Legal director Ilan Sherr ‘is an astute, client-friendly and pragmatic lawyer, who is always on top of his work and is very responsive’.

Ros Kellaway ‘leads a gold standard competition law practice’ at Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP , which provides ‘clear, well-argued and thorough analyses’ to clients including Agents’ Mutual, Anglian Water Group and Hermes Airports. ‘Excellent and best in class at what she does’, Kellaway continues to assist Volkswagen Group with strategic and day-to-day competition advice on all aspects of the operation of its UK business. Lesley Farrell acted for Europcar in proceedings against Mastercard and Visa in a claim under Article 101 TFEU in relation to domestic and cross-border multilateral interchange fees, while Peter Harper obtained Phase 1 clearance from the CMA for Fintrax’s acquisition of GB TaxFree. Other recommended team members include ‘calm, sensible and commercial’ FCA procedures expert Julia Woodward-Carlton; ‘methodical, knowledgeable and client-focused’ principal associate Elizabeth Coleman; and ‘experienced’ consultant Nicola Holmes .

The ‘meticulous and friendly’ team at Fieldfisher is led by ‘sharp legal mind’ Charles Whiddington , who is ‘very experienced, pragmatic and able to reduce complex legal matters into easily digestible advice for a client’. Whiddington regularly acts in the energy, transport and life science sectors and has recently counselled NYK and Tokai Rika through EC investigations. ‘Pragmatic specialist’ John Cassels co-heads the regulatory group and is assisting Sazerac with competition, IP and regulatory issues arising from the client’s expansion in the European market. Nicholas Pimlott has wide-ranging competition law experience, with extensive expertise in the media and communications industry, and is recommended for his ‘great attention to detail and patient determination to help the client achieve the best outcome’.

State aid expert Matt Evans heads the ‘very knowledgeable’ team at Jones Day, whose client roster includes Garmin, Linear Technology, Chevron and Goldman Sachs. Evans acted as competition counsel to RPM International in respect of the acquisition by its subsidiary, Universal Sealant, of Ekspan Holdings. Nick Cotter has been defending Mastercard against claims for damages under EU and UK competition law brought by retailers for losses allegedly suffered as a result of Mastercard’s arrangements for the setting of multilateral interchange fees on debit and credit card transactions.

The 'outstanding' Kirkland & Ellis International LLP provides ‘knowledgeable and thoughtful advice’. Team head Paula Riedel ‘has a very calm and pragmatic approach that makes you feel that the issue is well under control’. Riedel and Sally Southwell advised Solera Holdings on its acquisition of Autodata and necessary negotiations with the CMA. Sarah Jordan acted for Creat Group on the antitrust elements of its €940m public takeover of Biotest, constituting one of the largest investments by a Chinese investor in the Western health sector. The team expanded with the hire of Mark Gardner in 2018 from Arnold & Porter.

The practice at Latham & Watkins is jointly headed by Jonathan Parker and John Colahan . Parker has been advising Electro Rent Corporation in relation to the Phase 2 CMA investigation into its merger with Microlease and Test Equipment Asset Management, while Colahan has been representing Viasat in an appeal against Ofcom’s authorisation of ground-based stations operated by Inmarsat Ventures for the provision of broadband services to aircraft. The team has seen an uptick in instructions to its London office, requiring associates Sophia Lange and Anuj Ghai to relocate to London from the firm's Brussels office. John Kallaugher is also recommended.

The practice at Simmons & Simmons has particular strengths in the financial, energy, and TMT sectors. Charles Bankes now heads the team, following the retirement of previous co-head Tony Woodgate in October 2017; Bankes is noted for his strength in utilities sector advice. The team recruited Satyen Dhana from CMS, adding his experience and expertise in the area of the application of competition law to financial services. Dhana ‘combines considerable knowledge with sound commercial acumen and a keen regard for detail’. Highlights included advising on the competition law aspects of a ten-year $1bn collaborative investment fund to tackle climate change for the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative and assisting SEI with the CMA’s market investigation into investment consultancy and fiduciary management services.

Travers Smith LLP fields ‘a high-quality competition practice’ that is ‘responsive, knowledgeable, and very user friendly’. ‘Top-notch’ practice head Nigel Seay ‘is highly skilled and an excellent strategist’, whose key clients include Bridgepoint, 3i Infrastructure and Schott. Stephen Whitfield is a key partner for the team and ‘is an approachable and very practical lawyer who is easy to get on with’. Seay and Whitfield have been acting for longstanding client Shazam on its sale to tech giant Apple in the EC’s investigation, an especially notable project at a time of heightened concern over tech mergers by merger control authorities. The team is also active in EU and UK market and cartel investigations and provides strategic compliance advice.

The 'superb' Arnold & Porter is ‘always speedy, highly pragmatic and business-friendly with its advice and approach’, with the London competition team operating as a single EU competition practice with the teams in Frankfurt and Brussels. John Schmidt recently joined the firm as practice head from Shepherd and Wedderburn, while former head Tim Frazer retired from private practice to join the CAT Ordinary Members Panel. Schmidt’s practice is particularly focused in the life sciences, consumer goods, finance and infrastructure sectors. Highlight projects included handling competition considerations for Monsanto in respect of its merger with Bayer and advising long term client Mondeléz on alleged trade mark abandonment stemming from the return of manufacturing assets and licences of the Kraft and Bull’s Eye trademarks. Mark Gardner joined Kirkland & Ellis International LLP in December 2017.

The Bristol-based practice at Burges Salmon LLP is led by Laura Claydon and has significant sector experience in transport, retail, sport and healthcare sectors, among others. Claydon represented Somerfield Stores and Co-Operative Group in a judicial review claim brought against the CMA, as successor to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), in respect of the OFT’s  conduct in relation to an investigation into potential infringements in the retail pricing of tobacco products. The team strengthened in June 2017 with the hire of Chris Worall from Clifford Chance LLP, who has assisted a number of well-known clients including Abelllio and Yeo Valley since joining the practice. Michael Barlow was instructed by OFWAT on the development of its main regulatory work for the water and sewerage sector.

The 'excellent' Dickson Minto WS is recommended for ‘fast responses and transparency on costs, timing and quality’. The firm acts for a number of large private equity houses including Compass Partners, Caird Capital and Vitruvian Partners. ‘Excellent competition lawyer’ Ajal Notowicz is ‘very knowledgeable’ and ‘very good at explaining things in simple terms and providing clear, practical advice’. Representative projects saw Notowicz and associate Maria Ziprani advise Tangerine Confectionary on the UK competition law aspects of its auction sale of the Butterkist popcorn brand and instructed by BC Partners on the acquisition of assets of the DentalPro brand in Italy. Other clients include AG Barr, Aggreko, Allflex, and Wireless Infrastructure Group.

Gowling WLG is ‘highly knowledgeable’ and provides ‘professional service, with queries answered clearly’. Sector expertise of the team includes agriculture, construction, food and drink, life sciences and technology. Head of team Bernardine Adkins acted for Fayat on its acquisition of the Dynapac business from Atlas Copco and has been advising Mazda Motors alongside director Samuel Beighton on a range of competition issues arising from its use of a virtual showroom. The team also acted for Origin on its acquisition of the business of Bunn Fertilisers and its notification to the CMA. Associate Rory Jones is recommended for ‘providing clear and cogent advice’. The team added experienced competition and trade regulation lawyer Vincent Smith as of counsel in January 2018.

Greenberg Traurig's ‘co-operative’ team of ‘true professionals’ is led by Gillian Sproul, who advised Capita on the antitrust aspects of its sale of Capita Asset Services to Link Group following an auction process. Lisa Navarro and senior associate Simon Harms, who ‘are equally excellent, with great time management skills’, undertook a worldwide merger control filings analysis for AstraZeneca concerning the divestment of rights to a migraine treatment to Grünenthal. The team also advised Rentokil Initial on the antitrust aspects of its joint venture with Franz Haniel & Cie.

The 'flexible' practice at K&L Gates LLP  is praised for its ‘in-depth analysis’ and ‘good knowledge of its clients’ needs’. Key strengths of the practice include work for manufacturers in the automotive sector, vertical agreements practice, sports competition matters and mining and metals projects. Senior partner Neil Baylis heads the team, assisted by Jennifer Marsh and senior associate Gabriela Da Costa . Highlights included acting for Balmoral Tanks in connection with the CMA’s investigation into the supply of galvanised steel tanks and representing Ping before the CAT in its appeal against a CMA decision finding that Ping had breached competition law by prohibiting online sales of custom fitted golf clubs. Other clients include Arena Racing Company, Continental, World Wrestling Entertainment and Orica Group.

The team at Mayer Brown International LLP is noted for its ‘specialist market knowledge’. David Harrison co-heads the firm’s European antitrust and competition practice and acted alongside corporate partner Richard Smith forTouchstone Innovations in connection with its takeover by IP Group, which was conditional on Phase 1 clearance by the CMA. In another key matter, Harrison and of counsel Warsha Kalé have been advising CITIC Telecom CPC on the worldwide merger control aspects of its acquisition of the telecommunication assets of Linx Telecommunications. Julian Ellison, who splits his time between the firm’s London and Brussels offices, handles UK merger cases, EU second phase cases and public procurement issues involving a number of leading public and private sector projects.

The 'responsive' Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP has ‘great industry knowledge’ and provides ‘concise, strategic advice’. The team is particularly strong for technology matters, counting Crane Co, Sony, IronPlanet, Telenor and Paypal among its clients. Douglas Lahnborg and senior associate Matthew Rose are ‘technically excellent’, with ‘in-depth industry knowledge, a strategic approach and encyclopaedic knowledge’. Lahnborg and Rose handled the merger control aspects of Infracapital’s joint venture with Nokia to build, own and operate a fibre optic broadband network across Poland. Other highlights included advising Marubeni Corporation on its acquisition of Creekstone Farms Premium Beef and advising on the EU merger control aspects of intu properties’ joint venture with LaSalle to jointly own the intu Chapelfield Shopping Centre. Managing asociate Saira Henry is also recommended.

Reed Smith LLP 's sector strengths include life sciences, aviation, consumer goods, trade and commodities, with a particular emphasis on the shipping sector. The team is led by Edward Miller and Marjorie Holmes , who is praised for her ‘experience’ and ‘excellent knowledge’. Holmes assisted longstanding client OOCL with its $6.3bn acquisition by COSCO Shipping, addressing concerns for the competition commissions in Europe, Israel and Canada as to whether the market share of the combined entity would create a dominant position. Miller advised Macquarie Bank on the merger control considerations of its acquisition of assets of Cargill’s global petroleum business, carrying out global merger control analysis and advising the client where notifications were needed. Other clients of the practice include Channel 4, APM Terminals and International Beverages Group.

Shearman & Sterling LLP 's ‘highly expert and experienced’ team provides ‘pragmatic and relevant advice’. Recommended practice head Matthew Readings is noted for his experience in the financial services sector and is currently representing an international financial institution in investigations into alleged manipulation of the $1.5bn government-sponsored bond market. James Webber (‘highly responsive, very thoughtful, clear and concise with advice’) has broad experience covering merger control, behaviour competition, state aid and litigation, with clients in a wide range of industries. Webber has been advising Albemarle Corporation on the sale of its Polyolefin catalyst and catalyst components business to W.R. Grace & Co, requiring merger filings in Germany, Korea and the US. Christopher Bright retired from legal practice in January 2018.

Taylor Wessing LLP ‘provides great advice in a timely manner’ with ‘excellent service’, and ‘is particularly good at ensuring focus is kept on a client’s priorities’. The ‘strategically excellent’ Robert Vidal heads the team, which is particularly strong in the pharmaceuticals and technology sectors. Vidal is assisted by senior counsel Louisa Penny, who is recommended as ‘proactive and strategic in finding solutions in a heavily regulated area’. Vidal and Penny advised financial comparison website operator money.co.uk on its £140m sale to ZPG and handled the competition concerns relating to pharmaceutical company Teva’s sale of assets to Accord. Richard Craig departed in January 2018 to join Latham & Watkins.

Peter Willis co-heads the practice at Bird & Bird LLP with Brussels-based José Rivas . Willis advises on investigations by competition authorities and regulators, cartel leniency applications, sector enquiries, complaints and merger filings, with particular expertise in the energy and utilities sector. Richard Eccles has experience in the life sciences, IT, electronic communications, postal services, broadcasting and public service sectors. Associate Ariane Le Strat is recommended.

The 'excellent' team at Charles Russell Speechlys LLP is jointly headed by Paul Henty and Paul Stone . Henty has over 15 years’ experience advising on cartel law, abuse of dominance, merger control and state aid, and recently advised on the merger control and antitrust due diligence aspects of Wisdom Tree Investments’ acquisition of exchange-traded securities, funds and commodities provider ETFS. The ‘efficient and effective’ Stone acted for Gamma Communications in relation to the appeal to the CAT against Ofcom’s decision in the Business Connectivity Market Review 2016. Other recent significant EU and competition projects were handled for ITV, Ineos and the British Orthodontic Society.

DAC Beachcroft LLP provides a ‘can-do’, ‘highly pragmatic’ approach and ‘in-depth knowledge’, with a focus on regulated or public sectors, including healthcare, financial services and postal services. Practice head Alexandra von Westernhagen (who is noted for her ‘diverse knowledge of EU law’ and ‘ability to explain complex topics in clear terms’) assisted with the re-notification of the Development Bank of Wales’ Rescue & Restructuring Fund for SMEs for approval to the EC. Legal director David Harrison has been advising Royal Mail and The Association of Independent Healthcare Organisations on competition law and regulatory issues in relation to UK and EU law.

The ‘very talented and efficient’ Oliver Bretz heads the offering at boutique competition law firm Euclid Law . Bretz, a founding partner of the firm, is described as ‘exceptionally good with clients’, with an ‘understanding of their concerns and developing a strategy to suit their needs’. Bretz is especially strong for banking and finance concerns, and has been assisting a major investment bank in relation to the EC’s cartel investigation into FOREX manipulation. The practice is familiar with working with regulators as well as companies, with Marie Leppard and Bretz appointed to assist and advise the European Commission with a market study in relation to loan syndication in Europe. Senior consultant Gavin Robert is ‘a highly specialised competition professional with a unique understanding of the rules and regulations’, and is noted for his experience in private practice and as a panel member at the CMA. Also recommended is the ‘very hard working and capable’ Sarah Long ,  who worked alongside Bretz on the competition concerns arising from Statoil’s acquisition of the retail fuel network of Shell in Denmark.

The 'very strategic' Tobias Caspary heads up the EU, antitrust and competition practice at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP, which has ‘superb merger control lawyers’ who are ‘easy to work with and always keen to find pragmatic solutions’. Caspary acted as counsel to Francisco Partners on the sale of a minority interest in the BluJay Solutions Group to Temasek and worked with Novelis on its establishment of a joint venture with Kobe Steel in South Korea, on which he was assisted by associates Neda Moussavi and Max Küttner .  The practice assists an impressive list of private equity clients including AEA Investors, New Mountain Capital and HPS Investment Partners, as well as working for big name corporates including Jacobs Engineering, Google and Tapestry.

Anthony Woolich (who is noted for his ‘keen analytical mind’ and ‘good grasp of the commercial impact’) heads the ‘professional’, ‘responsive’, and ‘client-focused’ team at HFW,  which includes Costas Frangeskides and Daniel Martin , and whose sector expertise includes shipping, aviation, logistics, energy and TMT. Woolich acted for BW LPG in the merger control aspects of its acquisition of Aurora LPG, while Frangeskides is currently representing the Republic of Cyprus in high profile proceedings before the European Court of Justice concerning the potential free trade agreement between Singapore and the EU. The firm also counts Maersk Group, BP, Morgan Stanely, ad Ecom Agroindustrial Corporation among its clients.

The 'outstanding' team at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP has ‘a depth of skills and commitment and an exceptionally professional approach to every element’, and ‘it is a thoroughly enjoyable experience to work with the firm’. Head of department and London office managing partner Frances Murphy is ‘a truly outstanding lawyer’, who ‘combines a steely resolve with fine judgement’. Murphy has been leading Concordia’s defence of eight separate investigation by the CMA, including one into an alleged market-sharing arrangement with Auden McKenzie for the supply of hydrocortisone. Murphy is assisted on the advice to Concordia by a large team including Omar Shah, Joanna Christoforou and 'very bright and able' litigation associate Owen Hammond . Other team highlights include Shah advising The London Metal Exchange on competition and public law issues arising out of a decision to impose charge capping and Murphy advising AstraZeneca on a range of complex competition issues.

Martin Rees and Diarmuid Ryan head the ‘responsive’ and ‘always accessible’ team at Squire Patton Boggs , which provides ‘pragmatic’ advice and ‘first class service’ across a number of sectors including TMT and life sciences. Rees has been acting for Cathay Pacific in the EC cartel investigation in the Airfreight case, while Ryan is advising Vp on the CMA’s review of its acquisition of Brandon Hire Group. Senior associate Gráinne Morrissey joined the team from Ofcom in November 2017.

Marta Garcia  (who is ‘very thorough’ and provides ‘pragmatic recommendations’) heads the department at the ‘incredibly responsive and commercially astute’ Stephenson Harwood . Garcia advised HC-One on the merger control aspects of its £300m acquisition of a portfolio of care homes from Bupa, with assistance from associates Anna Victoria Delahey and Rhiannon Davies . Garcia and Davies also advised on the merger control aspects of LaSalle Investment Management’s interests in a joint venture with intu in relation to the Chapelfield shopping centure in Norwich. The team has strengths in a number of sectors, including transport, financial services, life sciences, and energy.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP provides an ‘outstanding level of service’ for EU and competition law matters, with particular niche advice in financial services and ‘expertise and knowledge of how the FCA works’. ‘Excellent competition lawyer’ Juan Rodriguez heads the practice and is noted for his ‘great technical and commercial skills’ and ‘spot-on judgment’. Rodriguez has been advising Bayer on the competition law aspects of its proposed $66bn acquisition of Monsanto, as well as the concerns surrounding its entry into four asset purchase agreements with BASF.  European counsel Axel Beckmerhagen  is a key figure for competition law advice in the London office, while associate Michael Engel is noted as ‘a remarkable and talented competition lawyer’.

The 'very good and reliable' team at White & Case LLP is jointly led by EMEA competition head Mark Powell and the ‘technically strong and commercially astute’ Marc Israel. Israel, who joined the practice in January 2017, ‘provides very carefully thought through advice showing clear and sensible judgement’. His highlights since joining the firm included advising Bridgepoint on the merger control aspects of its investment in Zenith, the UK’s largest independent vehicle leading business and advising HgCapital on the antitrust aspects of its further £4.2bn investment into Visma. Other clients of the practice include Anchorage Capital, Toshiba, Pfizer and Nespresso.

The practice at Winston & Strawn London LLP continues to be active in cartel and competition investigations, state aid, and merger control work, in addition to providing strategic competition law advice. Managing partner Peter Crowther is the key figure for competition matters and is ‘very responsive and has a good sense of business/commercial considerations’. Crowther is supported by associate Jade-Alexandra Fearns , who splits her time between London and Brussels. The pair have been advising reinsurance conglomerate XL Catlin on its significant competition and EU sanctions concerns. The team was also instructed by Sberbank on its application to the General Court to remove EU capital market access restrictions.

James Ashe-Taylor leads the team at Constantine Cannon LLP ,  which has a particular focus on the telecoms, automotive, airlines, and payment systems sectors, and includes Richard Pike (who is ‘extremely personable’, ‘knows his sectors’ and provides ‘detailed technical knowledge’) and associates Irene Fraile and Yulia Tosheva . The practice is active in merger control, strategic competition and compliance advice, and antitrust investigations, and counts Three, British Airways, Boots UK, and Brookfield Utilities UK No 2 Limited among its clients.

The practice at Cooley (UK) LLP is ‘responsive and gives good advice with the right level of detail’ and is noted for its significant experience in the e-commerce, TMT and life sciences sectors, as well as handling consumer protection matters. Practice head Becket McGrath ‘has an academic approach and level of knowledge, yet adapts those skills to the client's commercial needs’. Becket’s headline projects include advising Zenith Hygiene on the CMA’s review of its acquisition by Bain Capital, and working as part of a cross-office team with the Washington DC and Boston offices to handle client SilverRail’s sale to Expedia.

The practice at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is headed by Timothy McIver , who handles a wide range of EU and UK competition law matters and specialises in securing regulatory clearances for complex international M&A and for advising on complex merger investigations before the EC and CMA. The practice is particularly strong in the financial services, technology, chemicals, telecoms and private equity sectors. McIver is acting alongside New York-based Daniel Abuhoff  to secure global merger control approvals for Discovery Communications on its acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive, and has been advising AIG on the merger control aspects of several transactions with Fairfax Financial Holdings. Other key clients of the practice include Helios Investment Partners, Dynamic Technologies and AmTrust Financial Services.

The 'excellent' practice at Ince & Co delivers strong expertise in the shipping and aviation sectors. Consultant Alison Marriott and associate James Foley successfully acted for Japanese shipping line NYK on EU proceedings concerning alleged ‘pricing signaling’ in the container shipping sector.  On the aviation side, Gillie Belsham has been retained by Air New Zealand to advise on ongoing competition compliance work. Managing associate Solange Leandro is noted for her ‘great experience and outstanding quality of work’. Clients of the practice outside of oil and shipping include RasGas and MSC Cruises.

Mishcon de Reya LLP 's competition law team is headed by Rob Murray , who represented Gina Miller in her judicial review claim against the government in respect of the procedural steps necessary to trigger Article 50, the mechanism for UK to leave the EU. The practice has also received a number of significant instructions arising from the food retail sector, with Sarah Houghton advising one significant supermarket on a potential complaint to the CMA regarding the use of restrictive covenants over land by a competitor and Andrij Jurkiw representing a client on the CMA’s investigation into alleged anti-competitive conduct relating to the sale of single wrapped impulse ice cream.

The ‘excellent’ team at Osborne Clarke LLP is ‘very prompt, very enthusiastic, approachable and pragmatic’, with the technology, media & telecoms and retail sectors areas of strength and holding a niche in advising on procurement and merger control issues around rail franchising. The ‘vastly knowledgeable’ Simon Neill heads the department; he provides day-to-day competition advice to Danone UK and its subsidiaries and assisted matchesfashion.com with the merger control aspects of the sale of a majority stake to Apax Partners. Neill has recently been working with ‘excellent’ associate director Katherine Kirrage on the provision of strategic competition law advice to Admiral Group. State aid expert Marc Shrimpling and associate director Jeremy Godley are recommended.

The 'strong' RPC offering is noted for its experience in pricing and competition advisory matters, with a ‘very responsive’ service. Head of team Lambros Kilaniotis is ‘exceptionally good to work with and highly intelligent’; he advises on CMA and EU investigations (including dawn raids), CAT and High Court litigation and merger control matters in his portfolio. Kilaniotis is supported by the ‘always extremely responsive and commercial’ senior associate Melanie Musgrave ,  who works closely with significant clients including ASOS and Coca Cola. Highlights included Kilaniotis and Musgrave working with the firm’s corporate team in respect of Sports Direct’s sale of its rights to the Dunlop brand and related wholesale and licensing businesses to Sumitomo Rubber Industries and the pair providing strategic competition advice to RSA in relation to its commercial arrangements. Recent changes saw Chris Ross promoted to partnership, while Jonathan Cary returned to London after a three year stint in the firm’s Asia offices.

The ‘down-to-earth’ practice at Shepherd and Wedderburn delivers ‘high quality specialist advice’ and ‘hands-on attention from partners’, with a client roster which includes Teva, BT, Skyscanner and Heineken.  The firm’s competition team is now led by Gordon Moir following John Schmidt's departure to Arnold & Porter. Moir and solicitor advocate John MacKenzie continued to act for the European Competitive Telecoms Association on its intervention on behalf of the EC in the case of Orange Polska v EC. Consultant Annemaree McDonough is noted for her experience in regulatory matters in the telecoms sector, while Guy Harvey and Claire Stockford are important team members on the contentious competition side.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP services the full spectrum of EU law and competition law concerns, with particular prominence in the transport, energy and natural resources sectors. Practice head Jeremy Robinson is well-known as an expert in the transport sector and advises on the implications of Brexit in the aviation sector; he and senior associate Vineet Budhiraja work with ASM Global Route Development to offer advice and support to airports on their competition and aviation regulatory obligations. Thomas Ross joined the team from Ropes & Gray LLP.

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