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  1. EU and competition
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Who Represents Who

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Clifford Chance handles ‘cases of high strategic importance’. The well-respected Miguel Odriozola leads the ‘strong team’, which includes senior associate Belén Irissarry. The group acts on market-leading deals, such as representing IAG and Latam Airlines before the EU and Latin American competition authorities in respect of their South Atlantic alliance; on the merger control side, the firm acted for Coca-Cola on its acquisition of leading soy-based beverage AdeS from Unilever.

Cuatrecasas’ team of specialist antitrust lawyers is based across the firm’s Madrid and Barcelona offices. Practice head Cani Fernández and counsel Irene Moreno-Tapia are the key names. The firm recently handled merger control cases for clients including Acek (formerly the Gestamp group). It also advises Prysmian on cartel investigations.

Francisco Cantos heads the team at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which handles merger control issues, antitrust litigation and abuse of dominance cases. Key mandates include acting for Volvo Renault Trucks in all Spanish private damages litigation following a recent European Commission decision in the truck industry, which imposed record cartel fines. Álvaro Iza has a ‘practical’ approach.

Garrigues’ team has ‘an excellent comprehension of issues’ and provides ‘sound advice’. Marcos Araujo heads the practice, which includes Luis Ortiz Blanco, who has ‘good analytical skills and thinks logically’. The firm is handling several matters for Google and its parent company Alphabet, including assisting with a European Commission investigation into the licensing of its mobile operating system and applications for mobile devices. Mercadona and Santander are also clients.

Jaime Folguera and Antonio Guerra co-lead the practice at Uría Menéndez, which provides ‘excellent legal expertise and advice’. The group acted for Banco Santander on its joint venture with Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic and also assisted the same client with notifying the European Commission regarding the bank’s acquisition of SAM Investment Holdings. The firm also assists Pfizer with on-going investigations by the Spanish Competition Authority regarding wholesale price schemes and parallel-trade issues.

Gómez-Acebo & Pombo provides ‘excellent response times and sound, clear advice’. It recently advised Panasonic on the EU and competition aspects of its acquisition of Ficosa International. Practice head Iñigo Igartua is, according to one client, ‘one of the best competition lawyers in Spain’.

At Linklaters, the team stands out for its ‘complete availability and very fast response times – it always goes the extra mile’. It acts on complex, high-value matters in the competition space, particularly with respect to key merger control mandates; recent highlights include advising a consortium of investors on the acquisition of Naturgas and its subsidiaries from EDP. Jaime Pérez-Bustamante is the name to note.

Antitrust and competition boutique Martínez Lage, Allendesalazar & Brokelmann (MLAB) stands out for its ‘technical knowledge and complete understanding of clientsconcerns, always looking at all potential alternatives’. Highlights included representing Renfe in appealing the highest individual fine handed out by the Spanish competition authority, which was imposed for the alleged abuse of a dominant position. Name partners Rafael Allendesalazar and Helmut Brokelmann are industry-leading experts, who are recommended for their ‘full availability and commitment’.

Pérez-Llorca’s team is active in cartel cases, handling important cases involving domestic competition authorities and the European Commission. On the merger control front, the firm acts for Acciona and Agbar (the Spanish subsidiary of Suez Group); it also provides advice to cables manufacturer Nexans Iberia on cartel matters. Oriol Armengol leads the competition division and Juan Rodríguez Cárcamo heads the European law practice.

Good communicator’ Antonio Martínez, who has particular expertise in the pharmaceutical sector, heads the seven-lawyer practice at Allen & Overy. The firm is advising Cepsa on merger control issues relating to an acquisition of independent petrol stations and is acting for Google in infringement proceedings concerning the Android operating system.

Ashurst LLP is strong in global antitrust matters, where ‘key associates and partners are readily available, providing accurate and practical advice’. Clients recommend the ‘proactive and highly experienced’ Rafael Baena, who recently acted for a client in a Supreme Court appeal concerning abuse of dominance. Other clients include Hyundai and Abertis.

Baker McKenzie offers advice on a range of competition and EU law issues. Madrid practice head Alberto Escudero is currently acting for FedEx and its subsidiary TNT Express in infringement proceedings before the Spanish competition authority relating to alleged non-aggression pacts. Antitrust and litigation expert Carles Prat is the contact in Barcelona.

DLA Piper LLP’s ‘highly skilled legal team has deep knowledge of the practices of Spanish competition authorities’. Highlights included advising Atlantia on merger control filings relating to its €16bn public bid for Abertis. José María Jiménez-Laiglesia, who ‘has great experience in antitrust proceedings’, and ‘reliable and solid’ legal director Joaquin Hervada are recommended.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is particularly experienced in the retail and consumer sectors; practice head Henar González recently led advice to Dia and Eroski on setting up a joint buying alliance for their acquisition of private label products, the first joint buying venture between two large retailers in Spain. Other clients include First State Investments and Abengoa.

Hogan Lovells International LLP is ‘knowledgeable in many areas and has an international view of matters’. The firm is strong in the automotive, financial services and insurance sectors; it recently acted for Ford in an appeal challenging a fine imposed on several auto manufacturers regarding an alleged information sharing cartel. Competition law expert Casto González-Páramo is recommended.

CMS Albiñana y Suárez de Lezo represents clients before both Spanish competition authorities and the European Commission. Notable work includes acting for Lactalis in its appeal before the Spanish National Court regarding infringement proceedings related to purchase prices, which resulted in fines of €11.6m. Former practice head Patricia Liñán joined Bird & Bird in 2018.

Callol, Coca & Asociados provides an ‘excellent service’, thanks in part to name partner Pedro Callol, who is ‘highly experienced in the area’. Key work includes representing Hollywood studio Twentieth Century Fox in an appeal relating to cartel fines. At competition boutique DelaCalle Abogados SLP, the team is led by managing partner José Antonio de la Calle and Sanna Orkan. The duo recently represented Hailo Network Holdings in a high-profile merger control case before the Spanish competition authority.

GOLD Abogados (Gómez, Olmo & Da Veiga Abogados, S.L.P.)’s team has expertise in the energy, infrastructure and telecoms sectors and has notable disputes experience. Gerard Pérez Olmo, who heads the regulatory and competition practice and regularly acts for well-known Spanish and international clients, is the key contact.

Jones Day has a good reputation for cartel work. Notable highlights include acting for Aberdeen Infrastructure on Spanish and EU merger proceedings and antitrust matters. Raimundo Ortega and of counsel Marta Delgado are well-known experts in the field.

King & Wood Mallesonsworks closely and directly with the client’; it has special expertise in the food, shipping and energy sectors. Highlights included advising EDP on merger control issues relating to its purchase of gas distribution assets from Repsol. Ramón García-Gallardo and Alfredo Guerrero jointly lead the team.

MVA Asociados is well-regarded for its ‘strength in EU energy law as well as in administrative proceedings; its ability to work with fine details in a niche market is remarkable’. Competition expert Eduardo Abril is highly recommended as he ‘works well in a team and delivers under extreme time pressure’. Abril recently led advice to Sedigas, securing the annulment of a fine imposed by the Spanish competition authority.

Marimón Abogados’ practice was strengthened by the addition of key partner Diego Crespo, who joined from CMS Albiñana y Suárez de Lezo. The firm advises Spanish market leaders such as Campofrío on all competition aspects; it also works with Heineken and Unilever.

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