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Clients of Burges Salmon LLP’s competition department attracts praise for its ‘partner-led service and prompt response times’. The team is highly experienced in UK merger control aspects of acquisition and disposal transactions, with particular emphasis in the transport, sport, retail and water sectors, and is advising Ofwat on a host of issues regarding the regulation agency’s Water 2020 programme. Practice head Laura Claydon is assisting FirstGroup with merger control aspects of its bid for the TransPennine Express franchise. Claydon’s competition team advised on the £117m sale of 298 of the client’s stores to McColls. Alongside the London projects team, state aid-specialists Stephanie Rickard and John Houlden are acting for Greater London Authority and TfL on the procurement and state aid strategy for multiple regeneration projects in London. In addition to the group’s non-contentious work, Claydon, Noel Beale and Brian Wong have experience in competition litigation; recent work includes acting for Co-operative Group and Somerfield Stores in a successful claim against the CMA. Ruth Jefferson left to join Wessex Water, while Becky Ellis joined from Hogan Lovells International LLP.

Maitland Walker LLP’s EU and competition practice handles the full gamut of contentious and non-contentious competition law. The team is headed by Julian Maitland-Walker, a ‘dedicated creative-thinker’ who is acting as special adviser to the Business Enterprise Committee of the House of Commons in connection with its inquiry into the extent to which pub licensees were restricted from purchasing beer on the open market and were thus forced to overpay large pub companies for their product. On the non-contentious side, the group’s experience spans competition law in relation to M&A, state aid and public procurement. In 2016, Maitland-Walker advised a US client on a tender to a consortium of public authorities for a waste recycling plant, and also acted for the acquirer on the regulatory aspects of a gaming industry related acquisition. On the contentious front, the department focuses on pursuing follow-on claims in competition cases and is experienced in group litigation. Other key figures include consultant Susannah Sheppard, who handles public and private sector work spanning a range of industry sectors.

The team at Osborne Clarke comprises ‘experts in the field’. The team acts for an array of international clients in the TMT, transport and retail sectors, and provides ‘excellent service’ on state aid and merger control matters and general competition and regulatory advice, as well as antitrust litigation. The ‘peerless’ Simon Neill leads the department and acted for SMART Technologies in connection with the UK merger control aspects of its $200m acquisition by Hon Hai Precision. Neill alos advised Chargemaster on the merger control aspects of its multimillion-pound acquisition of Elektromove. Focusing on competition and state aid, Marc Shrimpling advised Centrica on the funding aspects of a £19m trial programme aimed at developing a local energy market in Cornwall. Andrew Bartlett leads the antitrust litigation group and is representing Granville Technology Group in a £20m follow-on damages claim against multiple well-known technology companies, which arose from the DRAM cartel decision of the EU Commission. Catherine Wolfenden, who specialises in regulated public sector and utilities procurement work, is also recommended.

TLT handles a range of competition law issues, from merger control to state aid, with particular focus on the retail, consumer goods, financial services and energy sectors. The Bristol group has seen increased activity in cartel and market investigations and regulatory matters, working in conjunction with the firm’s London office. Miles Trower heads the competition department and is instructed by a household name food retailer to advise on a UK and EU merger analysis regarding a proposed transaction in the grocery sector. Trower also provides legal training to UK retail networks covering ongoing competition compliance. Bill Hull specialises in competition law and public procurement and is advising an industry association on practices concerning the gathering and dissemination of market data following a CMA investigation into the aggregates market. The team also assists listed companies with day-to-day competition and antitrust matters and has represented a multitude of corporates before the CMA and other regulatory authorities in relation to trading and distribution issues and other anti-competitive arrangements.

The ‘approachable and down-to-earth’ competition department at Ashfords LLP is renowned for its specialised state aid practice, which is the ‘best in the region’. Working for a range of public and private sector clients, the team is noted for its expertise in state aid funding solutions, as well as public procurement. Practice co-head Elizabeth Gibson specialises in state aid and procurement work and acts for a number of city and county councils on issues such as the implications of the European Commission’s decision on the National Broadband Scheme for the UK. Gibson acted for Your Consortium Limited on the state aid implications of the client’s application to the Building Better Opportunities funding programme for a grant of £7.4m. Joint department head Stuart Mathews is ‘very thorough on the competition and commercial side’ and focuses on providing competition and merger control advice related to national and international M&A and business disposals. Lucy Woods rounds out the state aid and procurement team.

Michelmores LLP handles national and international procurement, state aid and competition law matters. Ian Holyoak heads the commercial team in Exeter and focuses primarily on merger control issues arising from contract or trading arrangements, and also advises on procurement and state aid matters, particularly relating to EU structural funding. Holyoak recently acted for a listed company on the competition aspects of the proposed acquisition of a US-based competitor. David Thompson is also a member of the commercial team and handles competition law matters in the context of IP, especially for clients in the food and drink sector. Michail Papadakis joined the London office in 2016 and focuses exclusively on procurement, competition and state aid. Papadakis works closely with the projects team and has advised clients such as MOPAC, Great Ormond Street Hospital and Indigo Group. Working between the firm’s London and Exeter offices, Andrew Oldland QC has experience of contentious competition matters and has been involved in the ongoing CMA investigations into anti-competitive practices in residential estate agency services.

Foot Anstey is known for its ability to manage state aid and competition law across a range of sectors, such as energy, water, fisheries and agriculture. The department also handles procurement issues and has particular experience of the regional implications of the State Aid Modernisation reform package. The procurement, competition and state aid department is led by James Falle, who has expertise in competition investigations and multi-jurisdictional merger control filings. Falle assisted Pennon Group with the merger filing of a joint venture with South Staffordshire Water regarding an agreement to merge their non-household water and sewage businesses. He also acted for new client, the British Tourism Authority, on the state aid aspects and structuring of the Discover England Fund, which will create available funding for third parties to develop new products. Additional clients include the Met Office, Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership and North Devon District Council.

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Legal Developments in South West for EU and competition

  • US rules regarding offshore accounts

    The Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act 2010, enacted on 18 March 2010, imposes a new US withholding tax and reporting regime, known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). The FATCA regime applies generally to payments made after 31 December 2012, except on obligations (to be defined in future guidance) outstanding on 18 March 2012. Substantial effort is required by foreign entities to bring their worldwide operations and policies into compliance with the FATCA rules as of the effective date.

    - Jones Day

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