Competition and trade in Australia

Allens

The ‘proactive and commercial’ team at Allens focuses on contentious competition and consumer law issues, including regulatory investigations, market studies and inquiries, and competition litigation. On the merger control side, the team acts in relation to both domestic transactions and the Australian aspects of multi-jurisdictional deals. Acting on the first-ever transaction in accordance with the ACCC’s newly adopted merger authorisation rules, the group is assisting automotive retail group A.P. Eagers with lodging a merger authorisation application concerning the client’s acquisition of Automotive Holdings Group; Sydney-based practice head Jacqueline Downes leads a team on this matter. The work of the team in Sydney gains additional credibility through the experience of firm chairman and former department head Fiona Crosbie, who also chaired the Competition and Consumer Committee of the Law Council of Australia. The group in Melbourne (including standout practitioners such as Rosannah Healy, Ted Hill and Robert Walker) has significant strength in the financial services, mining, oil and gas and retail sectors. In Brisbane, the team has extensive experience in access regulation matters; John Hedge is a key contact in this space. Notably, the Perth-based team expanded its ability to provide contentious competition advice with the arrival of litigator Richard Lilly from Johnson Winter & Slattery in July 2019. Carolyn Oddie and senior associate David Mierendorff are also key contacts in Sydney.

Practice head(s):

Jacqueline Downes

Testimonials

‘First-rate knowledge on regulator trends and priorities. A good stable of leading work being done for the client base.’

‘Unlike other external counsels I engage, the competition team at Allens is proactive and commercial, and seeks to enable our business (rather than inhibit). This is a key strength and allows us to move forward with clear direction and advice.’

‘Fiona Crosby is a world-class competition lawyer, and undertakes the critical balance between providing sufficient details on the subject matter in question and real-life experience and understanding of business decisions.’

Key clients

Allianz Australia Insurance

AP Eagers

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group

Bayer AG

Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal User Group

Ford Motor Company

Global Infrastructure Fund

ANZ

CBA

Coles

Vocus

Melbourne Airport

Pfizer Australia

Port of Newcastle

Queensland Investment Corporation

Sony Interactive Entertainment

Sydney Airport

Uber Eats

Vodafone Hutchison Australia

Work highlights

  • Successfully acted for Vodafone Hutchison Australia in Federal Court proceedings against the ACCC regarding the client’s $15bn proposed merger with TPG Telecom.
  • Advised on obtaining ACCC merger authorisation for client AP Eagers’ buy-out of Automotive Holdings Group, enabling the merger of two of the largest new car dealership groups in Australia.
  • Assisting the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group with criminal cartel matters.

Ashurst

Ashurst’s lawyers offer ‘a fantastic range of skills’ across the areas of domestic and cross-border merger control, cartel defence, ACCC market enquiries and consumer law issues. The department is praised by clients for its expertise across a wide range of sectors, including technology, financial services, energy, consumer products, mining, and transport. Following the departure of former practice head Bill Reid who embarked on an in-house counsel career in October 2019, Peter Armitage now leads the practice out of Sydney. Also in Sydney, Ross Zaurrini and recently promoted partner Melissa Fraser have extensive experience acting for financial, infrastructure and consumer goods sector clients on complex regulatory matters, among others; counsel Tihana Zuk is also a key contact in Sydney. Taking the lead on key merger control highlights out of Brisbane, Alyssa Phillips also comes in for praise for being ‘a terrific, highly diligent competition partner’.

Practice head(s):

Peter Armitage

Testimonials

Responsive, commercial and pragmatic.

Excellent technical expertise, coupled with a strong ability to provide pragmatic and user-friendly advice in an appropriate format and in a timely manner.

Great team led by Peter Armitage, with a fantastic range of skills across merger clearance, ACCC investigations and prosecutions, class actions and infrastructure regulation.

Peter Armitage has a brilliant judgement and encyclopedic knowledge of competition law drawn from longstanding experience.

Ross Zaurrini is highly competent and practical, with his knowledge of a range of industries being a major asset.

Ross Zaurrini is a really strong competition litigator who exercises great judgment and gets matters effectively resolved with the ACCC.

Alyssa Phillips is a terrific, highly diligent competition partner, with global experience behind her and a real strength in merger clearance.

Justin Jones is really thoughtful, practical and sensible: he gives clients great confidence and guidance through tough decisions.

Melissa Fraser has a wonderful focus on clients; she delivers great results in competition matters, fully aligned with the client’s objectives and ways of working.

Counsel Tihana Zuk is a delight to work with, as she is very engaged and interested in her clients’ business, very responsive when we need quick answers, and very pragmatic. She did a training session for my legal team which some said was the best they had ever been to.

Key clients

Google

Woolworths

Aurizon

Samsung Electronics Co.

Cleanaway

AGL Energy

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group

Cement Australia

AIA Group

Nine Entertainment Co Holdings

Woodside Energy

EnergyAustralia

Prosegur Australia

Honeywell

Nutrien

GFG Alliance

Work highlights

  • Represented Aurizon in Federal Court proceedings brought by the ACCC in relation to the proposed sale of the Acacia Ridge rail terminal to Pacific National.
  • Acting for Google LLC in responding to the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry and related issues.
  • Advised Prosegur on competition aspects of its acquisition of Westpac’s offsite ATM fleet and the potential formation of an “ATM utility”.

Gilbert + Tobin

At Gilbert + Tobin, Sydney-based duo Luke Woodward and Elizabeth Avery share leadership of the ‘commercially astute and highly competent’ full-service competition department nationwide. The team has an unrivalled merger control strength across the Asia-Pacific region, which is additionally enhanced by the recent proliferation of transactions between domestic and foreign companies. The experience of Gina Cass-Gottlieb (Sydney) is difficult to match in relation to complex merger clearances of domestic and global transactions. Another key differentiating characteristic of the team is that multiple members have a multi-disciplinary background, including expertise in economic consulting utilised in the context of access regulation and merger issues. Alongside this merger control strength, the team acts for both corporate and government clients, and places a strong emphasis on regulatory advice, market studies and enforcement work. Also worthy of a note, the Melbourne-based team is experiencing an uptick in work from the pharmaceutical sector as a result of the arrival of special counsel Susan Jones in July 2019; Jones formerly occupied a leading in-house position at a large pharmaceutical company. The team also stands out in the energy sector, where Jennifer Barron (Sydney) is particularly prominent. Other sectors of focus include regulated sectors such as electricity, water, rail, gas, telecoms, financial services and life sciences, among multiple others.

Practice head(s):

Luke Woodward; Elizabeth Avery

Testimonials

‘G+T has the largest competition team with deep expertise in the market. Every member of the team is of consistently high quality, service-oriented, highly motivated and a pleasure to work with.’

‘Luke, his partners and team have a rare combination of cutting edge currency with global technical debates in competition law, close familiarity with local administrative agency processes and friendly service.’

‘G+T’s competition team is one of the best around, with strong partner leads and good depth of associates. Their experience across a wide range of issues, and high profile matters, gives you comfort that you are truly dealing with the experts.’

‘Gina Cass-Gottlieb is a standout performer. Highly experienced, available when needed, and brings a calm and considered approach.’

‘Jennifer Barron is highly regarded. Knowledgeable and very practical and client-focused.’

‘The G+T team are highly knowledgeable and able to deliver pragmatic, commercial advice tailored to the business. They also have excellent client focus. The team have often worked late into the night in order to ensure that deadlines are met within timeframes. They also have a breadth of knowledge throughout the firm which makes it easy to obtain advice on various areas of law.’

‘Charles Coorey is one of the most dedicated and knowledgeable lawyers I know. He is pragmatic in his approach and is able to deliver a tough message in the most diplomatic way. His commitment to delivering outstanding client service is exceptional. Charles works collaboratively with in-house legal teams and business operations to ensure timely, pragmatic advice which is tailored to the risk profile of the organisation. I would not dream of briefing any other competition lawyer.’

‘G+T leads competition law thinking, and provides unique access.’

‘Elizabeth Avery and team provide strategic advice and access to both wide and deep views of the competition law issues in which we engage.’

‘G+T is a professional and diligent team of lawyers that specialize in the complex litigation that often eventuates in this area of law. They partner with in-house teams and the business to ensure costs are managed and bring a forensic and thorough approach to case preparation and management.’

‘My team is led by Elizabeth Avery and she heads up a very professional and astute team of colleagues: Sophie Player, Sarah Lynch, Jacqueline Read, Jane Kluske, and Geoff Peterson. These individuals demonstrate ownership and accountability for the work streams assigned to them while at the same time clearly pull together as a team and own the outcome.’

Key clients

Westpac Bank / BT Financial

Wesfarmers

Telstra Corporation

Rio Tinto Coal Australia

Virgin Australia

CSR

Jemena

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha

Ausgrid

Qube Logistics

NSW Ports

Carnival Cruises

Coca-Cola Amatil

Expedia

Tabcorp

Microsoft

GrainCorp

ASX

Coles Group

ABInBev / CUB

Fitbit

Alstom

Applied Medical

iNova Pharmaceuticals

Mylan Inc

BlueScope

Work highlights

  • Advised AB InBev in relation to the successful antitrust clearance of the US$11.3bn sale of AB InBev’s Australian business, Carlton and United Breweries, to global brewer Asahi.
  • Acting for BlueScope in relation to the ACCC’s investigation of alleged price fixing cartel conduct relating to the supply of steel products in Australia in the period from late-2013 to mid-2014.
  • Advising Mylan Inc. on the Australian competition aspects of its proposed US$12bn merger with Pfizer’s off-patent dug business.

Herbert Smith Freehills

Herbert Smith Freehills is known for its competition work in key sectors such as energy, financial services, telecoms, and infrastructure and transport. The group led by Sydney-based practice head Liza Carver is renowned for its merger clearance work; it most recently acted for TPG on its high-profile, highly contested merger with Vodafone. Other fields of focus for the team include ACCC enforcement and regulatory issues; Patrick Gay is a name to note in this regard due to his extensive experience in the consumer products sphere. The group has a strong presence in Melbourne as well, where Sarah Benbow is routinely instructed in relation to Australian, European and UK enforcement matters and investigations. In mid-2020, Matthew Bull departed to chair the competition practice at Jones Day.

Practice head(s):

Liza Carver

Testimonials

‘Liza Carver is an exceptional practitioner.’

‘A very strong team. Consistently produces high-quality work. Excellent attention to detail but commercially focussed at the same time.’

‘Liza Carver is a leader in the field. Patrick Gay and Sarah Benbow are high-quality practitioners.’

‘HSF has a very strong competition team. In a difficult area of law, with judgement being critical, the team is willing to give firm advice and back that advice through the course of litigation. Cases become a matter of personal obligation to senior people and as a client, you do get the sense that they are in the trenches with you. Well connected, hard-working but efficient, I think they are as strong or stronger than any other firm in the Australia market.’

‘Liza Carver heads the team. She is strong-minded and a persuasive communicator, happy to be combative when needed. With a long history in the field, including as part of the regulator, Liza is an extremely well-respected voice in any room of competition lawyers, including those that are at the top of their teams in other major firms in Australia.

‘Senior Associate Patrick Clark is a first-class member of the team. His ability to get connected with the technical nuances of our case was remarkable and members of our engineering and commercial teams enjoy working with him to prepare critical evidence. He is one to watch.’

Key clients

ANZ / Citi / Deutsche Bank / NAB / CBA

Garmin Australiasia Pty

Santos

Bingo Industries

Caltex Australia

TPG Telecom

JCDecaux SA

AGL Energy

Visa

Aveo Group

Work highlights

  • Acted for TPG Telecom on its $15bn merger with Vodafone Hutchison Australia in the Federal Court of Australia.
  • Acting for Citigroup Global Markets Australia Pty in a landmark criminal cartel prosecution brought by the ACCC and the CDPP regarding an institutional placement by Australian and New Zealand Banking Group in 2015.
  • Acting for the Australian Finance Group on its acquisition of Connective Group Pty, to create the largest mortgage aggregator in Australia, AFG-Connective.

King & Wood Mallesons

Complex multi-jurisdictional merger clearances form the bedrock of King & Wood Mallesons’ competition law work; Sharon Henrick (Sydney), Simon Cooke (Melbourne) and dual-qualified associate Christopher Kok (Sydney) all have a solid track record assisting clients with merger control issues. In addition, the team is noted for its strong relationships with the regulators and praised by clients for being ‘at the forefront of competition cases and thinking’; of particular note, it is a stalwart of the cartel prosecutions, regulatory investigations and ACCC enforcement landscape. Consumer law investigations and related litigation are also a forte for the group, and also an area of specialism for Melbourne-based Caroline Coops. Sector-specific expertise includes financial services, mining, digital services, healthcare and pharmaceuticals and agribusiness, among others. Wayne Leach sits at the helm of the practice and is based in Sydney, where market commentators also highly recommend Peta Stevenson for her competition litigation expertise.

Practice head(s):

Wayne Leach

Testimonials

‘Sharon has an excellent sense of the issues that will register with the Commission.’

‘The leading competition law team in Australia. They are at the forefront of competition cases and thinking. Cannot recommend them highly enough.’

‘Caroline Coops, Ben Keily, Lisa Huett and Peta Stevenson are all leaders in the field. There commercial approach to matters is second to none. They are a pleasure to work with. Moreover, they consistently get the best results for their clients.’

Key clients

Facebook

Samsung

REA Group

Telstra

Lion

International Airline Group

Air New Zealand

A2B

Ricegrowers / SunRice

Yazaki

Medibank Private

Expedia

Luxottica/Essilor

Healius

Viterra

QBE Insurance

Transurban

amaysim

Kimberly-Clark Australia

Transgrid

Stockland

Tabcorp

Ausgrid

7-Eleven

ISDA

Woolworths

Alstom

United Technologies Corporation

ANZ

trivago

NatWest Markets Plc

Polyfoam Australia

Westpac

dōTERRA

AGL

Work highlights

  • Advised Lion Dairy & Drinks on the competition aspects of the $600m sale of its Dairy & Drinks business.
  • Acted for Facebook on the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry and follow-on matters arising from the Australian government’s subsequent review and proposed policy changes.
  • Representing NatWest Markets in class action proceedings alleging cartel conduct in connection with global foreign exchange trading.

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie benefits from the firm’s global network, upon which the Australia-based team is able to rely for multi-jurisdictional merger control work; Sydney-based practice head Georgina Foster has specialist expertise in this realm. The group is equally well-versed in the area of investigations, regulatory matters, and consumer law issues; dispute resolution department head Alex Wolff (Melbourne), recently promoted partner Helen Joyce (Melbourne) and Lynsey Edgar (Sydney) focus their practice on enforcement work. Further, the team stands out for its credentials in more innovative and trendy areas of competition law; of particular note, clients praise its ‘deep understanding of the payments industry’, but it also has accrued significant experience in the tech and life sciences sectors. Elizabeth Sarofim departed to Dentons at the end of 2019.

Practice head(s):

Georgina Foster

Testimonials

‘The Baker McKenzie Competition team has a broad depth of experience and takes the time to understand their client’s businesses and needs.’

‘Lynsey Edgar has a unique understanding of the needs of in-house legal teams and is able to deliver clear, considered and succinct advice without unnecessary legal complexities, making it easy for in-house teams to communicate the advice within the business.’

‘Baker & McKenzie’s Australia competition law team has strength in depth and a deep understanding of the payments industry. They offer efficiency in managing large projects and a high degree of assurance as to the focus with which things are done.’

‘Georgina Foster is outstanding at the partner level as is Holly Ritson as associate level. Knowledge, experience, clear-speaking and practical support to complex matters are very much valued.’

Key clients

Mastercard

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission

Orora

JB Hi-Fi

Graysonline

Suez

Fujifilm

Mars

NSW Government

Platinum Equity

Work highlights

  • Acting for the ACCC in 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 2010.
  • Acted for Orora on obtaining a merger clearance from the ACCC of the AU$1.7bn sale of Orora’s Australian cardboard packaging business to Australian Paper.
  • Advising Stanley Black & Decker on its resale price maintenance notification to the ACCC.

Clayton Utz

Despite being an independent national law firm, Clayton Utz maintains a strong focus on merger control work at both domestic and cross-border levels; Linda Evans has a solid reputation in this field. The department is a suitable proposition for clients seeking assistance with consumer law issues and related litigation; in this space, its work gains additional credibility due to Michael Corrigan’s former experience as National Chair of the Competition and Consumer Law Committee at the Law Council of Australia. The team’s workload demonstrates its ability to act across currently demanding and trendy sectors such as telecoms, financial services, technology, retail and transport. Bruce Lloyd is particularly prominent in the telecoms industry, while Elizabeth Richmond is a key contact for contentious competition issues. The department is based in Sydney and it is headed by Kirsten Webb.

Practice head(s):

Kirsten Webb

Key clients

Woolworths

Nbn

Singtel Optus

Pacific National

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

Origin Energy

Seven Group

Vodafone

Flutter Entertainment

Sportsbet Pty

Macquarie Bank

New Forests Asset Management

Chevron

Saputo Inc

Barclays

Port of Newcastle

Work highlights

  • Advised Vodafone Group on Vodafone Hutchison Australia’s proposed AU$15bn merger with TPG Telecom and its merger clearance process.
  • Advising Barclays, one of five defendants on a class action by its claimants over allegations concerning the global foreign exchange market.
  • Acted for Germany’s Gebr. Knauf KG on the ACCC clearance of its global US$7bn acquisition of American building products producer USG Corporation and parallel acquisition of Armstrong World Industries APAC.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth

Recommended for its ‘consistency of skill, service and commerciality’, Corrs Chambers Westgarth brings together expertise in both competition and international trade law. Key areas of competition work include merger control, ACCC inquiries, cartel investigations. On the trade side, the team acts for state governments, industry associations and manufacturers on trade defence and trade remedies. Mark McCowan leads the competition team, while Andrew Korbel heads the trade department; the duo is based in Sydney, where special counsel and merger control specialist Ian Reynolds is also a key team member. The Melbourne-based group is also noted for its competition law expertise; newly promoted partner Alistair Newton and Craig Phillips are the standout practitioners.

Practice head(s):

Mark McCowan; Andrew Korbel

Testimonials

A very strong team. It is unusual to get such consistency of skill, service and commerciality right across the team. I must also call this team out for its responsiveness and its use of people in different locations and time zones to deliver a seamless service – well before Covid-19.

I would recommend the team to any company in need of competition law advice, especially in the tech sector. They know the technology; they can apply it to the law; and they have a great feel for the tactics to apply when dealing with the regulators.

Corrs’ team members are always approachable and place the interests of clients at the forefront of any advice they provide. Corrs regularly updates clients via emails and newsletters on key legal developments which may impact a client’s business. As part of its service, Corrs has also attended our office to deliver presentations to our in-house team on specific areas of the law, including competition law. This level of service sets Corrs apart from other firms and is most helpful for in-house teams that need to be kept up-to-date in their practice areas.

Mark McCowan and Ian Reynolds provide practical and pragmatic advice. They have made the effort to get to know our business which has reaped rewards.

Mark McCowan is stellar – he presents well; remains on top of the details, and an easy person to work with.

Richard Flitcroft is a first-class professional – responsive, on top of his game, strategic where he needs to be, and conservative when called for.

Ian Reynolds is an excellent up-and-coming lawyer. He originally started in Brussels; since moving to Sydney, he has impressed me by the way he has learnt Australian law and practice and added his EU knowledge on top of that to give a very rounded knowledge and clever ideas.

Key clients

Coles Group

Australian Paper

Wesfarmers

REA Group

Medibank

nbn co

AB InBev

Johnson & Johnson

BP

Comcast Corporation

Mackay Sugar

EBOS Group

Google

Woodside Energy

Bristow Group

L3 Technologies

Daimler Mercedes

Carsales.com

Southern Cross Media

Aurizon Network Pty

Australian Sugar Industry Alliance

Kam Kiu Aluminium Group

Zhong Lun Law Firm

East & Concord Partners

Ray Yin & Partners

Tahota Law Firm

Mannheimer Swartling

Work highlights

  • Acting for Google in ACCC Federal Court litigation regarding Google’s collection, storage and use of location data – the first set of proceedings commenced by the ACCC following its Digital Platform Inquiry.
  • Acting for defence technology provider, L3 Technologies, on its US$34bn merger with Harris Corporation.
  • Advising Kam Kiu Aluminium Group in relation to the Australian Anti-Dumping Commission’s latest review of measures applying to aluminium extrusions exported from China to Australia.

Minter Ellison

Minter Ellison has carved out a reputation for acting on cartel and regulatory investigations and other competition enforcement matters; Katrina Groshinski (Sydney) is a name to note in this area. The firm’s independent law firm status also facilitates the team’s ability to act on both domestic and cross-border merger control issues, which is an area of specialism for Melbourne-based Geoff Carter. Also based in Melbourne is Miranda Noble, who is noted for her work on merger authorisation proceedings in the Australian Competition Tribunal. Sydney-based Paul Schoff leads the practice, which is well-equipped to handle work in the financial services, energy, telecoms, government and healthcare sectors. Senior associate Haydn Flack is another key team member in Sydney.

Practice head(s):

Paul Schoff

Key clients

Allianz

KraftHeinz

BMW

Raytheon

Internal Air and Transport Association

Viagogo

Deliveroo

Hertz

Australian Market Leaders

Commonwealth Bank of Australia

BetEasy

Arrotex Pharmaceuticals

Insurance Australia Group

Qantas

SingTel Optus

Bulla Dairy

Viva Energy

Work highlights

  • Acting for the State of New South Wales in relation to the ACCC’s NSW Ports litigation.
  • Advising Itay Tuchman, a senior executive charged in the ACCC / CDPP criminal cartel prosecution against ANZ/Citibank/Deutsche Bank.
  • Assisted US company Raytheon Company with the Australian regulatory approval process of the worldwide merger of defence contractors Raytheon and UTC Technologies.

DLA Piper

Sitting within the litigation and regulatory group, DLA Piper’s competition team acts for a client mix of Australian companies and regulatory bodies. The department’s workload showcases its strength in merger control and enforcement proceedings. Simon Uthmeyer serves as head of the practice, which is solely based in Melbourne. Fleur Gibbons displays an unparalleled experience acting for utility sector clients. In mid-2020, the group bolstered its capabilities in enforcement proceedings and consumer class actions through the arrival of litigator John Fogarty from Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

Practice head(s):

Simon Uthmeyer

Other key lawyers:

Fleur Gibbons; John Fogarty; Nadia Cooke

Key clients

Perth Airport

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

CitiPower, Powercor and United Energy

Australian Airports Association

Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal

Cairns Airport

Gold Coast Airport

Australian Health Services Alliance

Lake Vermont Resources

Zenimax Media

Work highlights

  • Acting for Perth Airport on proceedings issued against Qantas Airlines in the Western Australian Supreme Court.
  • Advising an electricity distributor which developed the ability to remotely control voltage across its network and was looking to trade that capability in the Frequency Control and Ancillary Services market.
  • Advising Mirvac Energy on registration, licensing, renewable energy target liability, and other regulatory obligations.

Johnson Winter & Slattery

Led out of Sydney by Aldo Nicotra and Sar Katdare, Johnson Winter & Slattery’s competition and antitrust team ‘consistently delivers accurate advice’ across a wide-ranging scope of competition, regulatory and consumer law issues. The practice is particularly active in merger control matters and high-profile ACCC investigations. Further, the group is noted for its ability to handle referrals from Germany and Belgium due to the expertise of Melbourne-based special counsel Wolfgang Hellmann. Also based in Melbourne, Tom Jarvis is a standout practitioner in the contentious competition arena. The group expanded its offering in the investigations realm with the appointment of special counsel Andrew Willekes from Norton Rose Fulbright.

Practice head(s):

Aldo Nicotra; Sar Katdare

Testimonials

‘We deal almost exclusively with one contact, Sar Katdare, who has built up a good understanding of our business and combines it with his exceptional understanding of not only the law but the principles and economic context which drive so much of the regulatory framework we operate within. Sar is always available and provides prompt advice.’

‘The JWS team consistently delivers accurate advice and support to its clients, which has been particularly valuable during the uncertainty of the current pandemic. A real depth of industry knowledge means they act as a genuine extension of our in-house team.’

‘Aldo Nicotra has been a key adviser for many years, with a wealth of industry experience and expertise. Despite a significant practice, he always makes himself available at short notice and offers insightful, practical advice on business-critical matters.’

Key clients

Unilever Group

Prysmian Group

The Walt Disney (Australia) Company

A2 Milk Company

Spotify

PepsiCo Inc

Bauer Media

Ramsay Health Care

3M Australia

Qantas / Jetstar

Boehringer Ingelheim

Work highlights

  • Representing Ramsay Healthcare in an ACCC prosecution for misuse of market power and exclusive dealing.
  • Advising Jetstar Airways Pty in relation to the ACCC’s Airlines Terms and Conditions Project.
  • Advising Qantas Group in relation to the ACCC investigation into its 19.9% acquisition of Alliance Airlines.

Jones Day

Jones Day utilises its access to the firm’s global network to handle complex cross-border merger clearances. Following the arrival of practice head Matthew Bull from Herbert Smith Freehills to the Melbourne-based office in April 2020, the team has also bolstered its regulatory and consumer law capabilities in the resources and energy industries. Sydney-based Prudence Smith is adept at handling matters in both Australia and New Zealand. Brisbane-based associate Dylan McIntyre is also a key figure.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Bull

Other key lawyers:

Prudence Smith; Dylan McIntyre

Key clients

Peabody Energy

KPMG

Tassal

Lincoln Electric

Work highlights

  • Acted for KPMG on its merger with Ferrier Hodgson.
  • Advised Metromix Pty, a joint venture between two competitors, on competition law risks relating to its ownership structure.
  • Acted for USG Corporation on the merger clearance aspects of its acquisition by Knauf.

Norton Rose Fulbright

At Norton Rose Fulbright, Sydney-based Nick McHugh leads the 'very commercial' antitrust and competition team, which assists its blue-chip client base with domestic and cross-border merger clearances, as well as defending complex ACCC investigations. The group has a particular strength in regulatory matters in the energy, telecoms and infrastructure industries. Other standout practitioners in Sydney include trade law group leader Martyn Taylor, Belinda Harvey and Claire Forster. Melbourne-based Andrew Riordan is a key contact for strategic contentious issues.

Practice head(s):

Nick McHugh; Martyn Taylor

Testimonials

‘What impressed me the most was their intimate knowledge of how the ACCC operated and the key angles to work in order to argue our matter successfully. The team were very commercial and quickly understood our business (which many do not) and its nuances – this really translated in their output and ultimately led to the success of our matter with the ACCC NRF represented us on. The team were always responsive, professional but with a great personal touch. The team’s quality really shone through when compared to the other law firm (another preeminent global law firm) working on the same matter (acting for our merger counterpart) – it was night and day and without NRF’s services, we would not have achieved the result we sought.’

‘Belinda Harvey is extremely personable and professional. She has a deep knowledge of competition law and how the ACCC operate, holds excellent relationships with various levels at the ACCC which proved invaluable and was able to quickly understand our business and rapidly drill into the fundamental issues to solve. She is highly responsive at all hours of the day and was an absolute pleasure to work with. Belinda’s senior associate, Zoe Lonard, was equally excellent in all aspects of her work. Essentially a junior version of Belinda, Zoe was the rare lawyer that understood both her area of law and our business extremely well so as to deliver a great outcome for us. Again, a pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

1st Energy

Ampol Management Services

Ashley & Martin Pty

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Australian Energy Regulator

Australian Securities & Investment Commission

Anglo American Australia

China Mengniu Dairy

CPA Australia

Digicel

GlaxoSmithKline Plc

General Motors

GrainCorp

Hyundai

Kumul Telikom Holding

Lilydale Instant Lawn Pty

Linfox Australia Pty

Macquarie Bank

Medibank Private

Megaport

Morton Bay Regional Council

NSW Department of Planning and Environment

PayPal Inc

Resource Management Services LLC

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

Santos GLNG

Schindler Lifts Australia Pty

Snack Brands

South 32

Total Gas & Power Asia Private

Vodafone Hutchison Australia

Volkswagen Group Australia Pty

Westpac Banking Corporation

Work highlights

  • Acted for Vodafone Hutchison Australia, the third largest mobile telecoms operator in Australia, in relation to its AU$15bn merger with TPG Telecom, the second largest fixed telecoms operator in Australia.
  • Advising GrainCorp, a leading international agribusiness, on an investigation by the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China into the alleged dumping of Australian barley into China.
  • Acting for Mr Jason Ellis, a former senior executive of BlueScope Australia, in defending allegations of cartel conduct in an ACCC civil cartel prosecution.

Allen & Overy LLP

During the decade since its establishment in 2010, Allen & Overy LLP’s Sydney-based competition department has established itself as a destination of choice for the Australian aspects of multi-jurisdictional merger clearances, market investigations, and competition litigation. Noted for its work across the Asia Pacific, the group acts in seamless cooperation with its counterpart based in China and Hong Kong. In addition, the technology, energy and financial services sectors are the team’s mainstays. Peter McDonald heads the practice, where counsel Stefanie Benson is also a key figure.

Practice head(s):

Peter McDonald

Other key lawyers:

Stefanie Benson

Testimonials

‘Stefanie Benson is an excellent competition practitioner – very knowledgeable, responsive and pragmatic.’

Key clients

Google

Asahi

Assa Abloy

21st Century Fox

BHP

General Electric

Alinta Energy

EG Group

Property Exchange Australia

Genesee & Wyoming Australia

Work highlights

  • Acted for Asahi Group Holdings in relation to its AU$16bn acquisition of Carlton & United Breweries by Anheuser-Busch InBev.
  • Acting as lead counsel to Google in respect of an ACCC market inquiry into digital platforms.
  • Acting for Alinta Energy, an electricity-generating company and gas retailer, in respect of two major ACCC-led market inquiries.

Arnold Bloch Leibler

Led out of Melbourne, Arnold Bloch Leibler’s competition team stands out for its reputation in competition litigation, ACCC investigations and prosecutions, and merger control issues. Of recent note, the group is also very active in the product recalls space. The team’s wide-ranging expertise include sectors such as food, financial services, agriculture, retail and construction. Practice head Zaven Mardirossian has extensive experience handling competition law disputes. Further, both Mardirossian and Matthew Lees combine expertise in competition and IP law.

Practice head(s):

Zaven Mardirossian

Other key lawyers:

Matthew LeesGabriel Sakkal

Key clients

Kogan Australia

Retail Food Group

Industry Super Australia

Tasmanian Ports Corporation

Aware Water Group

Troovo Pty

Snap Send Solve

Probiotec

Maso Capital Investments

Peter Alexander Sleepwear

C. R. Kennedy & Company Pty

Apotex International Inc

Zip Co

Work highlights

  • Acting for Kogan Australia, an ASX-listed online retailer, in Federal Court proceedings involving allegations that the client engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct.
  • Acting for Retail Food Group in an ongoing investigation by the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission involving allegations that the client breached the Australian Consumer Law and the Franchising Code of Conduct in its dealings with franchisees.
  • Acted for Industry Super Australia in relation to a range of competition and consumer law related matters.

Clifford Chance

At Clifford Chance, merger control, competition litigation, market investigations and regulatory issues for the bedrock of the competition team’s work. Of particular note, clients praise the team’s credentials in the realm of access regulation; acting for tech sector clients is another particular area of focus. Sydney-based Dave Poddar chairs the Asia-Pacific antitrust group, which benefits from being fully integrated within the firm’s global network across Europe, Asia and the US. Senior associate Mark Grime is also a key figure in the team.

Practice head(s):

Dave Poddar

Testimonials

Very good service. Great at meeting timelines for any work that is requested. Availability to discuss issues is also very good.

Well-versed in the competition and regulatory sphere, especially access regulation. Consistently involved in high-quality work. The team brings an understanding of how to navigate the key drivers behind the government’s and the regulators’ decision-making.

Dave Poddar is always available to discuss issues and to ensure that clients receive a very good service. He has very good experience.

Dave Poddar is extremely responsive and commercial in his dealings with us.  He understands our business and looks for all avenues to support the organisation in achieving its goals, including proactively advising of potential developments in this sphere.

Key clients

Glencore Coal

Bunnings

NBC Universal

Wesfarmers

Lactalis Australia

CBH Group

Australian Vintage

Australian Pharmaceutical Industries

New South Wales Minerals Council

Work highlights

  • Acted for Glencore on a number of matters, including proceedings concerning access charges to the shipping channels of the Newcastle Port, the world’s largest coal export port.
  • Acted for Bunnings in relation to its acquisition of Adelaide Tools, which involved a Phase II merger analysis by the ACCC.
  • Assisted AMA Group with its A$440m purchase from SunCorp of Capital Smart Smash repair business and ACM Parts.

HWL Ebsworth

HWL Ebsworth places a special emphasis on ACCC proceedings, merger clearances and consumer law issues. The team is spearheaded by Richard Westmoreland and litigator Peter Campbell, respectively based in Sydney and Adelaide.

Other key lawyers:

Alistair Little

K&L Gates

K&L Gates’ Sydney-based team ‘will go above and beyond for all matters’ and focuses on all aspects of merger clearances and supply chain issues. Regulatory investigations into cartel allegations and other breaches of competition law form another area of strength. The department’s work gains additional credibility due to the past experience of practice head Ayman Guirguis at the ACCC. The team is noted for being active across a wide range of sectors, including automotive, financial services, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and shipping, to name a few.

Practice head(s):

Ayman Guirguis

Testimonials

‘A small but high performing team that will go above and beyond for all matters, not just matters that are high in value.’

‘Ayman Guirguis has a deep interest and understanding in his client’s businesses and industries which allows him to deliver holistic, commercially-sound legal advice that considers the broader practical implications for the business.’

‘Each member of the team down to associate level is highly capable and it is apparent that they have the benefit of the close mentorship of Ayman Guirguis.’

Key clients

BlueScope Steel

ExxonMobil

HP

Visy Industries

Nutrien / Landmark

Medibank

Campbell Arnott’s

Honda Australia

Avis

Continental

Sanitarium

EnergyAustralia

Reckitt

Dyson

Ericsson

Standards Australia

GlobalX

HBF

GMHBA

Work highlights

  • Advised Ericsson on responding to an ACCC investigation into the proposed merger of Vodafone and TPG.
  • Assisted Engage Marine with bringing action against TasPorts in relation to a misuse of market power in the supply of marine services, the first action alleging misuse of market power under the amended misuse of market power provision.
  • Assisted HP with obtaining clearance from the ACCC for a resale price maintenance notification on online sales as part of the HP Online Store.

Mills Oakley Lawyers

Praised for its 'consistently practical and efficient legal advice', Mills Oakley Lawyers’ experience encompasses both contentious and non-contentious work, including cartel litigation and merger control. The team is routinely involved in matters arising in the technology, telecoms, food and beverage, manufacturing, retail and financial sectors. Sydney-based practice head Kathryn Edghill and Graham Maher are the key contacts.

Practice head(s):

Kathryn Edghill

Other key lawyers:

Graham Maher

Testimonials

‘I primarily deal with Kathryn Edghill directly. What sets her apart is her understanding of our complex business and the speed at which she is able to provide complex and practical advice.’

‘Kathryn Edghill was of the best lawyers I’ve worked with in Australia. Excellent understanding of Competition Law. Outstanding service and timeliness.’

‘Consistently practical and efficient legal advice delivered at the right level for our internal clients to understand and implement. Great value for money, with a flat monthly fee to deliver all our consumer law needs.’

‘Kathryn Edghill understands our business and our needs, and is an advisor we can trust absolutely. Elizabeth Thompson provides business savvy as well as smart legal solutions.’

‘Agile, flexible, focused on commercial solutions and partnering with the client. Kathryn Edghill is a safe pair of hands, commercially savvy, highly responsive and very relationship and solution-focused.

‘Kathryn Edghill is a highly experienced and extremely capable operator. She has a strong relationship with the ACCC, which has been developed over many years. Her approach is both thoughtful and practical, and she is a very strong advocate for her clients.’

Key clients

Mazda Australia Pty

eBay

American Express

LG Electronics

Frucor Suntory

Microsoft Corporation and Microsoft Australia

Vodafone

Avery Dennison

Electrolux

Mylan

Cameron Harrison

Winning Group

AC Nielsen

TJX Companies

Simplot Australia

Independent Purchasing Company (Australasia) Pty

Work highlights

  • Acting for Cameron Harrison, a former employee of The Country Care Group facing criminal charges arising from an alleged attempt to make a price fixing agreement in the medical aids / assistive technology industry.
  • Advising eBay on competition matters concerning to eBay’s Australian business.
  • Represented ANZ Roofing Pty and one of its directors in compulsory examinations by the ACCC, particularly in relation to allegations of attempted price fixing between roofing contractors on Facebook.