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Mexico > Competition and antitrust > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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  1. Competition and antitrust
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Creel, García-Cuéllar, Aiza y Enríquez, S.C.’s market-leading team is praised for its ‘excellent response times’ and ‘business knowledge’. Practice head Luis Gerardo García is considered one of the ‘best antitrust lawyers in the market’, ‘always giving innovative solutions’, and fellow partner Mauricio Serralde also has a strong reputation. With a wide-ranging practice, the firm has been involved in some of the larger merger clearances and investigations in the market. Significant mandates included acting as co-counsel to Anheuser-Busch InBev on the domestic aspects of its SABMiller takeover. Another highlight was advising Nokia Corporation on the pre-merger filing connected to its global takeover of Alcatel-Lucent. Other major clients include KKR, AT&T, BlackRock, Delta Air Lines and Sanofi.

Christian Lippert and Carlos Chávez jointly lead the very strong team at Galicia Abogados SC, which handles an impressive range of merger control filings and cartel and market investigations. The firm has invested heavily in the practice, with Lippert and Chávez backed up by a team of nine associates. On the investigations side, the firm has been advising Grupo México in an ongoing case involving railroad concessions in Mexico. The firm’s active M&A team also ensures a regular flow of transactional work, with recent highlights including advising El Puerto de Liverpool on its acquisition of the retailer Suburbia, from Wal-Mart Mexico. The firm also benefits from the expertise of administrative litigator Daniel Amézquita.

Hogan Lovells BSTL, S.C. provides ‘an excellent service’ and is among the firms which ‘dominate the sector’. The group has ‘excellent contacts’ and a ‘highly skilled’ team of lawyers. Hugely respected lead partners Omar Guerrero and Ricardo Pons are both praised for their ‘extensive knowledge of the area and their excellent customer service’. The group has expertise across merger control and investigations of vertical and horizontal monopolistic practices. A major highlight on the contentious side was successfully defending two individuals from the Mexican stock trading company Industrias Bachoco, against charges of price fixing in the poultry industry. On the merger control side, the firm advised on the clearance of ACE Limited’s acquisition of The Chubb Corporation. Other recent clients include Dell, General Electric, and Ningbo Joyson.

Von Wobeser y Sierra, SC has a dedicated eight-lawyer team led by the ‘deeply committedFernando Carreño, who is considered ‘one of the top counsel to go to in Mexico’. He is backed up by a ‘top-notch’, ‘business-oriented’ and ‘fantastically responsive’ team with ‘a real client obsession’. Key individuals include litigation partner Fernando Moreno for investigations work; and senior associate José Palomar, who has recently returned from a spell in New York. The firm has strong expertise in merger clearance, as well as major cartel and market investigations. Recent highlights on the non-contentious side included acting as co-counsel to Anheuser-Busch InBev on the significant domestic merger clearance issues related to its global takeover of SAB Miller. On the investigations front, the firm represented Mexican airline Volaris in relation to COFECE’s market investigation into the allocation of slots at Mexico City airport. Other clients include BMW, Mars and Nissan.

Basham, Ringe y Correa, S.C. covers all areas of antitrust law, and group head Amilcar Peredo is particularly well regarded in the market. The practice attracts a significant flow of work from an impressive list of longstanding clients, but is also a referral favourite for major US firms. It has seen an increasing amount of investigations work, and recently assisted Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in achieving a successful outcome from an investigation into alleged cartel behaviour in the automotive industry. The firm also advised Coca-Cola on the pre-merger notification for its acquisition of the Ades drinks business from Unilever, which received unconditional approval. Senior associate Sara Gutierrez is also recommended.

Jones Day’s strong and popular team is jointly led by Gabriel Altamirano and Bertha Ordaz-Avilés. Major international clients benefit greatly from the Mexico office’s close links to the rest of the firm’s global network. The group had an active year in merger clearance work, and provided local antitrust advice to Newell Rubbermaid concerning its $15.4bn takeover of Jarden Corporation. Another highlight was advising Cardinal Health on the domestic merger clearance for its acquisition of Johnson & Johnson’s Cordis business. The firm also advised clients in relation to a variety of investigations in the pharmaceutical, transport and movie industries.

Mijares, Angoitia, Cortés y Fuentes S.C. has an active practice with experience across contentious and non-contentious competition and antitrust matters. Its expertise goes beyond dealing with COFECE, as it also regularly deals with the Federal Telecommunications Institute (FTI). This experience stems from the firm’s continuing work for TV broadcaster Grupo Televisa on a range of regulatory and antitrust matters, including investigations by the FTI concerning alleged price fixing and market division, and novel issues linked to the new Telecommunications Law and Antitrust Law. On the merger clearance side, the firm advised IEnova Gasoductos on its acquisition of a 50% stake in Gasoductos de Chihuaha from Pemex. The highly rated team is jointly led by Francisco Fuentes Ostos and Pilar Mata Fernández.

SAI Consultores, S.C. takes a novel approach in fielding a combined team of lawyers and economists, with antitrust and competition being one of its key areas of practice (international trade being the other). Lucía Ojeda leads the team, which advises on merger clearance and also acts in contentious areas such as cartel investigations. Highlights included representing Ternium Mexico, a manufacturer of iron products, in relation to an investigation into charges in the railway freight public transportation market. On the transactional front, the firm advised Grupo MVS on the sale of MVS Multivisión to Telcel, Mexico’s largest mobile telecoms company. Other clients include Kimberley-Clark Mexico and Supermercados Internacionales H-E-B.

Ernesto Duhne leads an active practice at Santamarina y Steta, where he is backed up by Jorge Barrero and Vicente Grau on the corporate side, and Mariano Calderón on contentious matters. The firm is highly experienced in merger clearance, recently handling the Mexican aspects of Marriott International’s takeover of Starwood International Hotels & Resorts, and Schlumberger’s acquisition of Cameron International. The team is also involved in some highly sensitive disputes with the regulators, involving claims of anti-competitive behaviour. It is well-versed in cartel investigations, and provides dawn raid training to clients.

Valdés Abascal Abogados, S.C. is an extremely well regarded boutique, led by one of the discipline’s foremost experts Rafael Valdés Abascal. The six-lawyer firm handles contentious and non-contentious matters, but is particularly recommended for its advice to clients facing major investigations and antitrust cases which go to court. It represented mobile telecoms company Telefónica Movistar before the federal courts concerning claims of exclusionary practices and abuse of dominance against América Móvil and its wireless and fixed telephone companies Telcel and Telmex. On the merger control side, the team advised CMA CGM on the pre-merger notification for its acquisition of North Orient Lines’ container liner shipping business. The firm will miss José Ángel Santiago Ábrego, who left in 2016 to found his own firm, Aegis Estudio Juridico.

Raymundo Enriquez leads the active three-lawyer team at Baker McKenzie S.C., which represents an impressive range of international clients. The majority of the group’s work is on merger clearance matters, but it has recently seen a marked increase in investigations and related contentious advice. On the transactional side, it advised General Electric on the merger clearance for the sale of its appliance business to Haier. The team also advised Constellation Brands on competition issues related to its acquisition of a brewery from Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Castañeda y Asociados is a small but extremely well regarded boutique led by highly experienced name partner Gabriel Castañeda, a former executive secretary of the Federal Competition Commission (as it was known at the time). The team, which includes several economists as well as lawyers, handles pre-merger filings and broader antitrust issues. Ricardo Hernández also has a strong reputation.

González Calvillo, SC enters the ranking on the back of some impressive work and the excellent market reputation of lead partner Cristina Massa, formerly a commissioner in the Federal Competition Commission. The team is experienced in pre-merger filings, and assisted Allergan in securing approval for the sale of its generics unit to Teva Pharmaceuticals. The firm also acted for E.I. DuPont de Nemours in obtaining domestic clearance for its global merger with Dow Chemical Company. The firm is active on the investigations side, and represented American Airlines throughout COFECE’s investigation into airline slots at Mexico City Airport.

Jointly led by Víctor Manuel Frías Garcés and Miguel Flores Bernés (a former commissioner at the Competition Commission), the team at Greenberg Traurig, S.C. provides ‘an excellent service’, covering both the contentious and transactional sides of antitrust law. A major highlight was advising Mexico City Airport regarding COFECE’s investigation into the airport’s slots allocation process. The team also successfully represented Grupo Biopappel in challenging conditions initially imposed on its takeover of Scribe.

Jáuregui y Del Valle, S.C. has an expanding practice that recently saw Citlali Pérez Rentería promoted to partner. David Hurtado Badiola, who also advises on international trade matters, leads the team, which advises domestic and international clients on contentious and non-contentious antitrust issues, such as merger clearances and cartel investigations. It regularly advises Colgate-Palmolive on antitrust issues related to its distribution, sales and joint venture agreements. Other major clients are SAB Miller, General Motors de Mexico, American Standard, Saint-Gobain Mexico and Suzuki.

Iker Arriola heads the team at White & Case S.C., which delivers ‘exceptional customer service’ and has ‘great industry knowledge’. Arriola, who has ‘a deep understanding, not only of the legal aspects of antitrust but also the economic aspects’, is backed up by key partners such as Antonio Cárdenas (for some, ‘the best antitrust litigator in Mexico’) and Ismael Reyes Retana. The firm was involved in several major cartel investigations, and represented Principal Grupo Financiero, a leading pensions fund manager, on COFECE’s investigation into alleged cartel activity in the pensions sector. On the merger control side, a major highlight was advising the Chinese home appliance manufacturer, Haier, on the clearance for its $5.4bn acquisition of MABE from GE.

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