Competition and trade in Australia
Allens’ competition, consumer and regulatory department offers ‘market-leading expertise’ in advising on the contentious and non-contentious aspects of competition law. The group is adept at handling all types of enforcement matters involving the ACCC including all stages of investigations and litigation. The team’s contentious work has been marked by success on multiple occasions including the defence of Pfizer in ACCC proceedings alleging misuse of market power and exclusive dealing, as well as the representation of PZ Cusson, in an alleged 'hub and spoke' cartel case. Sydney-based Carolyn Oddie is leading a team representing Allianz in relation to the Royal Commission into financial services. The team is equally well-versed in advising on high-value merger control matters. The ‘incredibly competent’ Fiona Crosbie lead on advising CK Hutchison Holdings on the proposed $15bn merger between Vodafone Hutchison Australia and TPG Telecom. In Sydney Jacqueline Downes leads the national practice and Robert Walker is also noted. Melbourne-based Rosannah Healy comes in for praise for her experience in the regulatory and litigation space. Senior associate David Mierendorff is also noted. Kon Stellios has left the practice to join the Bar.
‘The team has a strong understanding of the challenges which its clients face. This is coupled with knowledge of the way in which the regulators work and of how to navigate through the regulatory environment to reach a constructive outcome’
‘The technical skills and knowledge across Allens’ team are extremely strong, but more importantly, the team is able to engage with both legal and non-legal members of our team in a collaborative and encouraging way, which proves useful in delivering a better outcome’
‘Always available and accessible, Fiona Crosbie stands out for her strength, directness, the ability to cut through noise to get to the key issues, ability to think outside the box and identify an outcome’
‘Rosannah Healy is able to step through complex legislation and regulations and break it down well for non-legal folks’
Allianz Australia Insurance
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group
Central Petroleum/ Macquarie Mereenie
Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings
CK Hutchison Holdings
Ford Motor Company of Australia
Melbourne Airport/ Sydney Airport
Steamships Trading Company
- Acted for PZ Cussons in successfully defending the first contested ‘hub and spoke’ cartel case brought by the ACCC.
- Successfully defended Pfizer in ACCC proceedings alleging misuse of market power and exclusive dealing in relation to the Lipitor medication.
- Represented Allianz Australia Insurance in matters reviewed by the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, as well as acting on subsequent competition and consumer issues.
- Representing ANZ in criminal cartel proceedings initiated by the ACCC.
- Acted for CK Hutchison Holdings, a shareholder in Vodafone Hutchison Australia, in relation to Vodafone seeking clearance by the ACCC of its proposed merger with TPG Telecom.
Ashurst’s team attracts commendations from clients for its experience in handling multi-jurisdictional matters as well as for its ‘unique ability to quickly understand its clients’ needs and address them’. The group is frequently instructed by overseas counsel in relation to matters specific to the Australian market. The team covers the full spectrum of both contentious and non-contentious competition law work, but is particularly recommended for efficiently handling contentious issues. In one highlight Peter Armitage and Bill Reid acted on the defence of Google in a case brought by Unlockd alleging abuse of the client’s position in the media sector. In Melbourne, Justin Jones stands out for his experience in competition law enforcement matters, as well as for his niche expertise in consumer law and regulated utilities. Acting from Brisbane, Alyssa Phillips’ practice places emphasis on high-value merger transactions and investigations. In Sydney, recently promoted partner Melissa Fraser and counsels Angie Ng and Tihana Zuk are also noted.
Other key lawyers:
‘One of the key strengths of Ashurst’s team is its ability to handle crucial aspects of transactions in a streamlined and targeted fashion, which requires a strong understanding of clients’ commercial intentions and key legal concerns‘
‘Team members are quick to respond and always ensure that the legal issues are addressed efficiently, which increases the level of certainty when it comes to reaching certain outcomes for our stakeholders‘
‘The department understands all relevant commercial drivers in the industry and all associated pressures – it is able to handle these without overcomplicating its legal advice‘
‘Ashurst fields a highly collegial and professional team — an impression based on the efficient interaction between team members which I have observed‘
‘All team members focus on understanding the things which are important to the client commercially, without losing sight of the importance of paying attention to the relevant legal details‘
‘Peter Armitage and Tihana Zuk could be relied upon to provide practical legal advice that leads to success of the deal‘
‘Alyssa Phillips and Angie Ng are just awesome – they are very helpful, demonstrate strong skills in working as a team, and work tirelessly to protect the client’s interests‘
Nine Entertainment Co. Holdings
NorthWest Healthcare Properties Real Estate Investment Trust
Co-operative Bulk Handling
PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium
- Acting for Google LLC on responding to the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry examining the impact of digital platforms on competition in the media sector and advertising services markets.
- Defending Google in proceedings brought by Unlockd alleging that Google had misused its market power in proposing to remove Unlockd’s apps from the Google Play store and disabling Unlockd’s access to Google AdMob.
- Assisting Aurizon with bringing action against Australia’s two largest rail freight operators, aiming at obtaining penalties and orders to block the sale of a rail terminal in Brisbane.
- Acted for Nine on securing ACCC clearance of its acquisition of 100% of the issued share capital in Fairfax Media by way of scheme of arrangement.
- Acted for Thales S.A. on securing ACCC clearance of its €4.8bn acquisition of Gemalto N.V.
Gilbert + Tobin
The team at Gilbert + Tobin offers multi-jurisdictional expertise to clients seeking merger control assistance with large cross-border transactions. Standing out in this space is Gina Cass-Gottlieb, who is considered to be 'an exceptional competition practitioner’. The group is equally adept at handling matters relating to ACCC authorisations and market studies. In one highlight, practice co-heads Luke Woodward and Elizabeth Avery led a team assisting K-Line with a high-profile criminal cartel case brought before the Federal Court; due to its guilty plea and cooperation, the client was fined $34.5m rather than $48m otherwise sought by the authorities. Sector-specific expertise for the group includes areas such as utilities, telecoms, financial services and media. June 2019 saw Paula Gilardoni depart to KPMG Law. Formerly in an in-house position, special counsel Susan Jones joined the firm’s office in Melbourne, where Simon Muys heads up the local practice and specialises in complex merger control and competition litigation.
Luke Woodward; Elizabeth Avery
‘The leading competition law team on the Australian market, which demonstrates a great depth in knowledge as well a focus on the needs of the client‘
‘The team knows our products, our business and our goals, and is able give us strategic, savvy and pragmatic advice‘
‘Gina Cass-Gottlieb is an exceptional competition practitioner who not only knows the law, but is also very client-friendly and shows a high level of credibility in her interaction with people across the whole structure of the client’s business‘
‘Elizabeth Avery is a strong team leader‘
Westpac Banking Corporation/ BT Financial Group
Rio Tinto Coal Australia
Virgin Australia Airlines
Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K-Line)
Carnival Cruise Line
Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABInBev)/ CUB
Maersk Group/ Svitzer
- Advised the Westpac Banking Corporation in relation to the ACCC’s inquiry into the pricing of residential mortgage products by authorised deposit-taking institutions subjected to the major bank levy.
- Represented K-Line in landmark criminal cartel proceedings at the Federal Court.
- Representing NSW Ports Operations Hold Co Pty in proceedings concerning allegations of entering anti-competitive agreements with the State of New South Wales.
- Advising Expedia Inc. in relation to the ACCC’s investigation into online travel agencies with respect to the use of narrow price most-favoured-nation clauses contained in agreements with accommodation providers.
- Advised GrainCorp on the $350m sale of its Australian liquid bulk terminals business to ANZ Terminals.
Herbert Smith Freehills
Herbert Smith Freehills fields a competition, regulation and trade team which is singled out by clients and peers alike as being ‘one of the most highly regarded teams for contentious and non-contentious competition matters’. The ‘amazing’ Liza Carver is ‘a respected voice in any room’ and ‘gives straightforward and confident guidance to clients’. Carver serves as regional head of the group, which has a reputation for its ability to act on complex merger transactions, as well as competition law enforcement matters and investigations. The department is able to draw upon the expertise of the firm’s leading corporate and dispute resolution teams and also benefits from the firm’s footprint worldwide, which gives it an additional competitive edge in acting for blue-chip organisations on cross-border cases. Team members are active across sectors including financial services, energy, communications, infrastructure, consumer goods, and health. Melbourne-based Matthew Bull stands out in the enforcement and investigations space; he represented Murray Goulburn Co-Operative in Federal Court proceedings initiated by the ACCC. The team has undergone some changes: Chris Jose and Paul Hughes have left private practice and Donald Robertson has retired. Special counsel Annalisa Heger joined the Melbourne office from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority. Patrick Gay is a recommended adviser for clients in the consumer products space.
‘The competition team at Herbert Smith Freehills has the firepower to deal with the biggest and most urgent of cases, which is coupled with the kind of experience which one can only garner by actually running these types of cases. This enables team members to give clear and confident advice on the prospects and the expected course of proceedings‘
‘Herbert Smith Freehills has a strong bench of competition-focused lawyers providing practical and insightful advice. They are particularly strong in competition disputes matters, which includes both private litigation and government investigations‘
‘Patrick Gay offers deep competition expertise, and is particularly useful due to his consumer products knowledge as well as his strong relationship with the regulators‘
Marsh & McLennan Companies
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group/ Citibank/ Deutsche Bank
Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co.
Garmin Australasia Pty
Queensland Resources Council
- Advising Marsh & McLennan Companies on its £4.3bn acquisition of Jardine Lloyd Thompson.
- Advising a number of investment banks and financial institutions on managing cartel risk.
- Acting for Murray Goulburn Co-Operative Co. on an ACCC investigation, as well as on proceedings brought before the Federal Court in relation to Murray Goulburn’s dealings with dairy farmers.
- Advising Garmin Australasia Pty on the competition aspects of its ongoing dispute with its former distributor, B&K Holdings.
- Advising Santos on the merger clearance aspects of its $2.9bn acquisition of leading gas producer Quadrant Energy.
King & Wood Mallesons
King & Wood Mallesons assists clients on local and cross-border matters relating to merger control, investigations, and other types of completion law enforcement work. The team is noted for its expertise in inquiries and investigations conducted by the ACCC; in one work highlight, a team led by Wayne Leach and Peta Stevenson advised new client Facebook on the ACCC’s high-profile market inquiry into digital platforms. Key sectors of focus for the group are mining and resources, agribusiness, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, financial services, telecoms and media. Department head Sharon Henrick is ‘a superb competition lawyer, with in-depth knowledge of competition law’ and working closely with Hedrick is senior associate Christopher Kok, who is also singled out for his project management skills. ‘Industry expert’ Caroline Coops focuses on merger clearance as well as complex competition and consumer protection litigation. In Melbourne, Andrew Monotti and recently promoted partner Simon Cooke are also recommended for merger clearance work. Trish Henry departed to accept an appointment at the Supreme Court of New South Wales and Stephen Ridgeway retired.
Other key lawyers:
‘What makes the team unique is its long-term relationship with us and their extensive knowledge of our business‘
‘A very experienced team that provides clear and pragmatic advice, which shows a thorough knowledge of the industry of the client; also good at predicting the views of the regulator‘
‘Extremely business-oriented, the team is exceptional at learning and understanding the specifics of the client’s business‘
‘The department strikes a rare balance between being technically excellent as well as very commercial and pragmatic. Team members also have a great ability to distill very complex issues and concepts into plain English‘
‘Up-to-date, thorough, hardworking, responsive, and a pleasure to work with‘
‘The team is extremely knowledgeable and experienced, especially in relation to ACCC inquiries‘
‘Sharon Henrick has an enormous amount of experience dealing with the ACCC and is well known to the regulator. Her guidance is always very practical and specific, which has made her support invaluable on many occasions‘
‘Sharon Henrick is very experienced in competition law matters across multiple industries and is able to take complex issues and simplify them for clients and in-house teams‘
‘Peta Stevenson and James Darch work diligently and efficiently to break down and understand complex issues. Their availability and accessibility is also greatly appreciated‘
‘Caroline Coops is an industry expert who brings years of experience acting on competition law matters, which equips her with a perspective that others struggle to match‘
‘Andrew Monotti and Simon Cooke are technically excellent lawyers, who are also highly commercial‘
‘Senior associate Christopher Kok is a very good senior associate, knowledgeable and approachable‘
Air New Zealand
Kimberly-Clark Australia Pty
International Swaps and Derivatives Association
- Acted for Fairfax Media on the merger with Nine Entertainment Co. Holdings.
- Assisting The Campbell Soup Company with the competitive bid process regarding the proposed sale of Campbell International.
- Assisting Lion Dairy & Drinks with a proposed demerger resulting from the ACCC’s inquiry into Australia’s dairy supply chain.
- Assisting QBE Insurance (Australia) with the ACCC’s inquiry into residential insurance in northern Australia.
- Successfully advised Transurban and the Sydney Transport Partners Consortium on all aspects of the ACCC’s informal merger review.
At Baker McKenzie, Georgina Foster leads the national competition and regulation practice, which handles a wide range of matters such as local merger clearances and global corporate transactions, and investigations and competition law enforcement work. The department’s client roster includes market-leading consumer goods and luxury brands, as well as digital platforms, among others. Notably, the group advises the regulator in relation to enforcement proceedings; Melbourne-based dispute resolution partner Alex Wolff is a standout practitioner in this regard, as well as in the criminal cartel space. Working closely with Wolff is special counsel Helen Joyce, who is also noted. Recently promoted senior associate Rowan Kendall is a key figure at the office in Perth. The team has expanded through two new arrivals: Lynsey Edgar came to the Sydney office from Dentons, while senior associate Elizabeth Sarofim joined from Ashurst in October 2018.
Australian Competition & Consumer Commission
- Acting for the ACCC on proceedings commenced against Ramsay Health Care Australia Pty for alleged contraventions of the misuse of market power and exclusive dealing provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act.
- Acted for Fluidra S.A. in relation to its merger with Zodiac Pool Solutions.
- Acting for Sika in obtaining ACCC merger clearance for its acquisition of Parex.
- Acting for Mantra in the ACCC merger review of its proposed A$1.2bn acquisition by Accor.
- Represented the ACCC in its appeal to the full Federal Court on the decision at first instance in ACCC v Medibank Private Limited.
The ‘impressive’ team at Clayton Utz provides ‘all-round excellent competition law support’. Team members are singled out for their experience in dealings with the regulator in relation to merger control and the ensuing merger-related competition litigation; the ‘outstanding’ Kirsten Webb stands out in this space and heads the practice and Linda Evans ‘manages complex cases and large teams with apparent ease and considerable skill’. It attracts clients from sectors ranging from retail and media to telecoms and pharmaceuticals. Elizabeth Richmond and Perth-based counsel Trina Storm are recommended and Bruce Lloyd and Michael Corrigan are other key contacts.
‘Very pragmatic and straightforward advice‘
‘The team has excellent knowledge of the competition law regimes across the APAC region as well as good relationships with the regulators‘
‘The team’s quality of work is outstanding. Team members exercise excellent judgment, they are hardworking and very efficient at the same time, and they do not waste time on unnecessary tasks‘
‘Team members are a pleasure to work with‘
‘The team has extensive experience of handling the merger control process and merger-related litigation‘
‘Lawyers on the team stand out for their drafting and analytical skills‘
‘Linda Evans is not only a very knowledgeable competition law practitioner but also very practical in the manner in which she approaches competition legal issues. She is very collegiate and works well with firms in other jurisdictions on cross-border matters. She is ably supported by excellent colleagues in Elizabeth Richmond and Trina Storm‘
‘Linda Evans is one of the most impressive competition lawyers I have come across. She is extremely smart, she has a wealth of industry and competition law knowledge, she has great judgment, she is delightful to work with and she appears to manage her team very well‘
‘Elizabeth Richmond is very impressive. She has very good knowledge of competition law, she is always on top of the detail, and is a pleasure to work with‘
SingTel Optus Pty
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Seven Group Holdings
- Advising Vodafone Group Plc on Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty’s proposed A$15bn merger with TPG Telecom and the related merger clearance process.
- Acting for Pacific National on its attempted acquisition of Aurizon-owned Acacia Ridge Terminal in Brisbane, as well as representing the client in proceedings commenced by the ACCC alleging cartel conduct and the existence of anti-competitive agreements.
- Advised Woolworths on the successful A$1.7bn sale of 540 Woolworths-owned fuel convenience sites to the UK’s EG Group (Euro Garages).
- Advising Germany’s Gebr. Knauf KG on ACCC clearance of its international US$7bn acquisition of USG Corporation and Armstrong World Industries.
- Advised Quadrant Energy Australia on the $2.15bn sale of Quadrant Energy to Santos and the related ACCC merger clearance process.
Johnson Winter & Slattery is highly regarded for its wide-ranging work such as high-profile ACCC investigations and prosecutions, high-value mergers and acquisitions, as well as strategic advice including market access and authorizations. Clients point to the department’s strength in diverse industries such as fast-moving consumer goods, healthcare and pharmaceuticals. Aldo Nicotra is praised for providing advice which is ‘always thoughtful, commercial and delivered in a way that adds value to the client’s business’. Nicotra jointly heads the practice with Sar Katdare, who is ‘quick, down to earth and practical’. Wolfgang Hellmann and Tom Jarvis are key contacts in Melbourne and Michele Laidlaw departed to accept an in-house position.
Aldo Nicotra; Sar Katdare
‘Johnson Winter & Slattery’s competition lawyers are agile and offer great depth of knowledge‘
‘The firm’s competition team regularly delivers valuable, commercial and insightful advice, often under genuine time pressure. There are complementary skill sets across the various partners, who work seamlessly with each other‘
‘Aldo Nicotra is the best lawyer I have worked with when it comes to managing significant “bet the business” competition litigation‘
The Walt Disney Company (Australia) Pty
The a2 Milk Company
Ramsay Health Care
3M Australia Pty
Qantas/ Jetstar Airways Pty
- Acting for Ramsay Health Care on a prosecution by the ACCC concerning a misuse of market power and exclusive dealing.
- Advising Ruralco on obtaining informal clearance by the ACCC of its $450m proposed acquisition by Nutrien.
- Advising Jetstar Airways Pty on matters relating to the ACCC’s report on Airlines Terms and Conditions.
- Advising Qantas in relation to the ACCC investigation into its acquisition of a 19.9% stake in Alliance Airlines.
- Assisting PepsiCo with obtaining ACCC clearance of its US$3.2bn acquisition of SodaStream.
MinterEllison shows ‘a true understanding of a company’s DNA’ when advising on the competition law aspects of domestic and cross-border M&A transactions. Due to its independence, the group receives a high volume of referrals and has steady streams of work come from clients in relation to investigations, competition litigation, and general competition strategy. Sectors of focus include energy, healthcare, telecoms and education. ‘Seasoned veteran and master strategist’ Paul Schoff leads the team from Sydney and jointly heads the national practice with Geoff Carter in Melbourne. Also in Melbourne is recently promoted partner Miranda Noble, who is ‘a real class act when it comes to competition law’, and recently led a team acting for applicant Unlockd on bringing action against Google for misuse of its substantial market power. Sydney-based Katrina Groshinski acts for both public- and private-sector clients, while Brisbane-based Justin Oliver is recommended for regulatory work. Senior associate Haydn Flack is also noted.
Paul Schoff; Geoff Carter
‘The team understands how the regulator operates, which allows it to foresee what may be around the corner in terms of issues and procedural requirements. Team members are also able to keep clients well-informed by translating often complex legal concepts into a language which their clients can understand‘
‘Individuals on the team show work of exceptional quality‘
‘Paul Schoff has the full set of expertise and technical skills one would expect from a top-tier market leader, but differentiated by particularly high levels of emotional intelligence. He is very astute in reading his audience and anticipating and circumnavigating concerns at both the strategic and the personal levels. Amazingly easy to deal with and very confidence inspiring, so I am comfortable putting him before our board of directors‘
‘Paul Schoff is one of the best in the business – his record speaks for itself, given the stellar strike rate in merger approvals across a broad range of industries. Paul is also a natural at dealing with senior executives and giving comfort to a variety of stakeholders across the business‘
‘Geoff Carter gives clear and easy-to-understand advice. He is also pragmatic in his approach to issues, which ensures that the quality of his work is second to none‘
‘Justin Oliver is a regulatory lawyer who does not sit on the fence, and gives succinct and commercial advice‘
‘Katrina Groshinski is excellent. She has great sectoral experience and also took the time to understand the concerns and objectives of our organisation‘
‘Senior associate Haydn Flack has excellent legal knowledge, coupled with a strong set of technical skills‘
The Kraft Heinz Company
The International Air Transport Association (IATA)
The Hertz Corporation
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Insurance Australia Group
SingTel Optus Pty
Carter Holt Harvey/ The Rank Group
- Advised Siemens AG on the Australian competition law aspects relating to its €15.3bn merger with Alstom.
- Acting for Itay Tuchman, a senior executive from Citibank, on criminal cartel proceedings brought by the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions against Mr Tuchman and eight other defendants in relation to a $2.5bn capital raising for the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group.
- Assisted oOh!media with the A$570m acquisition of competitor Adshel.
- Advised an industry stakeholder on the proposed AU$15bn merger between TPG and Vodafone.
- Advised Cryosite on the ACCC’s first-ever proceedings against “gun-jumping” cartel conduct.
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP’s competition department is led by ‘the highly experienced’ Peter McDonald, who is notable not only for his recent work, but also his prior experience at the ACCC. The team advises both domestic and regional clients in relation to merger control and market investigations; the behavioural practice covers cartels and other anti-competitive conduct investigations and class actions. The firm attracts blue-chip clients from industries including energy, digital media, as well as consumer goods, aviation, and financial services. Counsel Stefanie Benson is also noted.
Other key lawyers:
‘Solid technical knowledge‘
‘Peter McDonald has good insights when it comes to strategy in regulatory matters.‘
21st Century Fox
Genesse & Wyoming
- Acting for a high-profile technology client in relation to the ACCC’s digital platforms inquiry.
- Advised media company 21st Century Fox on the proposed acquisition by Walt Disney.
- Advising BHP on the ACCC’s gas sector inquiry.
- Represented Alinta Energy in respect of an inquiry by the ACCC into competition in retail electricity and the gas market.
- Advised EG Group on the merger control aspects of its A$1.7bn acquisition of a 540-strong network of Australian petrol station sites from Woolworths Group.
Corrs Chambers Westgarth’s team adopts a ‘down-to-earth approach’ and utilises its ‘in-depth knowledge of the law’ in advising clients including domestic and international corporates such as global technology companies, international accounting firms, leading energy corporations, and others. Mark McCowan and Andrew Korbel jointly lead the practice which is well positioned to handle not only competition matters but also international trade and anti-dumping, advising governments, private sector companies and international trade bodies. It assisted Comcast Corporation on the Australian aspects of competition issues relating to the client’s proposed $65bn acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox. The group expanded its offering in competition litigation and investigations with the arrival of Craig Phillips, who joined in February 2019 from Patrick & Associates and consultant Ian Reynolds is also highly recommended.
Mark McCowan; Andrew Korbel
‘The team stands out for its great industry knowledge, commitment to the transaction at hand, great negotiation skills, and an understanding of what the client needs‘
‘The practice is unique and team members are highly skilled in consumer law matters. The team also has a strong working knowledge of current government priorities and issues, which also gives it a strategic advantage‘
‘The competition team always offers pragmatic, solution-driven advice that allows us to identify risks and easily implement solutions to mitigate them. Members of the team are strong communicators, and we really appreciate their candour and ability to summarise complex legalities in simple, understandable terms. They are very responsive to requests for advice and possess an in-depth knowledge on the sector‘
‘The team has the ability to get to the nub of the commercial issue, and then overlay the technical aspects of the law‘
‘Mark McCowan and Ian Reynolds are a formidable team. We really appreciate their enthusiasm, dynamism, insights and knowledge‘
‘Mark McCowan is an excellent operator. He has an incredible technical grasp of the law, but his real value lies in both his ability to understand how the law impacts the business, as well as his authentic delivery‘
‘Consultant Ian Reynolds has been a standout adviser to our company. His strong technical advice, in-depth industry knowledge and pragmatic approach are invaluable‘
Johnson & Johnson
Australian Sugar Industry Alliance
Kam Kiu Aluminium Group
- Advised Comcast Corporation on Australian competition and regulatory issues arising from its proposed $65bn acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc.
- Advising Mackay Sugar on new sugar marketing arrangements following the introduction of a far-reaching scheme of regulation affecting the sugar industry.
- Acted for BP on the proposed acquisition of Woolworths’ national network of 530 retail petrol service station sites and a network of development sites.
- Advised Wesfarmers on competition law issues arising from the A$350m divestment of its K-Mart Tyre and Auto business.
- Acted for Rea Group, a subsidiary of News Corporation and the operator of the leading Australian digital property platform, in relation to the ACCC clearance of its proposed A$130m acquisition of Hometrack.
DLA Piper’s competition team forms part of the firm’s wider litigation and regulatory department. The practice has a recognised strength in the regulatory space, where it acts for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. The group also focuses on merger clearances, cartel investigations, abuse of dominance issues, consumer law matters, and compliance advice. Simon Uthmeyer heads up the department and is well versed in handling both contentious and non-contentious antitrust issues. Fleur Gibbons is also a key contact, and stands out for her specialist expertise in the utilities sector.
Other key lawyers:
‘Fleur Gibbons is commercially minded and has an ability to go ahead in the game rather than wait for the next issue to arise.‘
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
DBCT Management Pty
Australian Airports Association
Lake Vermont Resources Pty
Gold Coast Airport
Australian Health Services Alliance
CitiPower and Powercor Australia
- Advising Lake Vermont Resources Pty Ltd on a dispute with Adani Abbot Point Terminal Pty Ltd alleging unconscionable conduct under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 .
- Represented the ACCC in proceedings initiated in the Federal Court of Australia against Pacific National and Aurizon.
- Advised the ACCC in relation to its Digital Platforms Inquiry.
- Advised the Australian Airports Association in relation to competition law issues concerning the Productivity Commission’s review of the regulation of Australian airports.
Jointly headed by Nick McHugh and Martyn Taylor, Norton Rose Fulbright fields a sizeable competition and trade department, which acts for domestic and international clients on merger clearances, contentious competition matters and regulatory affairs. In one notable work highlight the group is acting for Vodafone Hutchison Australia on the A$15bn merger of Vodafone and TPG Telecom. Apart from telecoms, the department also has experience of industries including healthcare and pharmaceuticals, fast-moving consumer goods, transport. Belinda Harvey and Melbourne-based Andrew Riordan are other key names to note.
Nick McHugh; Martyn Taylor
Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty
Energizer Brands LLC
Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty
- Acting for Vodafone Hutchison Australia on its merger with TPG Telecom valued at A$15bn.
- Advised GlaxoSmithKline Plc on its clearance strategy regarding a JV between GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Pfizer Inc to combine their consumer healthcare business.
- Acted for Energizer Brands LLC on successfully obtaining merger clearance for the client’s $2bn purchase of Spectrum Brands’ global consumer battery business.
- Advised Gemalto NV on its global clearance strategy and handled the Australian aspects of its clearance of its acquisition by competitor Thales.
- Acting for Linfox on a proposed A$220m joint acquisition (with Pacific National) of Aurizon’s intermodal freight business.
Arnold Bloch Leibler
Arnold Bloch Leibler focuses on a wide range of sectors such as food, agriculture, financial services, retail, petroleum and construction, among others. The team is particularly noted for its expertise in ACCC investigations and prosecutions and is also adept at handling private competition law enforcement matters and product recalls/consumer law issues. Melbourne-based Zaven Mardirossian leads the practice, where Matthew Lees is also a key contact.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is easy to deal with. It clearly has significant experience in competition law matters, including dealing with the ACCC, and adopts a practical, solutions focused approach‘
‘Matthew Lees is excellent to work with. He has a great combination of smart and practical, and does not come with a big ego‘
Dial A Dump Industries Pty
Australia Pacific Airports (Melbourne) Pty
Kop-Coat Protection Products Group
Australian Constructors Association
Apotex International Inc
Complete Office Supplies
- Acted for Dial A Dump Industries Pty (Dadi) on a successful application for informal merger clearance by the ACCC of Bingo Industries’ acquisition of Dadi.
- Acting for Australia Pacific Airports (Melbourne) Pty in relation to a number of disputes, regulatory issues, and commercial arrangements with airport users.
- Acted for ReadCloud on a dispute with Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press.
- Advised Apotex International on its merger with Arrow Pharmaceuticals; work included obtaining ACCC clearance of the transaction.
- Acting for online retailer Kogan on an ACCC investigation concerning allegations that the client has made false and misleading representations during its June 2018 coupon promotion.
Clifford Chance’s team is led by Dave Poddar in Sydney. The department forms part of the firm’s global group, which enables it to act on complex cross-border matters. Mark Grime is an experienced senior associate whose expertise includes domestic and multi-jurisdictional merger clearances and regulatory investigations and litigation. The practice handles a wide range of issues, including mergers, market investigations and competition litigation. In highlight work it acted for Glencore in its successful application to the Australian Competition Tribunal and the subsequent appeal to the Federal Court and the successful High Court case over access charges to the shipping channels of the Port of Newcastle.
Other key lawyers:
Parmalat Australia Pty
The National Titanium Dioxide Company (Cristal)
- Advised Glencore on a number of matters relating to access charges to the shipping channels of the Newcastle Port.
- Advising Glencore on Port of Newcastle’s application to the National Competition Council for revocation of the declaration of the channel.
- Advised Cristal, a leading global chemicals company, on the Australian antitrust aspects of the sale of its titanium dioxide business to Tronox.
Led by the 'highly responsive and competent' Richard Westmoreland and Peter Campbell, HWL Ebsworth’s team is supported by the commercial and litigation departments. The group is well noted for its experience advising on criminal cartel matters where it assists clients with their responses to investigations; Alistair Little is a key team member in this regard. Other notable areas of expertise for the practice include merger clearances and structuring advice. It advises clients on a range of sectors with a focus on the transport and financial services areas.
Richard Westmoreland; Peter Campbell
Other key lawyers:
‘The team has excellent knowledge of this complex area of the law, which is combined with the delivery of practical advice that meets clients’ commercial objectives‘
‘Richard Westmoreland brings outstanding knowledge and experience in Australia’s and New Zealand’s competition and consumer laws, and delivers advice in a manner which can be easily digested and implemented by the business. He is equally professional, regardless of whether he is dealing with an in-house lawyer, a senior executive from the business, or a more junior member of the company‘
Nippon Yusen Yabushiki Kaisha (NYK)
Australian Egg Corporation
Western Union Financial Services Australia Pty
New South Wales Government
The Country Care Group Pty
Australian Automotive Dealer Association
University of South Australia
University of Adelaide
- Defending The Country Care Group Pty and its managing director Robert Hogan against the first criminal cartel charges to be brought against an Australian company and an Australian individual.
- Acted for Coles Supermarkets Australia Pty on providing evidence to the ACCC in the proceedings against Aurizon and Pacific National.
- Acted for Cascade Coal Pty and two of its directors on the successful defence of a claim by the ACCC alleging that the clients had engaged in cartel conduct.
- Advised Western Union Financial Services Australia Pty on its response to the ACCC’s inquiry into the supply of foreign currency conversion services in Australia.
The team at Jones Day benefits clients through its globally connected practice. The department focuses on handling merger clearances as well as cartel and anti-competitive conduct investigations and competition litigation, among other matters. With years of prior experience at the ACCC, Prudence Smith heads up the department.
K&L Gates’ antitrust, competition and trade regulation department focuses on merger control matters, as well as regulatory investigations by the ACCC regarding cartel-related activity and other allegations of anti-competitive behaviour. Ayman Guirguis heads up the practice, which advises across sectors such as the automotive industry, financial services, energy, agriculture, shipping and logistics, and healthcare and pharmaceuticals. A new arrival IN 2018, special counsel David Howarth is now a key contact for clients seeking assistance with investigations and litigation regarding both consumer- and competition-related issues.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team demonstrate in-depth knowledge, expertise and experience’.
- Advising Pacific Smiles Group and contractor dentists on potential agreements regarding pricing for dental procedures.
- Advised Continental AG on its acquisition of Kmart Tyre and Auto and on obtaining ACCC clearance for the transaction.
- Advised Hotels Combined on the merger clearance aspects of its acquisition by Booking.com.
- Assisting Honda Australia with responding to the ACCC’s investigation into faulty Takata airbags in Australia.
- Advised Landmark, a subsidiary of Nutrien, on issues regarding the commercialisation of a major seed variety and the ACCC’s investigation into statements relating to the performance characteristics of the variety.
Mills Oakley handles both contentious and non-contentious competition work. The group has a traditional strength in merger control matters globally and the Australian practice is especially active on cartel litigation where it is acting on a number of high-profile cases. Headed up by Kathryn Edghill, the practice is particularly prominent across sectors such as technology, telecoms, food and beverage, manufacturing and retail and of late it is especially active in the financial services industry. Graham Maher is also noted.
Other key lawyers:
‘Excellent response times, commercial approach, appropriateness of advice, and excellent value for money’
‘Kathryn Edghill is by far the best external legal adviser I engage – she is very responsive and commercial in her advice‘
‘Kathryn Edghill has excellent interpersonal skills‘
Frucor Suntory Australia Pty
Simplot Australia Pty
The TJX Companies
Microsoft Pty/ Microsoft Corporation
Ecoya/ Trilogy International
- Representing Mr Cameron Harrison, who is facing criminal prosecution for cartel conduct in the first criminal prosecution of individuals under Australian cartel laws.
- Representing LG Electronics in Federal Court proceedings brought by the ACCC alleging misleading conduct in respect of consumer guarantees.
- Representing two employees of a major global financial institution in compulsory examinations by the ACCC in respect of alleged cartel conduct.
- Advising eBay on competition-related matters in respect of its Australian business.
- Advising and representing Mazda Australia on all competition law matters relating to its Australian business, including liaising with the ACCC.