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Kim & Changseems to work around the clock, and is geared towards the timelines and demands of European clients’ says a client based in Europe, exemplifying a global reach of the firm. Practice head Kyung Taek Jung secured a significant reduction in a fine imposed on Audi Volkswagen Korea following the company’s violation of the Fair Labelling and Advertising Act. The team was also successful in persuading the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) to discontinue a number of abuse of trade and cartel investigations: in one example Young Hoon Byun (who has ‘excellent communication skills both in Korean and Japanese’) and Kee-Hong Chun secured a non-violation decision from the KFTC following its investigation into an alleged abuse of a trade position by AGC-Asahi Glass Fine Techno Korea. On the non-contentious side, the practice handles many of the major merger filings in South Korea, and Youngjin Jung, Gene-Oh Kim, and Jae-Hoon Cheong assisted Samsung Electronics with merger approval for its acquisition of Harman International Industries. Senior foreign attorney Jung Won Hyun is another key individual for merger control work.

Lee & Ko’s substantial practice, which includes an in-house group of economists who have experience in Korea and the US, is noted for the depth of its expertise. The team continued to be instructed on major international cartel cases in sectors such as financial services and auto parts; practice co-head Hwan Jeong, Min-Ho Lee, and Hyun Chul Kim successfully represented a client in relation to the KFTC’s investigation into an automatic compressor cartel, and the team also had key roles in Libor, the certificate of deposit rate manipulation cases, and the FX cartel investigations. In other contentious highlights, Jeong and Pyoung Keun Song successfully represented CJ CGV in the Seoul High Court in appealing the KFTC’s finding that CJ CGV and Lotte Cinemas’ screening practices were an abuse of market power. The team was also busy in the merger control space, with practice co-head Yong Seok Ahn and Jeong-Ho Sun assisting Wilh.Wilhelmsen and Wallenius Lines with the KFTC’s unconditional clearance of the merger between Wallroll and Wilh.Wilhelmsen.

Shin & Kimprovides proper, quick and practical solutions’ to a range of domestic and international clients including Linde, NongHyup Bank and British Airways. The practice is led by Young Chul Yim, who is part of a team representing Qualcomm in two appeals in the Supreme Court and the Seoul High Court relating to abuse of dominance. In another contentious highlight, senior foreign attorney John Choi, Daeyong Baek, Byung-Il Im, and senior foreign attorney Philippe Shin successfully represented Daimler Trucks Korea in its appeal in the Seoul High Court against the KFTC’s finding that the company colluded in fixing sales prices by exchanging information. On the non-contentious side Hyun Ah Kim and Otae Kwon acted for China National Chemical in obtaining merger clearance from the KFTC for its acquisition of all the publicly registered shares of Syngenta. Other names to note are ‘thoughtful and calm advisorChang-young Cho and recently promoted partner Sohyun Hong, who provides ‘diligent analysis’.

Yulchon stands out for its ‘commercial and technically good advice and strategic approach’. The team was once again active in the merger control sphere, with ‘excellent’ senior foreign counsel Cecil Saehoon Chung advising on Marriott International’s $12.4bn acquisition of Starwood. Chung also handles contentious mandates and, together with Sung Bom Park, successfully represented Schaeffler before the Seoul High Court in an appeal to overturn an administrative fine arising from industrial bearing cartel allegations. In one of the year’s most significant cases, Park and Jeong Yeol Choe defended Qualcomm before the KFTC in a dispute rights. Another key figure is senior foreign counsel Seuk Joon Lee, who primarily practices in the areas of antitrust, medicine and pharmaceutical, and broadcasting and telecoms. Lee and Chung secured antitrust clearance from the KFTC for Boehringer Ingelheim International’s $25bn business swap with Sanofi. Managing partner Sai Ree Yun and Hae Sik Park head the department.

Bae, Kim & Lee LLC’s practice is led by Yunsoo Kim, who was part of a large team representing Samsung Electronics, Apple and LG Electronics in support of the KFTC’s investigation into Qualcomm’s licensing practices. Kim, together with Keumseok Oh and senior foreign attorney Sanghoon Shin, also successfully acted for LG Uplus in challenging the merger of SK Telecom and CJ HelloVision. The practice has experience beyond objector mandates, and in one example Oh, Shin and Ryan Il Kang successfully represented Tata Daewoo Commercial Vehicles in an appeal in the Seoul High Court against a fine imposed by the KFTC arising from the company’s alleged involvement in a price-fixing cartel. Other names to note are Seong Un Yun and recently promoted partner Junhyun Song.

At Yoon & Yang LLC, name partner Hoil Yoon, who has a very strong reputation in the market, and Seong-Sig Kim head the practice, and are highly active in contentious mandates. Yoon led a team that successfully acted for Man Truck & Bus Korea in the Supreme Court in annulling a corrective order and an order for payment of a surcharge imposed by the KFTC for an alleged cartel; and Kim, together with Song Ryu, successfully represented various energy plant companies in an unfair trade practices case in the Supreme Court. The practice also handles domestic and cross-border merger clearance matters, and has considerable expertise in the TMT sector through Kenneth Kim and recently promoted partner Chang Ho Kum.

At Jipyong, practice co-head Gee-Hong Kim was particularly active in contentious mandates arising in the construction industry; in one example he is defending Hyundai Engineering and Construction, in a civil action alleging collusion in the bid for construction of the Honam high-speed railway. Sang-Jun Kim, who co-heads the practice, successfully represented AhnLab in an investigation by the Fair Trade Commission pertaining to unfair solicitation and employment of manpower from a company in a different IT field. On the non-contentious side, Cheol Jeong assisted SK Holdings with the merger control aspects of its combination with Socar.

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