Competition: EU and global in Belgium

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is the pre-eminent firm in the Brussels market for EU and global competition law, with many international clients turning to it as their first choice antitrust counsel. The firm has an enviable reputation in market-shaping merger reviews, high-stakes conduct investigations and reputationally-sensitive litigation, among other areas. The heavyweight team in Brussels is supported by practitioners in offices throughout Europe, the US and further afield internationally. The first-rate outfit includes Daniel CulleyRobbert Snelders and associate Esther Kelly, who acted as antitrust counsel to Broadcom on its acquisition of Symantec in 2019. In another matter, Francisco Enrique González-Díaz was one of the advisers to Google on its $2.6bn cash acquisition of Looker Data Sciences Inc.  Other notable practitioners in the group include Antoine WincklerChristopher Cook and François-Charles Laprévote. Counsel Niklas Maydell is also recommended.

Other key lawyers:

Patrick Bock; Christopher Cook; Daniel Culley; Wolfgang Deselaers; Maurits Dolmans; Francisco Enrique González-Díaz; Thomas Graf; François-Charles Laprévote; Nicholas Levy; Robbert Snelders; Romano Subiotto QC; Antoine Winckler; Niklas Maydell; Esther Kelly; Andris Rimsa; Conor Opdebeeck-Wilson

Testimonials

One of the best firms in competition law worldwide with the best lawyers on the market and able to handle competition matters globally with top quality everywhere.

This team is Clear(l)y in a league of its own. They have in-depth knowledge of the law and the way it is applied in practice by courts and agencies, are involved in the most prominent cases and have the ability to anticipate and cope with shortcomings.

Partner François-Charles Laprévote stands out for his profound and solid knowledge and track-record in state aid matters. He is certainly among the best in this field.

Christopher Cook is great for coordinating multijurisdictional merger review processes.

The deepest bench in the world of EU competition law by far.

Thomas Graf is the key partner in competition law. He has great legal knowledge and assesses the facts, whilst also using his super business understanding. Thomas is recommended without any limitation and a really outstanding win for his clients!

Top of the line expertise with an unsurpassed ability to understand the “meat” of an issue and render prompt yet thoughtful and usable counsel.

It all comes down to the level of experience the team has in this specific field. The team knows what it takes to achieve the objective, including the human network, where to push and pull, which buttons to push at specific times, etc. The knowledge level across a wide range of industries is quite high, which leads to quick decision making.

Key clients

Alstom

ExxonMobil

Citigroup

Coca Cola

Google

IBM

LVMH

Nestlé

NVIDIA (Icera)

Sony

Telefónica

The Walt Disney Company

Whirlpool

UTC

Work highlights

  • Assisted Alstom with obtaining expeditious EU clearance of its acquisition of Bombardier Transportation, creating a global mobility leader with €75bn in backlog.
  • Acting for Google on its acquisition of Fitbit Inc. for $7.35 per share in cash, representing a total equity value of approximately $2.1bn.
  • Acting as antitrust counsel to Telefónica on its £31.4bn combination with Liberty Global; a deal which will create a new fixed mobile provider in the UK, by bringing together O2 (a mobile network operator) and Virgin Media (a provider of fixed-line telephony, internet, and TV services).

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance has an outstanding reputation in the competition arena, which is attributable to its excellent record of securing favourable outcomes for clients in groundbreaking and high-profile behavioural investigations, litigation and M&A. It is also a leading name in the state aid sphere, where Anastasios Tomtsis recently led the advice to a syndicate led by ABN AMRO, Rabobank and ING on the Dutch state's €3.4bn support package for KLM. Under the leadership of senior partner Thomas Vinje, the firm has established itself as a go-to in the technology sector, particularly among clients such as Oracle, Spotify and Nokia. It is well-known for its work relating to the EC's investigations into Google on FairSearch's behalf. The highly regarded group also includes practitioners such as Richard BlewettDieter PaemenDorothée Vermeiren and counsel Ashwin Van Rooijen.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Vinje

Other key lawyers:

Richard Blewett; Luciano Di Via; Miguel Odriozola; Dieter Paemen; Anastasios Tomtsis; Dorothée Vermeiren; Katrin Schallenberg; Michel Petite; Pierre-André Dubois; Ashwin van Rooijen; Jim Back

Testimonials

CC has an excellent EU competition law team on all levels: Thomas Vinje as senior partner, Ashwin van Rooijen as junior partner and Carmen Puscas as associate. All three are excellent in their roles, and this gives great leverage.

Thomas Vinje has been at the forefront of competition thinking for decades. He is an outstanding lawyer and highly influential thinker. His network is exceptional.

The team not only has the right level of knowledge but also the right level of connections with industry leaders as well as policymakers, so they can provide appropriate advice to clients, based on real business reality.

Anastasios Tomtsis is incredibly smart, dedicated, and supportive.

They have made real efforts to improve the diversity of their teams. They have, ie working in partnerships with the client.

It goes without saying that Clifford Chance’s legal briefings are brilliant, and this is in part because the competition practice has an amazing capability to communicate about the legal arguments and evidence of any case or issue while placing them in the relevant political and policy context. This means that while highly respected within the legal community, notably the Commission’s DG competition and national competition authorities; the firm is also respected across the EU political and media communities. They are also very up-to-date on business developments of their clients or which could impact their client. These understandings are often essential to bringing clients on board with a legal strategy. While I have worked with other firms that may demonstrate equal legal brilliance, their lawyers do not always have the same level of political understanding.

I would like to single out Thomas Vinje, Dieter Paemen and Ashwin Van Rooijen as exceptional lawyers reflecting commitment to solid legal arguments and jurisprudence but who understand the broader picture. But equally important, they are easy to work with.

They are strong across the team, partners and associates.

Key clients

AXA

Carrefour

FairSearch

GE

KONE

Naspers

Nokia

Oracle

SABIC

Spotify

Work highlights

  • Advising Spotify on the European Commission’s formal investigation into Apple’s rules for app developers on the distribution of apps via the App Store.
  • Advised GE on the acquisition by Danaher of GE’s Biopharma business (M.9331) and on an Article 14(1) EUMR investigation (M.8436) where the European Commission ended up imposing a fine “significantly lower than the bottom end of the fining range approved by the College for a possible cooperation procedure”.
  • Representing FairSearch before the European Court of Justice as an intervenor supporting the European Commission on Google’s appeal of the Commission’s 2018 Google Android infringement decision, in which the Commission imposed a record fine of €4.34bn.

Covington & Burling LLP

Covington & Burling LLP's team includes Miranda Cole, who is knowledgeable about the competition, regulatory and policy issues shaping the online sector. In addition, she has a notable specialism in the life sciences industry, which has long been another area of strength for the firm. Peter Camesasca is increasingly sought out to advise on big data issues, and co-chairs the firm's Asia and FDI (foreign direct investment initiatives). Johan Ysewyn heads up the group, whose recent work included defending Samsung in various damages actions. Elsewhere, the firm has a strong track record during cartel defence and abuse of dominance cases, and is often a first port of call on complex multijurisdictional merger reviews. Other notable individuals include Kevin Coates, of counsel Andrea ZulliSophie Bertin and special counsel Melissa Van Schoorisse.

Practice head(s):

Johan Ysewyn

Other key lawyers:

Miranda Cole; Peter Camesasca; Kevin Coates; Sophie Bertin; Andrea Zulli; Melissa Van Schoorisse;

Testimonials

Covington Brussels has a first-rate competition practice. I am most impressed by their depth of experience. They can literally do everything – cartels, abuse of dominance, mergers, litigation, etc. Great balance too in the team between more senior and younger partners.

Peter Camesasca is one of the leading lights in Brussels. Brilliant strategist and has the Midas touch with clients.

The Covington team is extremely well composed (various highly experienced lawyers), highly innovative (eg front runner in FDI) and super knowledgeable.

Johann Ysewyn is a statesman and leading figure in the Brussels antitrust community. Peter Camesasca is the centre of legal competence; highly efficient lawyer who gets things done. Andrea Zulli is ace in handling complex matters and guiding clients through them.

Covington has an excellent competition law team, capable of ensuring high-quality on both sides of the Atlantic. Johan Ysewyn and Kevin Coates, in particular, are among the top lawyers in the Brussels market.

The Brussels office has a very impressive track record in state aid and life sciences work recently, with Miranda Cole seen, in particular, on multiple transactions.

Johan Ysewyn seems to be involved in nearly every important state aid matter and is viewed as a leader in the Brussels market. His collegial approach makes working with him very pleasant and helps a lot to get good outcomes from clients. Authorities listen carefully to what he has to say and this can often be the crucial element in a matter.

Key clients

Air Products

AstraZeneca

airBaltic

GlaxoSmithKline

Belgian Government

Bombardier

Deutsche Telekom

DPG Media

European Tissue Symposium

Merck Sharpe & Dohme

Michelin

PSA Antwerp/MPET

UCB

Samsung Electronics Ltd

Work highlights

  • Advising PSA Antwerp on circa €1.17bn transaction with the Polish Development Fund (PFR) (in Polish: Polski Fundusz Rozwoju) and IFM Investors to acquire control over a container terminal in Gdansk port.
  • Advised airBaltic on the notification to the European Commission of a €250m recapitalisation by the Latvian government.
  • Acting for Deutsche Telekom AG (“DT”) as one of eight defendants being sued for alleged antitrust violations by Phones 4U Limited (In Administration) (“P4U”) following the latter’s high-profile collapse in 2014.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Jones Day

Jones Day's competition team in Brussels, which is a core part of the large global practice, is highlighted for its excellent record in big-ticket, multijurisdictional mergers, high-stakes conduct investigations, state aid cases and litigation. Bernard Amory and Alexandre Verheyden lead the group, which has proven expertise across a wide range of sectors, including telecoms, technology and financial services. Charlotte Breuvart is knowledgeable about competition and regulatory issues relating to the energy sector. Mario Todino is representing Banca d'Italia at the European Court of Justice in the EC's appeal of the General Court's judgement in the Banca Tercas state aid case. On the transactional side, Charles de Navacelle was one of the advisers to OMNOVA Solutions Inc on its $824m acquisition by Synthomer Plc. Serge ClerckxPhilipp Werner and Kaarli Eichhorn are among other notable individuals.

Practice head(s):

Bernard Amory; Alexandre Verheyden

Other key lawyers:

Charlotte Breuvart; Serge Clerckx; Yvan Desmedt; Mario Todino; Philipp Werner; Renato Antonini; Charles de Navacelle; Laurent De Muyter; Kaarli Eichhorn; Geoffroy van de Walle;

Testimonials

Have seen them as a great team with very sound knowledge of law and a great sense of how to deal with complex matters. They are very effective in structuring and efficiently leading multi-jurisdictional internal investigations. They produce output that is clear and to the point for legal insiders as well as senior management decision-makers.

Philipp Werner is a thoughtful and personally engaged lawyer who can both lead and motivate teams and delve into complex legal questions… someone I would feel very comfortable to have by my side in a high-stakes case. Sometimes, Philipp is described as a state aid/mergers lawyer, but he has shown great skills in the area of antitrust investigations, too.

Yvan Desmedt did a great job with assisting with key difficult decisions. His knowledge and deep insight into matters were critical.

Clear and high-level advice, packaged in a user-friendly format that is easy to share with business colleagues and high responsiveness. All you could need from lawyers.

Bernard Amory is a very smart lawyer who immediately understands priorities and adapts time allocation accordingly. Serge Clerckx provides thorough and well-articulated advice.

Excellent team across Europe, with strong teams in Brussels, Paris, London, Amsterdam and Germany. Complementary skills and personalities.

Very responsive and dedicated. Quality team

Bernard Amory is an outstanding partner. His expertise in competition law in the EU is impressive and he provides solid legal advice. He is one of the best competition lawyers in Europe. He is highly regarded by his peers and by the European Commission. Absolutely a tier 1 level.

Key clients

AGC Glass

Banca d’ltalia (Italian Central Bank)

Bombardier Inc.

Deutsche Telekom / T-Mobile

EDF

FCA Bank

Fluxys

GE

Mastercard

NVIDIA

Procter & Gamble

Suez

Teréga

Wabtec

Work highlights

  • Assisted Bombardier with obtaining approval of the of sale its transportation business for €7.45bn to Alstom, which follows Bombardier’s successful opposition to Siemens’ proposed acquisition of Alstom in the rail industry.
  • Advised NVIDIA on its successful $6.9bn acquisition of Mellanox Technologies, Ltd.
  • Advising Suez in the sale of its continental Europe waste management businesses for €3bn.

Latham & Watkins LLP

At Latham & Watkins LLPSven VölckerLars Kjølbye and Luca Crocco are key partners in the team, which is recognised for its wealth of experience securing EU and other multijurisdictional merger clearances associated with industry-shaping transactions. Kjølbye is particularly noted for his involvement in big-ticket deals from the high-tech industry. Elsewhere, the firm has featured in a number of novel behavioural cases; this has included work in the e-commerce space involving issues such as geo-blocking, licensing of standard essential patents, rebates and interoperability. State aid work is another area of strength, with the firm undertaking compliance-related advisory work and litigation for companies, industry associations and public authorities.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has a market-leading reputation for EU and global merger control work, and regularly attracts many of the largest and most high-profile mandates. Currently, Frederic Depoortere is leading a team advising Air Canada on the EC phase II merger review of its €470m acquisition of Transat A.T., with up to half of the firm's competition practice in Brussels also made up of behavioural investigations, including cartels, abuses of dominance and other anticompetitive conduct. Its offering in this area has gained momentum since Bill Batchelor joined the firm in 2018. Other recent work includes EC investigations in the high-tech sector, with cases involving allegations of geo-blocking and aftermarket foreclosure. The pharmaceutical industry has been another area of activity, including pay-for-delay and excessive pricing cases. Elsewhere, Ingrid Vandenborre recently represented both Kuoni and Thomas Cook during an investigation by the EC into so-called geo-blocking clauses that provided for different hotel accommodation conditions. Giorgio Motta and counsel Stéphane Dionnet are other names to note.

Practice head(s):

Ingrid Vandenborre; Bill Batchelor; Frederic Depoortere; Giorgio Motta

Other key lawyers:

Stéphane Dionnet

Testimonials

Ingrid Vandenborre at Skadden understands and thinks with her clients. She has proven excellent knowledge of the legal, political and commercial landscape. She gives sound and valuable guidance in complex issues based on thorough analysis and with a capacity to look at matters through a bigger picture lens.

Very good knowledge of our business, practical and business-oriented solutions, easy to deal with.

Key clients

ABB Ltd

Air Canada

Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Limited

beIN Media

Cisco/Acacia

DSV A/S

DuPont

Embraer S.A.

Kuoni

Major European financial institution

Major UK based bank

Multinational software provider

Mylan

Sabre Inc.

Thomas Cook

UniCredit S.p.A

Visa

WABCO Holdings Inc.

WeWork

Willis Towers Watson

ZeniMax Media Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised ABB Ltd on its largest merger control case to date, the $11bn majority stake sale of its Power Grids business to Hitachi, Ltd.
  • Representing Aspen Pharmacare Holdings before the European Commission in relation to allegations of abuse of dominance (excessive pricing) brought by the European Commission on 15 May 2017, following the infringement decision adopted by the Italian Competition Authority on 29 September 2016.
  • Represented both Kuoni and Thomas Cook in an investigation by the EU Commission into so-called geo-blocking clauses that provided for different hotel accommodation conditions depending on the location or residence of the traveller.

Slaughter and May

Slaughter and May's team is heavily involved in conduct investigations and transactional work involving the EC and national competition authorities, including the UK CMA. It also represents clients in litigation before the General Court, Court of Justice, Competition Appeal Tribunal and Court of Appeal. Elsewhere, other key workstreams include state aid cases and consumer law-related matters. Operating as a single integrated practice, the group comprises of partners and associates who are based full-time in Brussels, as well as London-based individuals whose practices are split between the two cities. John Boyce (Brussels-based since 1996) and Kerry O’Connell are jointly leading a group advising global animal health company Elanco on the global merger control aspects (including EU) of its proposed acquisition of Bayer’s animal health business. Anna Lyle-Smythe's recent work for British Airways included advice on a CMA investigation into its transatlantic alliance with American Airlines, as well as the multijurisdictional airfreight services cartel litigation. Jordan Ellison and associate Alexander Chadd are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Bertrand Louveaux (London/Brussels); Claire Jeffs (London/Brussels); John Boyce (Brussels); Natalie Yeung (Hong Kong)

Other key lawyers:

Anna Lyle-Smythe (Brussels); Jordan Ellison (Brussels); Kerry O’Connell (Brussels); Philippe Chappatte (London/Brussels); Lisa Wright (London/Brussels); William Turtle (London/Brussels); Alexander Chadd (Brussels)

Testimonials

Very high quality across the board, including both partners and associates.

Fantastic; clearly first class. Extremely collaborative with their London office, local counsels and our own business. Great depth of knowledge across all areas of competition law with a consistently outstanding quality level. Excellent communicators.

Jordan Ellison is fantastic. He knows the law inside out, works efficiently and always adds value. It’s a pleasure to work with him.

Able to take the lead in a complex cross-border merger or acquisition in order to anticipate the antitrust concerns and, as far as possible, design the transaction structure to optimise the chances of clearance.

We work primarily with Kerry O’Connell who is smart, knowledgeable, quick and practical.

I think Slaughter and May really well utilises its network of best friend law firms around the world. As for billing, I think Slaughter and May is always striving to meet client expectations and clients are very appreciative of the cost/benefit ratio they receive.

I mainly work with Jordan Ellison and he is clearly an outstanding competition lawyer. He combines leading technical and legal knowledge with a down to earth, client-friendly approach to work. His availability and speed of response are also highly notable.

A very deep partner bench led by a number of stars. My first choice for European counsel.

Key clients

Allergan

Allianz

ARM Holdings

British Airways/IAG

CSL

Deliveroo

DS Smith

Elanco

Ericsson

Google

GlaxoSmithKline

INEOS

International Swaps and Derivatives Associates (ISDA)

Marsh & McLennan

Panasonic/Toyota

Salesforce

S&P Global (Platts)

Royal Dutch Shell

Spectris

Takeaway.com (now Just Eat Takeaway.com)

Thermo Fisher Scientific

Trafigura

Vodafone

Work highlights

  • Advising global animal health company Elanco on its proposed acquisition of Bayer’s Animal Health Business and on the related sale of Elanco’s Osurnia product business to Dechra Pharmaceuticals.
  • Advising Google in relation to various matters, including on an appeal to the General Court of the EC investigation into its AdSense for Search advertising services, and the studies by the Japan Headquarters for Digital Market Competition and the Japan Fair Trade Commission on competition in digital advertising.
  • Advising International Airlines Group on the EU merger regulation aspects of its proposed acquisition of Spanish airline Air Europa.

Van Bael & Bellis

Van Bael & Bellis opened a London office in September 2020, with UK and EU competition law being one of its key areas of focus, along with state aid and foreign direct investment screening, among others. The Brussels team, led by Andrzej Kmiecik, often undertakes complex merger control work for intervening parties and merging entities. On a related note, Porter Elliott has acted on more than 100 transactions in the past 20 years. Elsewhere, the group has expertise in cartels and other horizontal agreements, abuses of dominance and state aid, as well as distribution and pricing issues. It is also increasingly instructed to handle follow-on damages actions. Jean-François Bellis and Tim Kasten recently represented the Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) at the General Court in an appeal of the Court of Justice's decision to set aside a previous General Court judgment, which saw it impose a landmark fine of €1.06bn on Intel for allegedly granting rebates and payments to customers conditional on exclusivity. Other notable individuals in the group include David HullAndreas ReindlKris Van HoveJohan Van Acker and Markus WellingerMichael Clancy made partner, while Aldo Scalini was promoted to counsel.

Practice head(s):

Andrzej Kmiecik

Other key lawyers:

Jean-François Bellis; David Hull; Porter Elliott; Kris Van Hove; Markus Wellinger; Johan Van Acker; Andreas Reindl; Michael Clancy; Catherine Gordley; Aldo Scalini

Testimonials

Very professional support. Quick responses.

Very good experts. Special mention to Kris Van Hove, Catherine Gordley and Andreas Reindl.

VBB are extremely good in competition law, if not the best I have worked with. They are exceptionally competent, business-minded and very reactive in their replies: all one can need!

The most impressive lawyer is Jean-François Bellis. He is like the textbook of practice on EU competition law and trade law.

Key clients

Bloomberg

Boeing

CISAC

Eli Lilly

Engie

Fincantieri

Gigaset

Gilead

Highgate Capital Management

Honda

Huhtamäki

Hyundai Merchant Marine

Japan Airlines

Nike

Nissan

Norwegian Seafood Federation

Renault

Samsung

Stora Enso

Toyota Financial Services Corporation

Umicore

Work highlights

  • Acted as co-counsel to Boeing on the EU phase II merger control review of its acquisition of an 80% stake in the commercial jet aircraft business of Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer and the formation of a joint venture between the two companies in relation to the KC-390 military transport aircraft.
  • Representing Gigaset Communications LLC, a German manufacturer of mobile phones and other telecommunications equipment, as an intervener in support of Google in Google’s appeal against the Commission decision concerning the Android Mobile Platform and resulting in a €4.34bn fine.
  • Advised Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri on its proposed acquisition of control over rival Chantiers de l’Atlantique.

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP's high-calibre Brussels team includes practitioners from throughout the EU, many of whom are also UK or US-qualified. It has a notably strong track record in prominent antitrust investigations and litigation and, in addition, has featured in many ground-breaking mergers. The group works closely with other offices across the global network to cover a full range of complex multijurisdictional competition issues. Mark PowellGenevra Forwood and Alexandra Rogers are working with practitioners based in London to advise Nexans on several UK follow-on damages claims linked to the High Voltage Power Cables cartel, as well as potential claims in other jurisdictions. Brussels executive partner Axel Schulz is one of the firm's key merger control experts. Also recommended are James Killick and Assimakis KomninosJérémie Jourdan and Strati Sakellariou-Witt both made partners in 2020.

Practice head(s):

Axel Schulz; Mark Powell

Other key lawyers:

James Killick; Assimakis Komninos; Katarzyna Czapracka; Genevra Forwood; Strati Sakellariou-Witt; Jérémie Jourdan; Marika Harjula; Jan Jeram; Irina Trichkovska

Testimonials

The strengths of the team are their ability to analyse the specifics of the client, proposal of appropriate legal solutions for the particular case, speedy reactions in short deadlines.

White & Case’s competition law team demonstrates an exceptional level of internal coordination and communication, as well as very valuable proactivity towards clients on all pending and potential matters. Their deep knowledge of the case file, as well as long-term strategic thinking is a major asset.

The team demonstrates exceptional expertise in competition law, and in its practical aspects, especially when it comes to global companies.

Mark Powell possesses strong leadership qualities and has an impressive sense of direction allowing him to think quickly and clearly in complicated environment, as well as under pressure. A seasoned practitioner, he is able to immediately grasp the legal essence of the problems, their business rationale and provide critical legal support and strategic advice. His communication skills allow him to effectively direct and manage the efforts of internal and external resources, to translate legal concerns in practical terms and get his message across to clients and partners. Kai Struckmann is another top-quality lawyer. His creativity while developing different perspectives of defence strategies is very impressive. Along with competition, Kai has profound knowledge of state aid in the field of energy. His experience, tact and good judgement are very beneficial to his clients. Kai is a team player and working with him is always exciting and rewarding. Irina Trichkovska is an outstanding lawyer who has shown a talent for making difficult legal issues understandable and solvable while coordinating the work internally and interacting effectively with local counsel and business leads on all organization levels. She is hard-working, with exceptional analytical ability and focus to detail. Irina has considerable experience with clients and cases from the CEE region, allowing her to understand better clients’ needs and provide legal advice with high added value. She is very responsive and, overall, a great person to work with.

Immediate access to partners and ability to react quickly.

James Killick delivers truly valuable advice based on his expertise and deep sector experience.

Key clients

Autoliv

Republic of Bulgaria

Bulgarian Energy Holding, Bulgartransgaz and Bulgargaz

Coca-Cola HBC

Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA)

Crédit Agricole

Deutsche Telekom

DIC Corporation/Sun Chemical

Facebook

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

Metso Corporation

Mr Ioan Micula

Nexans

Nordic Capital

NTN

Pfizer Inc.

SAS (Scandinavian Airlines)

Saudi Aramco

Servier

Takeda Pharmaceuticals International AG

Toshiba

Work highlights

  • Representing the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), which has made a statement in intervention before the General Court in support of Google in the Shopping case. The firm is currently involved in all three cases brought against Google by the European Commission (Google Shopping, Google Android and Google Ad-Sense).
  • Acting for Saudi Aramco on its $70bn acquisition of SABIC, the fourth-largest chemical company in the world, which required merger control filings in 25 jurisdictions around the globe – all of which were coordinated by the Brussels team.
  • Advised Metso on its combination with Outotec Oyj, with the remainder of Metso, Metso Flow Control becoming an independent separately listed company under the name Neles.

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP has a particularly strong track record representing global clients in major European and worldwide cartel (and other behavioural) investigations, as well as follow-on litigation. In addition, the firm's global reach makes it a strong choice for M&A involving multijurisdictional merger clearances. Dirk Arts heads up the team, whose sector experience includes the TMT, financial services, automotive and energy sectors. Other key partners to note are Jürgen Schindler and Dominic Long. Counsels Frances DethmersFrancesca Miotto and Charles Pommiès are also recommended. Mark Taylor and Benjamin Geisel made senior associate, while Vanessa Turner joined the European Consumers Association in Brussels in January 2020. In a more recent development, Karel Bourgeois joined Crowell & Moring.

Practice head(s):

Dirk Arts

Other key lawyers:

Jürgen Schindler; Dominic Long; Frances Dethmers; Francesca Miotto; Charles Pommiès; Mark Taylor; Benjamin Geisel

Testimonials

Very devoted team with a good understanding of our business. Matters at hand are very technical complicated.

Highly skilled network across the world. The lawyers at A&O always perform “deep dives” to get to the bottom of all issues.

A&O’s Brussels team around Dirk Arts and Francesca Miotto did an extraordinary job before the General Court in the Scania case and their tactic and arguments truly were the game-changer in the case. Amazing achievement!

Francesca Miotto is a very talented lawyer who knows competition by heart but she is also capable to creatively frame it to the best of the client´s interest.

An outstanding team for EC competition law, among the very best in Brussels. They are particularly strong in Article 101 cases, including cartels and similar conduct where, in my view, they are the best in town by a margin. They are also very strong in Article 102 and mergers. Their strength is due to a combination of rigorous thinking, creativity in identifying new arguments and solutions, commitment to achieving the best outcome for their clients, excellent understanding and experience of which arguments do and do not work with the Commission and EU courts, and strong advocacy skills. Many other firms choose to “play it safe” by giving advice that is hard to criticise, but A&O take risks on themselves in order to achieve the best outcome for their clients.

Arnold & Porter

Arnold & Porter's Brussels team, led by Luc Gyselen, works with lawyers in Frankfurt and London as one integrated EU competition practice. It offers clients the benefits of expertise across a wide range of sectors – particularly regulated industries, such as financial services, transport and telecoms. The practice is particularly prominent in high-profile mergers, and has been notably active in the pharmaceuticals and life sciences space. Axel Gutermuth and counsel Charlotte Simphal recently worked with Washington DC-based practitioners to act as EU and global lead co-counsel to AbbVie on its $63bn acquisition of Allergan. Elsewhere, other recent drivers of activity include cartel-related work and damages litigation, as well as state aid cases. Niels Ersbøll regularly acts for Asia-based clients, including those in Japan and South Korea.

Practice head(s):

Luc Gyselen

Other key lawyers:

Niels Ersbøll; Axel Gutermuth; Sebastian Jungermann; Charlotte Simphal; Athanasia Gavala

Testimonials

The team is responsive and thinks outside the box. Niels Ersbøll is great to work with

Key clients

AbbVie

AT&T

ARYZTA Group

Belgian government

Boston Scientific

BP

Bulgarian government

Carestream

Cisco Systems

Cristal

Eden Europe

Fitbit

Fujikura

GN Resound

GN Audio

Heineken

Hitachi-LG Data Storage

Mitsui OSK Lines

Monsanto Inc.

Novo Nordisk

Pfizer

SABIC

SAFRAN Group

Samsung

Visa Inc.

Xilinx

ZF TRW and ZF Wind

Work highlights

  • Acting as lead antitrust counsel to Pfizer on the proposed combination of Upjohn, Pfizer’s off-patent branded and generic established medicines business, with Mylan, creating a new global pharmaceutical company.
  • Acting as lead antitrust counsel to Pfizer, overseeing the EU and all other ex-US filings on its $12.7bn joint venture with GSK combining the parties of consumer healthcare businesses.
  • Acting as global lead antitrust counsel to Fitbit on its pending $2.1bn acquisition by Google.

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL

Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL's excellent team is sought out for advice on multijurisdictional merger control, joint ventures, conduct investigations and follow-on litigation, as well as distribution issues and competition compliance programmes. It acts as lead counsel to the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) on key EU policy and competition law matters. Fiona CarlinKurt Haegeman (whose practice is split between Tokyo and Brussels), Nina Niejahr  and Bram Hoorelbeke are advising the Brands for Europe coalition on the EU's review of the Vertical Block Exemption and Guidelines. As for the transactional side, Werner Berg was part of the cross-office group which acted for Faurecia on the competition aspects of its proposed €225m acquisition (excluding cash) from Continental of the 50% share capital that the client did not own in SAS Automotive Systems. Gavin Bushell is another key name.

Practice head(s):

Fiona Carlin (EMEA+ chief executive); Werner Berg (head of European competition law practice); Nina Niejahr (EU state aid practice)

Other key lawyers:

Kurt Haegeman (Brussels/Tokyo): Gavin Bushell; Werner Berg; Joost Haans; Christopher Jones; Paul Johnson; Nina Niejahr

Testimonials

‘Partner Joost Haans’ in-house experience is very valuable for the practice.’

‘Werner Berg is an outstanding partner, very practical in his recommendations and very available for his clients. The team is also very efficient and quick in responding to questions.’

‘The team has in-depth industry knowledge in the life sciences market and understands how to communicate with key business stakeholders with a scientific rather than legal background.’

‘The are tremendously accessible, pragmatic and resolute.’

‘Very commercial and pragmatic, combined with excellent technical skills. Very clear advice and recommendations.’

‘Gavin Bushell is an antitrust star. Always available. Always provides crystal clear advice that is well tailored for the commercial aspects of the deal. ’

Key clients

Abbott Laboratories

ACG Inc

ADM

Arconic

Allegion

Allianz

ArcelorMittal

Archer Daniels Midland

AT&T

Baxter

BBA Aviation

Biogen

Brookfield Capital Partners

Casio Computer Ltd

Camso

Carlsberg

Chr. Hansen

Cisco Systems Inc

Daimler

Danone

De Heus

Dun & Bradstreet

Eastman Chemicals

EFPIA

Emerson

Embracer

Ergon Capital/Keesing

Essity

Faurecia

FedEx

FSN Capital

Gazprom Export LLC

General Electric Company

General Motors

Generali

Google

HBO

Hitachi Ltd

HP

IMAA

KIA

KYB

Larsen & Toubro

Lindt

Lely – global operating manafacturer of agricultural equipment

Lonza Group

LYC Chemical

Maersk

Merck

Mitsubishi

Modanisa

Mondelez

MOL

MTU Maintenance

Nordic Capital

Novo Nordisk

Nyrstar

OEP

Peak Achievement Athletics

Plantronics/Polycom

Recticel

Rio Tinto

Rubrik

Sappi

TA Associates

Takeda

TVA

Unilever

UBS

Warner Bros

Willis Towers Watson

Westinghouse Electric Company LLC

Zen Noh Grain Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advising Brookfield Capital Partners on its $13bn acquisition of the Johnson Controls power unit business and managing multiple merger control filings.
  • Advising Hitachi Ltd on its $11bn acquisition of the power grids business of ABB.
  • Advised Lonza AG and Christian Hansen on the creation of a full-function joint venture in the area of biologics contract manufacturing services to the pharmaceutical industry.

Gibson Dunn

As part of a global antitrust practice, Gibson Dunn's Brussels team is regularly instructed in worldwide cartel investigations; it has appeared in over 100 cases, successfully securing full immunity for more than 50 companies in 20 countries on five continents.  Elsewhere, the group demonstrates strong credentials in abuse of dominance investigations, acting for complainants and defendants, as well as when handling challenging high-profile mergers. On the state aid side, Lena Sandberg and others are representing Danish transport association ITD in three state aid complaints lodged before the EC against allegedly unlawful and incompatible state aid granted to the Danish postal service. Elsewhere, the firm acts for clients operating in sectors such as technology, telecoms, consumer goods and energy. David Wood heads up the team, which includes Peter AlexiadisChristian Riis-MadsenAttila Borsos and Alejandro Guerrero.

Practice head(s):

David Wood

Other key lawyers:

Peter Alexiadis; Christian Riis-Madsen; Lena Sandberg; Attila Borsos; Alejandro Guerrero

Testimonials

Christian Riis-Madsen and his team provide timely and practical advice. His advice is always on point and acts as a true business partner, taking the time to really understand our business.

Christian Riis-Madsen is an invaluable part of our outside counsel. He understands  business and always provides practical and up-to-date advice.

Thorough knowledge of competition law, EU and global, and the ability to provide advice on those matters in a business-friendly and very quick manner.

Key clients

UBS

Schlumberger

Energizer

AT&T

E.ON SE

Marriott International

Estée Lauder

MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company

1&1 Telecom GmbH

Terminal Investment Limited

Mattel

Sekisui

Cyprus Telecoms Regulatory Authority (OCECPR)

Honeywell

Greek Government

URENCO

UPS

Edgewell

Vodafone

AlzChem Group AG

Scandlines

Stena Line Scandinavia

HH Ferries

ITD

The Stars Group Inc

Brooks Sports, Inc.

PepsiCo

Fair Trade Advocacy Office

Salzgitter AG

Work highlights

  • Acted for Scandlines and Stena Line Scandinavia at the General Court in an appeal of the EC’s decision to terminate a formal investigation into financial support granted by Denmark in the form of State guarantees and State loans to the Fehmarn fixed link.
  • Acted as lead counsel to Germany’s biggest internet provider and a Mobile Virtual Network operator, 1&1 Telecom, in its appeals to the General Court against aspects of the European Commission’s clearance of the Telefónica/E-Plus merger (Case M.7018 – Telefónica/E-Plus).
  • Acting as external counsel to the Greek Government in support of three separate broadband under state aid schemes.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has a strong profile among global corporates, for whom it undertakes the multijurisdictional merger filings associated with big-ticket transactions. One notable facet of the practice is its ability to handle front-end planning on foreign direct investment issues, as well as cutting-edge cartel and abuse of dominance investigations, alongside any related litigation. State aid cases are another cornerstone of the practice, with the well-respected Lode Van Den Hende having more than 25 years of experience in this space. Of counsel Adrian Brown, an EU public procurement law expert, is also recommended. The practice is led by Kyriakos Fountoukakos, who worked with senior associates Camille Puech-Baron and Dafni Katrana (and practitioners in London and Moscow) to advise BidFair USA on the merger control aspects of its $3.7bn acquisition of international auction house Sotheby's in 2019. Daniel Vowden and of counsel Peter Rowland are other names to note.

Practice head(s):

Kyriakos Fountoukakos

Other key lawyers:

Lode Van Den Hende; Bo Vesterdorf; Eric White; Daniel Vowden; Adrian Brown; Peter Rowland; Camille Puech-Baron; Morris Schonberg; Dafni Katrana

Testimonials

A highly regarded team of experts, with business understanding and acumen, providing sound and meaningful advice and going the extra mile for the client.

Kyriakos and Peter are unstuffy and approachable, delivering advice in an accessible way. I feel free to ask stupid questions without judgement, and I feel that contributions that I make are genuinely appreciated and taken on board. Kyriakos and Peter are truly committed to the work they do for us, and to understanding our business so that the advice they provided is as helpful and effective as possible.

The team in Brussels provides a wealth of experience on EU regulatory matters and a deep knowledge of how the legal and other developments in EU institutions impact industries subject to EU law. They provide business-minded analysis to apply legal rules to achieve commercial goals.

Lode Van Den Hende has a wealth of experience in Brussels and is able easily to understand commercial needs and questions and to provide focussed and actionable advice.

HSF’s expertise is unparalleled. They have done recent work in all of the jurisdictions in which they have lawyers, and they hire the best, who are responsive and proactive.

The team is known for its outstanding work on EU merger, antitrust and state aid matters, and their deep knowledge and insights about how EU institutions work. In terms of sector focus, they are a go-to name in the Brussels market on energy matters, in particular. Led by Lode van den Hende, they are also one of the very top firms in the Brussels market on state aid matters.

Responsiveness, in-depth knowledge of EU competition law, client-oriented approach.

Always accessible, clear advice setting out all sides, personable and “human” interaction despite being a large firm.

Key clients

AbbVie Inc.

Uber Technologies Inc.

Google LLC

Bauer Media Group

Synthomer plc

Sky

Comcast Corporation

Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited

Sumitomo Corporation

British American Tobacco plc

Nord Stream 2 AG

Mitsubishi Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised AbbVie on obtaining EU merger clearance for its $63bn acquisition of Allergan, one of the largest M&A deals announced worldwide in 2019.
  • Advising Uber on the merger control aspects of its acquisition of Careem, a Middle Eastern mobility, delivery, and payments operator, including coordinating merger filings and obtaining clearances in several jurisdictions in the wider Middle-East.
  • Advised Synthomer on the competition aspects of its $824m acquisition of American company OMNOVA Solutions, securing conditional clearance from the European Commission in Phase I.

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Led by Christopher ThomasHogan Lovells International LLP's Brussels-based team works with offices across the network on global merger transactions, EU and national abuse of dominance and cartel investigations, and litigation. In addition, the group is sought out for its competition expertise in relation to cutting-edge areas; office managing partner Salomé Cisnal De Ugarte is knowledgeable on artificial intelligence, robotics and the Internet of Things. Falk Schöning is part of a multidisciplinary cross-office group which is acting for Dell on the sale of its IT security business RSA to Symphony Technology Group for circa $2bn. Thomas successfully defended the EC in a General Court appeal of its decision to fine Quanta Storage for alleged involvement in a bid-rigging cartel concerning optical disk drives.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Thomas

Other key lawyers:

Salomé Cisnal de Ugarte; Falk Schöning; May Lyn Yuen

Key clients

Google

IBM

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

Dell Technologies

Nintendo

Intuitive Surgical

Digital Charging Solutions

TOKIN Corporation

iRobot

Work highlights

  • Acted as part of the core advocacy team presenting the arguments of Google and Alphabet to the General Court of the EU seeking annulment of the European Commission’s decision finding that Google unlawfully favoured its Google Shopping site on its general search results page, to the disadvantage of competing comparison shopping services.
  • Acted as co-counsel to IBM on its $34bn acquisition of Red Hat in 2019.
  • Assisted Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) with obtaining unconditional antitrust clearances around the world for its buyout of Siemens from their joint venture Primetals Technologies.

Linklaters

Linklaters' team has a wealth of experience handling complex corporate transactions requiring merger clearances from the EC and competition authorities worldwide. It also acts for clients during regulatory investigations into alleged cartels and other anti-competitive horizontal agreements, and abuses of dominance, as well as related litigation and state aid cases. Jonas KoponenGerwin Van GervenBernd Meyring and Annamaria Mangiaracina are among the key partners in Brussels.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP's team in Brussels has an outstanding reputation representing investigated undertakings, complainants and intervening parties in high-stakes antitrust investigations and litigation. Its experience has seen it represent clients in matters before the European Commission, as well as EU and national courts. With the firm having a wide international reach, it is particularly well-placed to handle parallel investigations and litigation. The Brussels group includes Trevor Soames, who has been practising EU competition law for over 30 years. Also recommended are Miguel Rato and counsel Marixenia Davilla, who are representing Qualcomm in a General Court appeal of the EC's decision to fine the client almost €1bn for allegedly entering into exclusivity arrangements with a major customer. Beyond the technology sector, the firm acts for clients operating in industries such as financial services, life sciences, chemicals and transportation. Nadine Herrmann is knowledgeable about the interplay between competition and IP, with Stephen Mavroghenis another key individual of note.

Practice head(s):

Trevor Soames (managing partner, Brussels office); Dr. Nadine Herrmann (Chair of the firm’s EU and German competition law practice)

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Mavroghenis; Miguel Rato; Nicola Chesiates; Marixenia Davilla; Mark English

Testimonials

Stephen Mavroghenis is an extremely knowledgeable and pragmatic lawyer, always providing fine advice, quickly understanding all dynamics and finding solutions.

Key clients

Qualcomm

Slack

eBay

StubHub

Air Canada

Anchorage, Algebris and Ronit Capital

Lonza

Fujitsu

CooperVision

Work highlights

  • Representing Slack in the July 2020 submission of an Article 102 complaint against Microsoft to the EU Commission.
  • Representing Qualcomm re: the European Commission’s Article 102 TFEU investigation into alleged predatory pricing.
  • Acting for eBay Inc and separately StubHub Inc. before the UK Competition and Markets Authority in relation to the sale of eBay’s subsidiary, StubHub, to Viagogo (PUG LLC) for $4bn.

Ashurst LLP

Ashurst LLP's team has experience undertaking transactional and behavioural work in national markets across Europe, as well as at EU level. Group head Denis Fosselard handles a mix of Italian and EU competition law matters, while Annick Vroninks has a strong track record on cartel and abuse of dominance cases before the Belgian Competition Authority and Belgian courts. Fosselard and counsel Gil Even-Shoshan acted for Apax Partners on its acquisition of sole control over Auto24 AS and VIN Solutions in Estonia. In the state aid sphere, Denis Waelbroeck is acting for the Luxembourg government during litigation with the European Commission concerning the state aid rules compatibility of tax rulings taken by the Luxembourg Authority.

Practice head(s):

Denis Fosselard

Other key lawyers:

Denis Waelbroeck; Annick Vroninks; Euan Burrows; Donald Slater; Gil Even Shoshan; Peter Turner-Kerr; Irene Antypas

Testimonials

Denis Fosselard is a great professional.

Technically extremely competent whilst commercially savvy, willing to take time to understand the business fully to give pragmatic tactical advice on the back of high-level legal expertise.

Denis Waelbroeck is an all-round leader in the field. Denis Fosselard is sharp and commercial, with top-class legal expertise.

Ashurst’s competition law team is simply among the top in the world. Best-in-class technical skills, amazing levels of responsiveness and overall quality of work.

I believe Ashurst’s collaboration level is outstanding when compared to other law firms; in particular, with the way the team works alongside the in-house lawyers during sensitive matters.

Key clients

Althea Group

Apax Partners

Bank of America

Colgate

HeidelbergCement

Engie

Imperial Brands

Tetra Laval / Tetra Pak

EU Travel Tech

UEFA

Work highlights

  • Advising EU Travel Tech formerly ETTSA – Travel Services on a complaint to the European Commission against Lufthansa.
  • In the aftermath of the “LuxLeaks scandal”, the firm is advising the Luxembourg government on alleged state aid regarding tax rulings given to individual taxpayers.
  • Representing UEFA in ongoing litigation before the Belgian courts over the compatibility with EU law of Financial Fair Play (FFP) and Third Party Ownership (TPO) rules.

Baker Botts L.L.P.

Baker Botts L.L.P. excels in coordinating cartel defence strategies (in the context of investigations and litigation) across multiple jurisdictions. In addition, it also demonstrates strong credentials acting as global antitrust counsel on M&A transactions; global practice co-chair Catriona Hatton has over 30 years of experience handling industry-shaping deals. Other work includes abuse of dominance investigations and state aid cases. Matthew Levitt, who is an expert in the maritime and energy/natural resources industries, led the advice to Nord Pool on its complaint before Ofgem over an alleged abuse of dominance by EPEX Spot relating to wholesale energy trading. Elsewhere, the group's recent work has spanned sectors such as pharmaceuticals, mining and technology. Paul Lugard and David Cardwell are names to note.

Practice head(s):

Catriona Hatton

Other key lawyers:

Paul Lugard; Matthew Levitt; David Cardwell; Adam Dawson; Brian Byrne

Key clients

Maersk

Ryanair

Caterpillar

Nasdaq

International Air Transport Association

McDermott International

Colfax

Liberty Media

Wallenius Wihelmsen

DFDS

Indorama Ventures

World Shipping Council

Worley Parsons

SI Group

Nord Pool

Merck & Co., Inc.

Arch Coal

Akamai Technologies

Innophos

Celanese

Oxford Nanopore Technologies

Work highlights

  • Acted for Wallenius Wilhelmsen and EUKOR in their defence against an EU cartel investigation, as well as coordinating the defence of these entities in 12 further jurisdictions.
  • Advised WorleyParsons on all global antitrust aspects relating to its $3.2bn acquisition of Jacobs ECR, the leading global engineering consultancy services company, which included merger filings in the EU, South Africa, Canada, US and other jurisdictions.
  • Advising Merck & Co. on an ongoing basis over multijurisdictional antitrust issues related to various potential acquisitions, in-license and other transactions, several of which include Merck’s proposed US$2.7bn acquisition of leading cancer drug developer ArQule (announced January 2020); Merck’s US$2.2 billion acquisition of Peloton Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of cancer and non-oncology disease treatments (announced May 2019); and Merck’s US$300 million acquisition of Seattle-based oncology company Immune Design (completed April 2019).

Dechert LLP

Dechert LLP's team attracts mandates from clients operating in a wide variety of industries, including pharmaceuticals, automotive, financial services, technology and chemicals. Its experience spans the full spectrum of competition work; areas of strength include reputationally-sensitive antitrust investigations, follow-on litigation, merger control proceedings and state aid cases. Among the notable practitioners are Clemens Graf York von Wartenburg and recently promoted counsel Michael Okkonen, who advised AKKA Technologies on its acquisition of Data Respons. Other key individuals are Alec Burnside, and associates Marjolein De Backer and Delphine Strohl, who advised longstanding client Aer Lingus on lease and franchise agreements and airport charges, as well as on Covid-19 state aid-related issues. Hans Jürgen Meyer-Lindemann joined Pinsent Masons Germany LLP.

Practice head(s):

Alec Burnside; Clemens Graf York von Wartenburg

Other key lawyers:

Marjolein De Backer; Adam Kidane; Michael Okkonen

Key clients

Aer Lingus

AKKA Technologies

American Express Global Travel Business (“GBT”)

Arkema

Coal Marketing Company

Court Square Capital Partners (“CSC”)

Crown Holdings, Inc.

Ebro Foods S.A.

Fair Trade Advocacy Office

FMC Corporation (NYSE: FMC)

Huhtamaki Oyi

Mid Europa Partners

One Equity Partners/PeroxyChem

Lie Detectors

Sinopec

Travelport Worldwide Limited (“Travelport”)

Yelp, Inc. (NYSE: YELP)

MiddleGround Capital

Work highlights

  • Acting for several companies as complainants or third parties in DG Competition’s investigations about Google’s abusive practices in Search, Android, AdSense, and other areas.
  • Advising longstanding client Crown Holdings, including in relation to the European Commission’s investigation of the metal packaging sector.
  • Acts as an antitrust adviser to American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), including on transactions which require merger control approval.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper's practice attracts work from large Belgian companies and multinational corporates by blending local market knowledge with an international perspective. Bertold Bär-Bouyssière and Daniel Colgan co-head the team, which acts for clients from the life sciences, digital technology, luxury goods and energy industries. The firm has established a strong reputation in novel and landmark competition cases, as evidenced by the fact that Bär-Bouyssière, lead lawyer Andreas Politis and others recently represented Humax as an intervening third party in an EC investigation into Broadcom's preferred OEM agreements – the first case in twenty years where the EC has imposed interim measures. Competition and state aid expert Orestis Omran, who recently made partner, is noted for his extensive knowledge of the Greek market, where he acts for large companies and public entities.

Practice head(s):

Bertold Bär-Bouyssière; Daniel Colgan

Other key lawyers:

Orestsis Omran; Daniel Wojtczak; Andreas Politis

Testimonials

The engagement team showed deep expertise on the subject matter, great responsiveness and professionalism as well understanding of the urgency and the complexity of the client’s regulatory environment.

‘Timely and business-minded advice.

Orestis Omran is our top choice when it comes to state aid matters. Orestis’ contribution in a state aid matter he had been handling on our behalf was instrumental. He has an incredible ability to dissect information and relay it to the client in a comprehensive manner.

The addition of Orestis Omran to the team, an expert in Greek law with extensive competition and state aid law background has been instrumental to develop the team’s reputation in the Greek market. Since his arrival, DLA is considered the no. 1 firm by state and private actors, as well as amongst legal practitioners to refer EU competition law matters having an Greek angle that merits his laser focus. Legal practitioners in Greece often seek his expert advice, to account for every possible scenario.

Bertold is an experienced lawyer with vast knowledge of EU competition law. He knows exactly what the client’s concerns are and guides you proactively throughout on how to deal with the legal issues on hand. He is very pleasant to work with and is very much reliable. Andrea Politis, who is also part of the team, is also a great lawyer in the field of competition. He pays attention to details and is always on point.

DLA Piper’s team comprises of lawyers with a solid professional background, excellent knowledge of competition cases with the European Commission and the ability to demonstrate versatility and deliver on various different and challenging demands on behalf of their clients.

Key clients

CIE Automotive

Hellenic Ministry of Environment and Energy

Humax

KT&G

Merck KGaA (damage claim)

Merck KGaA (Lundbeck/Paroxetine)

ST Engineering

Varta AG

Public Power Corporation S.A. (PPC)

Hellenic Corporation of Assets and Participations

Work highlights

  • Defended Merck in antitrust legal proceedings against a distributor claiming competition follow-on damages before the Regional Court of Stuttgart, connected with the decade-long proceedings before the Bundeskartellamt which culminated in a hearing before the Bundesgerichtshof in 2016.
  • Advising the Hellenic Republic on the antitrust procedure for the resolution of case AT.38700 – Greek lignite and electricity markets and the proposal of measures to correct the anti-competitive effects identified in the context of this case in line with the country’s current, ambitious environmental policies.
  • Advising Varta AG on the EU merger control process relating to the acquisition of Varta Consumer Batteries business – Energizer’s divestment business (condition for the approval of Energizer/Spectrum transaction).

Garrigues

Garrigues has an excellent pedigree relating to state aid, where it features in many of the most challenging and notable cases seen in the Brussels market. In addition, it has an enviable reputation for high-profile antitrust investigations and litigation, where anti-competitive practices are alleged, as well as among clients in the technology sector, although the practice is broader and encompasses work involving other industries, such as energy and financial services. José Luis BuendíaAlfonso Lamadrid and associate Sam Villiers are currently advising the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) on potential legal mechanisms for challenging, under the EU State aid rules, the future implementation in EU member states of a digital services tax. Also notable is the firm's representation of Google in a General Court appeal of the EC's decision to fine the client €4.34bn over the licensing of its Android mobile operating system and applications for mobile devices. Senior associate Virginia Romero Algarra joined from Toyota.

Practice head(s):

Jose Luis Buendia (head of Brussels office); Susana Cabrera (head of EU & antitrust practice)

Other key lawyers:

Alfonso Lamadrid; Virginia Romero; Sam Villiers

Testimonials

Jose Luis Buendia marries deep expertise in state aid matters with excellent communication skills and political savvy. His in-depth understanding of how the Commission works, both DG Competition and the Legal Service, allows him to develop effective legal strategies for clients. You feel in safe hands. Compared to other law firms, his and the team’s responsiveness to client communications also stands out. Alfonso Lamadrid is one of the leading young lawyers in EU competition law, who is assured in his advice to clients and similarly savvy in devising strategies to maximise the chances of success. Like Buendia, his ability to explain complex legal matters in simple terms is appreciated. Sam Villiers, one of the senior associates, is a skilled lawyer with excellent client management skills, and is responsive and diligent in delivering the final product. What also stands out is how approachable the team is on a personal level.

Garrigues has, without a doubt, one of the top state aid practices in the EU. Expertise in this vital area is rare and their strengths and key capabilities can arguably not be compared to those of any other law firm.

Jose Luis Buendia is a brilliant litigator with a profound knowledge of state aid law. He understands very well the client’s needs and always offers them clever strategic advice. It is a pleasure working with him.

Jose Luis Buendia is an excellent professional with strategic vision. Due to his knowledge of the EU procedures, he can predict and anticipate the reactions of the enforcers, giving optimum advice and getting the desired outcomes.

Key clients

Google and Alphabet

Banco Santander

Abengoa

Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA)

World Duty Free

Endesa

International Air Transport Association (IATA)

Airlines for Europe

Affordable Medicines Europe ( formerly European Association of Euro-Pharmaceutical Companies)

Inditex

Rolex

Swedish Shipowners’ Association

Naviera Arms

Cellnex Telecom

Cisco Systems

EDP

Melia Hotels

Prosegur

Axa

UNESA

Telecom Castilla-La Mancha

Work highlights

  • Representing Google and Alphabet in the appeal against the European Commission’s highest-ever fine (€4.3bn) concerning the licensing of the Android mobile operating system.
  • Representing over 45 applicants in various appeals of European Commission fiscal State aid decisions, the impact of which has been estimated at over €15bn.
  • Representing Abengoa in the European Commission’s high-profile ongoing investigation into alleged benchmark manipulation in the European bioethanol market.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright's team has expertise across the competition aspects of global M&A transactions, and on the contentious side, it is also sought out in EC behavioural investigations and related appeal proceedings. Elsewhere, other drivers of activity include state aid cases and public procurement work, as well as advice on foreign investment screening. The firm's ability to combine competition and regulatory expertise see it undertake a significant amount of work for clients in regulated sectors, such as transport, shipping and aviation. In an ongoing matter, Michael Jürgen Werner and others are acting for APG/Apollo Group on the acquisition of Condor Flugdienst GmbH, which is currently in receivership following the collapse of Thomas Cook. Jay Modrall heads up the practice. In a recent development, Wilko van Weert was hired from McDermott Will & Emery Belgium LLPChristian Filippitsch and counsel Max Seuster joined Reed Smith.

Practice head(s):

Jay Modrall

Other key lawyers:

Michael Jürgen Werner (Brussels/Frankfurt); Ian Giles (London/Brussels); Violetta Bourt

Testimonials

‘Highly experienced and reactive team that enables efficient and faster process with antitrust authorities.’

‘Partner Jay Modrall has impressive experience and knowledge; one of the most accessible lawyers in M&A; when working with him you are confident that he knows where the process is going and how to accelerate it or defend position.’

‘Small but very experienced and effective competition law team in Brussels with a network of Norton Rose Fulbright competition lawyers around the world who can work seamlessly on cross-border transactions.’

‘Jay Modrall is a very thoughtful and highly experienced competition lawyer. He brings a lot to the table and provides sound and practical advice.’

Key clients

Liberty House Group

Imperial International Holding

APG/Apollo

Imperial Logistics International

Watco Companies LLC

CTC Canadian Tire Corporation Ltd

Trade Information Network – ANZ, BNP Paribas, Citibank, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank

BP

TSCNET Services GmBH

German Federal Ministry and Digital Infrastructure

Shopify

HBSC

Delta Airlines

Work highlights

  • Acting for an interested party on discussions with antitrust authorities in the EU, US, Australia, Canada and South Africa over Google’s acquisition of Fitbit.
  • Assisted Imperial Logistics International with the sale of its inland waterway shipping business to Häfen und Güterverkehr Köln AG (HGK), the operator of the port of Cologne, Germany.
  • Acting for the potential purchaser of Aleris’ divested business, following the European Commission’s approved acquisition of Aleris by Novelis, subject to divesting the entire aluminium automotive body sheet business of Aleris in Europe, including its production plant in Duffel, Belgium.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

Under the leadership of Jacques DerenneSheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP's competition practice has developed a standout reputation in the state aid space, where it acts for beneficiaries, competitors and EU member states. Also notable is the firm's strong reputation for handling antitrust litigation in both EU and national member state courts. Elsewhere, the team advises on IP-related competition issues, such as standard essential patents and FRAND matters. It is also highly capable in merger control work. Recent highlights included Derenne and Dimitris Vallindas acting for Meliá Hotels International during an EC investigation into restrictive clauses in the client's agreements with tour operators. EU data protection head Sylvie RousseauRobert Klotz and Oliver Heinisch are also recommended. Isabelle Rahman joined Reed Smith.

Practice head(s):

Jacques Derenne (practice group leader, antitrust & competition); Sylvie Rousseau (head of EU data protection)

Other key lawyers:

Robert Klotz; Olivier Heinisch; Dimitris Vallindas

Testimonials

‘The team has a long-standing command of EU competition law issues. They excel in these matters. They do not only master the legal issues, they are also extremely business-minded, always available, flexible and down to earth. In addition, they have excellent contacts at DG COMP of the European Commission at all levels and this is always crucial to correctly calibrate the position.

‘Oliver Heinisch has a great ability to help understand the legal position, the risks and options to enable the making of an informed decision. He is a trusted legal advisor and a go-to for all matters legal.’

‘Ability to understand complex issues and to come up with new ways of looking at them.’

‘Outstanding knowledge not only of EU law (with litigation matters) but also of the genuine functioning of EU institutions, as well as formal and informal EU proceedings. Very relevant and helpful connections with EU key contacts. Very high availability to support even in tight deadlines. Excellent network of economics consultancy helping cases.’

‘Jacques Derenne is a truly outstanding lawyer whose deep knowledge of all aspects of EU law combined with an unrivalled experience of practice and powerful network (with EU institutions and EU stakeholders such as consultancies) makes him a state of the art counsel. His engagement, relentless support and great teamwork makes Jacques a decisive and highly valuable legal partner for our company.’

‘Sheppard Mullin (Jacques Derenne) provided excellent insight into the operation of the ECJ and were key in helping us navigate complex proceedings.’

‘Jacques Derenne is the leading state aid expert. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of EU competition law. He is extremely hard-working and talented, and result-oriented as well.’

Key clients

Air France

EDF

Rakuten, Inc.

TOTAL S.A.

Eurelec Trading (joint venture between E. Leclerc and Rewe)

Jack Daniel’s Properties

Axens

Axpo Italia

Intersport International Corporation

Casio

Credendo (Belgian State)

Energetický a průmyslový Holding (EPH)

Viorel Micula

Tempus Energy

Meliá Hotels International

Österreichische Bundesbahnen Holding AG (ÖBB) [Austrian Railways]

Airbus

C.F. Martin & Company

Oracle

Hellenic Republic

BDEW (Bundesverband der Energie- und Wasserwirtschaft, German Federal Association of Energy and Water Industry)

Hellenic Financial Stability Fund

Orange Belgium

Work highlights

  • Assisted Tempus Energy with obtaining the first annulment of the European Commission’s decision approving a Member State’s capacity mechanism (GB aid scheme for generation adequacy and security of energy supply).
  • Advised Casio on a CMA investigation under Chapter I of the CA98 and Article 101 TFEU into breaches of competition law by engaging in resale price maintenance.
  • Advised Energetický a průmyslový holding, a.s. (EPH) and Total S.A. jointly on a competitive bid with regard to a potential purchase of innogy’s electricity and gas retail business in the Czech Republic from E.ON (remedies offered in the Commission’s decision of 17 September 2019, M.8870).

Squire Patton Boggs

Squire Patton Boggs' practice is highlighted for its strong track record in EU and global cartel investigations, as well as related litigation; it has acted on matters concerning LCD screens, optical disk drives, freight forwarders, and refrigeration compressors, among others. The team is also active in state aid cases and handles merger notifications connected with cross-border mergers. Recent highlights included Oliver Geiss, practice head Brian Hartnett and Will Sparks advising Ashland on the merger control aspects of the sale of its composites business and part of its industrial solvents business, as well as the potential acquisition of a divestiture in France.

Practice head(s):

Brian Hartnett

Other key lawyers:

Oliver Geiss; Will Sparks

Testimonials

‘Squire Patton Boggs have an in-depth knowledge of competition law, and have been practising in Brussels for a long time and know the workings of competition law extremely well.’

‘Brian Hartnett always has a clear view of the issues at stake, quick turnaround and extremely knowledgeable.’

‘Technical strength is a given (but they really are technically excellent). What sets them apart is the way in which they apply their expertise. The team (especially Brian and Will) is very practical in their advice and sometimes say yes even when it is easier and less risky for them to say no. This makes them a great commercial partner and not just a lawyer. Any half-decent lawyer can give good legal advice, very few lawyers are able to give good legally focused commercial advice.’

‘Brian and Will are really knowledgeable, experienced and competent. Brian is the master and Will is coming along very nicely in his footsteps. Both are really practical and not afraid to help us make strong decisions in this technical and often grey area of the law.’

‘The competition/antitrust team headed by Brian Hartnett is top rank.

‘Very responsive, pro-active and with a detailed knowledge of the practices and process of the Commission. They are, and have been for many years our “go-to” law firm for specific, expert competition and state aid issues.’

‘Lawyers work in good collaboration and try to find solutions on different aspects.’

‘Oliver Geiss is well-experienced, disciplined and easy to communicate with.’

Key clients

AGC

Ashland

AU Optronics Corporation

Autostrada Wielkopolska

Coats PLC

Eco-Invest

Edison International

Elekta

Eurochem

FRUCONA Košice

Graanul Invest Group

Honeywell International

Work highlights

  • Represented LATAM, Chile’s national airline, in the successful appeal against the European Commission’s finding of a global cartel in the airfreight sector.
  • Advising one of eight optical storage suppliers that the European Commission has accused of participating in a cartel.
  • Advising AWSA on its appeal to Europe’s highest court, the CJEU, against a European Commission decision ordering the recovery of €210 million in state aid.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati has historically been a major player in high-profile merger cases, with a particular strength when formulating antitrust strategies in deals connected with basic industries, technology and air transport. Paul McGeown is noted for his expertise in acting for clients on complex merger reviews and industrial partnerships before the EC and UK CMA. Beyond transactional matters, the firm is equally well-regarded for its involvement in abuse of dominance investigations and cartel defence work; Gorka Navea has been instrumental in growing the firm's offering in this space. He formerly served as a Deputy Head of Unit at the Cartels Directorate of DG Competition, where he investigated cartels cases and managed proposed settlements with companies under investigation.

Practice head(s):

Paul McGeown; Gorka Navea

Other key lawyers:

Schweta Batohi; Deirdre Carroll; Thomas Pflock

Key clients

Air-France-KLM

Tesla, Inc.

Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc.

KLM Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij

Nutanix, Inc.

Plaid Inc.

Work highlights

  • Acted as lead competition law adviser on the notification of Air France-KLM’s proposed % investment in Virgin Atlantic to DG COMP, and the associated joint venture with Virgin and Delta Air Lines.
  • Advising PacBio (a gene sequencing technology business) on its proposed acquisition by Illumina, Inc. in merger proceedings before the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority.
  • Assisted Plaid with securing phase I approval from the CMA for its proposed $5.3bn acquisition by Visa.

Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird's competition practice focuses on advising companies being impacted by technology and the digital world, or driving changes within them. It draws work from clients operating in sectors such as aviation, energy and media, as well as technology. Anne Federle has extensive expertise in the automotive industry, while Hein Hobbelen is knowledgeable about competition and regulatory issues relating to the telecoms sector. In 2020, highlights included Federle assisting Aptiv Plc with obtaining a non-conditional EU merger control clearance for the establishment of a joint venture with Hyundai Motor Group. In addition, Federle, practice head José Rivas, of counsel Serge Durande and Bróna Heenan are among the practitioners representing Rubycon at the General Court following an appeal of the EC's decision to fine the client for its alleged participation in a cartel among capacitor producers.

Practice head(s):

José Rivas

Other key lawyers:

Anne Federle; Hein Hobbelen; Scott McInnes; Serge Durande; Bróna Heenan; Baptist Vleeshouwers; Ana Manzaneque

Key clients

ACE (Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment)

Adient

Aptiv PLC

ASML

Carpatair

easyJet

Clarios

CLEPA (the European Association of Automotive Suppliers)

The European Commission

EORTC (European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer)

ETPA (European Thermal Paper Association)

Inditex

John Bean Technologies

Lexmark

Mastercard

Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners

Ottobock

Panasonic

PPG

Work highlights

  • Acting for a major electronics manufacturer on the merger control and antitrust aspects of the planned divestment of a major European business.
  • Representing easyJet in an action for annulment before the General Court of the EU of a Commission decision on state aid concerning funding granted to Sardinian airports.

BonelliErede

BonelliErede's team, led by Massimo Merola, is highly active in state aid mandates; it handles a mix of advisory work and high-profile litigation. The firm has been increasingly active in this space since the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Elsewhere, the group acts for clients during antitrust investigations and litigation connected with allegedly anti-competitive conduct (including cartels and abuses of dominance), as well as handling merger control work. Merola is acting for CESI on the acquisition of five target companies of the DNV GL Group, which includes advice on related merger control and foreign investment control issues.

Practice head(s):

Massimo Merola

Other key lawyers:

Jacopo De Luca

Testimonials

‘I appreciate their deep knowledge of EU law and at the same time of the energy sector. The quality of advice is remarkable.’

We appreciated their very good command of EU law, and they were very excellent at adapting to very specific client’s needs and quick in the preparation of court documents.

‘Massimo Merola is very competent in EU law, and provides fast and reliable advice. Attentive to the interests/needs of the client. Outstanding experience in litigation before EU courts.’

Key clients

Elpedison

Ascopiave Spa

Bennet

CESI

Elettricità Futura and Utilitalia

Enel Spa

Fastweb

First State Investments

Galata Spa

Italo

Luxottica Group Spa

Partecipazioni Industriali in a.s. Spa (former Riva Fire Spa)

Pharma Mar SA

Piaggio

Prysmian

PYMAR (association of small and medium-sized private Spanish shipyards) and LICO Leasing

Single Resolution Board (SRB)

Tirrenia – Compagnia Italiana di Navigazione

Toto Costruzioni

Work highlights

  • Represented PYMAR (association of small- and medium-sized private Spanish shipyards) and LICO Leasing in the referral back to the General Court concerning the appeal against the Commission’s decision that declared the Spanish tax lease as State aid in the shipbuilding sector.
  • Acted for Single Resolution Board (SRB) in proceedings before the General Court which resulted from the action for annulment brought by Iccrea Banca against SRB decisions determining its contributions to the SRF for the year 2018-19.
  • Represented Fastweb before the General Court in appeal proceedings against the European Commission’s decision approving the merger between Hutchinson 3G Italia and Wind subject to conditions and obligations (case T-19/17) and against the European Commission’s decision approving the acquisition of sole control by Hutchinson 3G Italia of Wind (case T-19/19).

Bredin Prat

At Bredin Prat, practice head Pierre Honoré and counsel Valérie Landes are the key contacts in Brussels. They work with practitioners in the Paris office, and also alongside foreign law firms across Europe, to provide a full range of competition law solutions to French and European clients. Recent highlights include assisting Lactalis with obtaining unconditional clearance from the COMESA Competition Commission of its €52.2m acquisition of Greenland.

Practice head(s):

Pierre Honoré

Other key lawyers:

Valérie Landes

Key clients

Schneider Electric

Lactalis

GeoPost

Air Liquide

Eiffage

Parker Hannifin

Reckitt Benckiser

Toyota

Panasonic

Carrefour

Zodiac Aerospace

Work highlights

  • Advised Lactalis, a French international dairy company, on the notification of the acquisition of Nuova Castelli. Phase I unconditional clearance was received in December 2019.
  • Advised Parker Hannifin on the notification of the acquisition of sole control of Lord Corporation, a US company active in aerospace, adhesives and coatings to the European Commission. Phase I unconditional clearance was received in August 2019.
  • Advised Schneider Electric on the acquisition of RIB Software, which received unconditional clearance from the competition authorities in Austria, Cyprus, Germany, South Africa and the US.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP leverages its wide international reach to cover global merger control reviews, as well as antitrust and regulatory investigations and litigation. The Brussels team is led by David Anderson, who acts for multinational corporate clients and is also a key adviser to antitrust authorities worldwide. Under his leadership, the firm has become particularly well known for strengths in the technology, utilities and infrastructure sectors. Anderson and senior associate Paul Culliford have been advising Sumitomo Chemical Europe (for whom the firm acts as sole antitrust counsel in Europe) on distribution structures in Russia. Also notable is that the firm acts for private equity investor Riverstone as its sole antitrust counsel outside the US.

Practice head(s):

Dave Anderson

Other key lawyers:

Paul Culliford

Testimonials

‘David Anderson really gets inside your business to help advise on key issues before they arise, and helps to mitigate ones on the horizon.’

‘Professionalism combined with great empathy.’

‘David Anderson is really the external counsel you wish to have. Professional, dedicated, committed.’

‘The Bryan Cave team offers expert legal advice, but also with a keen focus on what will ease the burden for their client and help achieve a client’s business goals. Bryan Cave’s sensitivity to business needs makes them feel like a true advocate and partner.’

‘The partners at Bryan Cave, including Dave Anderson, but also their associates, including Paul Culliford, are genial and responsive with their clients and effective with government authorities.’

Dave Anderson and the EU and global competition practice are extremely knowledgeable and well connected to all things competition in the EU. They bring practical insight and strong fundamental knowledge to any transaction.’

‘Dave Anderson is an extremely knowledgeable partner. He views complex legal issues through a pragmatic lens. He is readily accessible and a good person to facilitate other connection points within his firm.’

‘David Anderson is a top EU antitrust adviser with unique and valuable insights. He knows the staff and management at the EU very well and always is able to add insights on how best to operate in front of the particular case team. He has an excellent understanding of the competition law issues that are driving current merger reviews and knows EU process inside and out. Some of the best EU antitrust law firm practices in the world often hire him to assist their firms on EU related matters. In other words, he is an EU lawyer’s EU lawyer. He is diligent, responsive and a pleasure to work with.’

Key clients

Deutsche Börse AG

Total Africa

Eurasian Resources Group

Flybe PLC

Japan Tobacco International

MoneyGram International

MSV Group

Nucor Corporation

Riverstone Holdings

Sumitomo Chemical Europe

TE Connectivity

UBS O’Connor

Macquarie Capital

Work highlights

  • Advised Flybe on the merger control and aviation regulatory aspects of its acquisition by the Connect consortium led by Virgin Atlantic during 2019.
  • Acting as lead global counsel to Total Africa on all competition law issues associated with the production and commercialisation of Mozambique’s new natural gas fields.
  • Acted for Fondsdepot Bank, a subsidiary of global technology company DXC Technology, on the merger control aspects of its acquisition of AXA Bank in Germany.

Crowell & Moring

Crowell & Moring's practice has wide sector experience, with particular strengths in the food and beverages, betting and gambling, pharmaceuticals, telecoms and media industries. Its offering was enhanced further when senior counsel Luc Machtelinckx joined from Telenet, where he was an executive vice president and general counsel. The team is led by Thomas De Meese, who was selected as lead antitrust counsel by new client Ahold Delhaize. He is working with counsel Marieke Van Nieuwenborgh and members of the Washington DC office to represent claimant group Stichting in Dutch court litigation to recover damages from entities found guilty of cartel activity in the EC’s trucks cartel investigation. Jules Stuyck and Karl Stas are among other key figures. Karel Bourgeois joined from Allen & Overy LLP. Sean-Paul Brankin departed for Bristows LLP.

Practice head(s):

Thomas De Meese

Other key lawyers:

Jules Stuyck; Karl Stas; Marieke Van Nieuwenborgh; Luc Machtelinckx; Karel Bourgeois

Testimonials

‘Strong knowledge of EU and Belgian competition law.

‘Thomas de Meese in particular is an excellent handler of competition law matters before the EU and Belgium alike. He has a wealth of experience, is well-connected, he thinks practically and communicates succinctly.

Key clients

Telenet

Unibet

Liberty Global

Chemours

AT&T / Warner Media

Bloomberg

Agilent

Spadel

Ahold Delhaize

Arconic (formerly Alcoa)

Medicines for Europe

EGBA

Nestlé

Distributed Ledger Group

BAE Systems

Stichting Truck Cartel Recovery

Work highlights

  • Obtained unconditional clearance for the creation of a joint venture between Liberty Global and Belgian media company DPG Media to provide SVOD (subscription video on demand) services: the so-called “Flemish Netflix.”
  • Pursuing damages on behalf of a number of different claimant groups where there has been a finding of cartel activity by the European Commission.
  • Advised various clients from the healthcare sector and negotiated with the European Commission on the application of certain EU competition laws to practical measures tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dentons

Dentons‘ competition practice in Brussels has gone from strength to strength since the office was opened in 2010. It has built up a circa ten-strong team of multilingual practitioners, who demonstrate strong capabilities on a full range of matters. Jean-Nicolas Maillard focuses on EU and French competition law issues, with particular strengths handling cartel (and other behavioural) investigations. James Venit  advises clients on competition compliance programmes, while other drivers of activity for the team include merger control and competition litigation. Yves Botteman is advising an energy sector client on various M&A transactions.

Practice head(s):

Yves Botteman; Jean-Nicolas Maillard; James Venit

Testimonials

‘Newly added Brussels partners Yves Botteman and Jean-Nicolas Maillard add a new dimension to the EU practice with their curiosity and desire to reflect on alternative business development. They have a wide knowledge and strong experience in all competition law matters and provide business-oriented advice, find alternative routes and are curious enough to always want to learn more about their clients’ business and the matters that really count to their clients. Highly available for their clients.’

‘Yves Botteman and Jean-Nicolas are complementary and work really well together. Each of them bring strong technical skills to the table but what differentiates them from many lawyers is that they go the extra mile to deliver pragmatic solutions. Their advice is not just good technically but is insightful.’

‘This practice is unique due to the dynamic and open relations put in place between the lawyers and the client and their “say it like it is” attitude. Working with Dentons’ EU competition team is not just about clean and timely deliverables. It is also about progressing as a team and engaging in challenging and outcome-focused conversations. The lawyers excel at working hand-in-hand with clients and accompanying them in their thinking with openness and honesty.

It is also important to mention that this practice is truly international, in the variety of nationalities represented, languages spoken and experience in different jurisdictions. They have deep cultural understanding when it comes to European affairs and international businesses, something that our Brussels multicultural team was very sensitive to.

‘Yves Botteman is a stand-out partner. Not only is Yves extremely engaged and available, he dives into the substance issues and knows the dossier inside out. Yves is a smart and humble lawyer who works with passion, precision and has outstanding communication and client relation skills. We also value Yves’ leadership skills and ability to make a file move forward in clear timeframes.’

‘Jean-Nicolas Maillard is very available and very good technically; he has a pragmatic approach with good knowledge of the sector.’

Key clients

Kering

SRAM

Shawcor

Gazprom

Groupe Bacacier

EBA Clearing

Work highlights

  • Advising Gazprom in response to an EU antitrust investigation into the supply of upstream gas to Central and Eastern Europe
  • Advised Groupe Bacacier on a successful merger control assignment.
  • Advising EnBW on the EU and French merger control aspects of its first cross-border acquisition.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I's Brussels team, with practitioners of 15 different nationalities, is seen in high-level mandates across all areas of competition law. On the state aid side, it undertakes advisory work and litigation in sectors such as energy, land transport and taxation, among others. Stéphane Hautbourg was part of a cross-office group which advised Europcar Mobility Group on a €307m financing facility that included a €220m loan guaranteed by the French state. Benoît Le Bret is also noted for his state aid expertise, particularly in the context of tax rulings cases. Elsewhere, merger control is another an area of strength, as evidenced by the team's excellent record negotiating EC clearances in complex cross-border transactions. In addition, the firm has been prominent in a number of high-profile and landmark abuse of dominance cases and restrictive practices matters, as well as other antitrust litigation. Laurent GodfroidSégolène PelsyOlivier Prost and recently promoted partner Anna Dias are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Laurent Godfroid; Stéphane Hautbourg; Benoît Le Bret; Ségolène Pelsy; Olivier Prost; Anna Dias

Other key lawyers:

Romain Rard

Testimonials

‘Very strong tailored Brussels practice combining antitrust, merger and state aid experience with top knowledge of regulation, whether financial, transport or energy. Firm has worked on the biggest French bailouts during the Covid crisis, along with securing stunning success in the highly political merger PKN Orlen – Lotos. Though not one of the merger factories, they popped up in several phase II deals last year: Fincantieri, PKN Orlen and Air Canada.’

‘Benoit Le Bret is a top ranking EU official-turned-lawyer, who has mastered the various legal avenues in Brussels with a practice stretching from state aid to financial regulation to single market infringements to mergers and antitrust.’

‘This practice is unique for 5 reasons: the excellence of the expertise combined with a very proven practice and a high level of pragmatism; the ability to adapt to the needs and the specific characteristics of the client; the main issues of the transaction and the high quality of listening; its agility, creativity and responsiveness; the perfect clarity and precision in the dialogue with all stakeholders; and its total commitment to the client and ability to operate in a fully integrated manner with the client’s teams.’

‘Stéphane Hautbourg has expertise and practises at the highest level of the European market, with humility and simplicity, excellent interpersonal skills, incomparable analytical and listening skills, agility and creativity clearly superior to those of the best practitioners in the sector. He has total and permanent capacity for commitment to the project and client, an infallible determination to achieve the project via the most favourable conditions by integrating and taking full account at all times of all the parameters (financial, operational, strategic, political…) of the transaction, an incredible talent for quickly, easily and successfully explaining to all stakeholders the most complex legal issues, their challenges and the proposed solutions. He has very strong powers of conviction and an incredible talent to get all stakeholders to join the project and the proposed solutions; he acts results-oriented.’

‘Solid firm, with excellent all-round expertise in EU and French competition law.’

‘Excellent industry and regulatory knowledge.’

‘Benoit Le Bret is our “go-to” EU/antitrust lawyer. Benoit is technically excellent but also acts as a true business partner providing astute guidance on complex business issues.’

Key clients

Trainline

BGC (Betting and Gambling Council) previously RGA

United Group

Davidson Kempner Capital Management

SNCF

Orange

KPMG

Orano (Areva)

Avril Group

Roquette Frères

Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha

Engie

Naval Group

Renault

Total

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)/Terminal Investment Limited (TiL)

Albea

Orlen

Société Générale

Work highlights

  • Assisted Polish oil company PKN Orlen with obtaining EC clearance of its acquisition of Grupa Lotos.
  • Advised Air France-KLM on the urgent liquidity support mechanism dedicated to Air France finalised with the French state and banking institutions.
  • Acting as lead counsel to United Group on merger and antitrust proceedings throughout South Eastern Europe, notably in Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia, as well as at European level.

Gleiss Lutz

Gleiss Lutz has a strong presence in merger control, behavioural investigations and litigation with an EU or wider global dimension. It works with local law firms worldwide to provide a comprehensive range of services to clients. The team in Brussels is led by Ulrich Soltész, who has litigated more than 50 cases before the European courts, and is further noted for his expertise in state aid and general European law. Christian von Köckritz is another key figure in the group, which acts for German and foreign clients.

Practice head(s):

Ulrich Soltész

Other key lawyers:

Christian von Köckritz

Testimonials

‘Great industry knowledge and legal skills.’

‘Ulrich Soltesz is hands-on and creative.’

‘The team has a great academic background and has for good reason a stellar portfolio of competition matters, being fit to cover a wide array of multijurisdictional work. They perform with clockwork precision and they deliver outstanding results. One really has confidence of having the best competition counsel on one’s side.’

‘Dr Ulrich Soltesz has unparalleled knowledge and expertise in this area and is a pleasure to work with. Always prompt and to-the-point, he has a hands-on approach and works out the nuts and bolts of every matter. Definitely a highly regarded, go-to professional for competition matters.’

‘GL is a true tier 1 firm which covers the entire range of the competition law practice. They are both demanding and pleasant to work with, highly proactive and responsive. And very solid on substance, which is not something that can be said about all larger firms active in the field.’

Key clients

Canon Inc.

Deutsche Telekom

Deutsche Bundesbank

German Government

Globalfoundries

HeidelbergCement

Heta (formerly Hypo Alpe Adria)

Infineon Technologies

Robert Bosch

Syngenta

voestalpine

Work highlights

  • Representing Deutsche Telekom in an appeal against the EC’s decision to approve Vodafone’s acquisition of German cable operator Unitymedia.
  • Advising Canon Inc. on EU merger control in the context of an acquisition and in the EC’s investigation into alleged ‘gun-jumping’.
  • Advising ZF Friedrichshafen AG on the approval from the EU Commission of its acquisition of the commercial vehicle supplier WABCO.

Hengeler Mueller

Hans-Jörg Niemeyer and Markus Röhrig (whose practice is split between Brussels and Düsseldorf) are names to note at Hengeler Mueller, which coordinates and directs multijurisdictional merger control filings, and is a major player in high-profile transactions. It also leads the advice to clients on global cartel defence strategies and has been involved in many of the largest private damages actions seen in the EU. State aid work, which is another mainstay of the practice, has been on the increase since the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Jan Bonhage divides time between the Berlin and Brussels offices.

Practice head(s):

Hans-Jörg Niemeyer; Markus Röhrig (Brussels/Düsseldorf); Jan Bonhage (Berlin/Brussels)

Testimonials

‘Highly-skilled lawyers; also having a commercial mindset understanding how business is conducted in “real life” being able to translate this into eg merger filing discussions with competition authorities. Within competition law, Hengeler has a very strong and large team, which enables them to handle big and complex cases.’

Dr Jan Bonhage was an excellent choice in the field of state aid for infrastructure projects.

Key clients

Advanced Energy Industries

Calsonic Kansei (Marelli Corporation)

Cerberus Capital Management

Danfoss A/S

Deutsche Lufthansa

innogy SE

Knorr-Bremse

MAN SE

NCC NIPPON CHEMI-CON Corporation

Provinzial NordWest Holding

Work highlights

  • Represented Deutsche Lufthansa AG in EU state aid proceedings in connection with the €6bn recapitalisation measure by the German Economy Stabilisation Fund (Wirtschaftsstabilisierungsfonds).
  • Advised Danfoss A/S on EU merger control in connection with the acquisition of Eaton’s hydraulics business.
  • Advised innogy SE on the European Commission’s phase II investigation into E.ON’s acquisition of control over innogy SE.

K&L Gates GP

K&L Gates GP's international platform allows it to successfully negotiate merger clearances from the EC, US FTC and DOJ, and competition authorities worldwide. The Brussels team is also a strong performer in antitrust investigations and litigation; Philip Torbøl has two decades of experience robustly defending clients' interests in EC investigations into cartels, abuses of dominance and state aid, among other matters. Mélanie Bruneau, who is an expert in EU and French law, handles transactional and behavioural competition matters for clients in industries such as aviation, pharmaceuticals and industrial engineering, among various others. Francesco Carloni is a well-known name among clients in the luxury and fashion industry; he is representing Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana and Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode in the EC's ongoing review of the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER) and vertical guideline. His wide-ranging experience also spans multiple other sectors.

Practice head(s):

Mélanie Bruneau; Francesco Carloni; Philip Torbøl

Other key lawyers:

Miguel Caramello-Alvarez; Antoine De Rohan Chabot; Alessandro Di Mario; Nicolas Hipp

Testimonials

The team is highly professional and skilled, and always ready to deeply discuss with the client in order to offer the best solutions. The team is therefore very polite, well-organised and very efficient.

The team is highly skilled, responsive and available at all times.

They demonstrate excellent knowledge on the matter and always propose business-oriented solutions.

K&L Gates has a strong business approach.

Francesco Carloni is an outstanding partner. He couples excellent professionals skills in EU competition law with a great attention to the client relationship. Francesco is nice, relatable, flexible and can tailor projects and billing to the client’s expectations.

Key clients

II-VI Incorporated

Westinghouse

Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana

Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode

Ferring

Alitalia

Sealed Air Corporation

Mitsui Chemicals

World Fuel Services

Multi Service Tolls

Veloxis Pharmaceuticals

Prada

Armani

Fujifilm Irvine Scientific, Inc. (“FISI”)

Work highlights

  • Representing Mitsui Chemicals before the European Commission in connection with the complex remedies implementation offered by Elanco in its $7.6bn acquisition of Bayer Animal Health.
  • Represented II-VI in its $3.2bn acquisition of Finisar before the US FTC, in China, Germany, Romania and Mexico, and assisted II-VI in connection with the implementation of behavioral and hold-separate remedy imposed by State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) in China.
  • Represented Alitalia before the European Commission and the US Department of Transportation in connection with the unwinding of the Transatlantic JV with Delta Airlines, Air France-KLM and the new cooperation with Delta Airlines.

McDermott Will & Emery Belgium LLP

McDermott Will & Emery Belgium LLP's team in Brussels has a strong track record advising clients in the EU, the US and Japan. Reflective of its importance to the wider global practice, the group coordinates advice to clients on international cartel investigations. It is also instructed in high-value mergers and damages actions. As a recent highlight, practice head Jacques Buhart (who heads up the Paris and Brussels offices), counsel David Henry, and associates Caroline Ruiz Palmer and Mai Muto, acted for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries on the competition aspects of an industrial joint venture with a European partner. Other work included the Brussels team coordinating the firm's advice to NGK Insulators on an international cartel investigation in the automotive parts sector, and advising on related damages claims brought by automotive OEMs. Hendrik Viaene joined from Deloitte Legal.

Practice head(s):

Jacques Buhart (Paris)

Other key lawyers:

Andrea Hamilton; Hendrik Viaene; David Henry; Caroline Ruiz Palmer; Mai Muto

Key clients

Cellnex Telecom

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI)

H.I.G. Capital

Metsä Group (formerly Metsaliitto Group)

Lockheed Martin

NGK Insulators

Work highlights

  • Advised longstanding client Mitsubishi Heavy Industries on the EU competition aspects of the restructuring of the French nuclear industry under the auspices of the French State, including advice on the State Aid authorization granted by the EU Commission.
  • Advised Cellnex, a major Spanish telecom tower company, on EU Commission merger control proceedings involving a joint venture between Vodafone and Telecom Italia, currently valued at €10bn.
  • Acted as Lockheed Martin’s global antitrust counsel since the 1990s, and regularly works on dozens of varied matters each year, including evaluating multiple potential deals, representing the corporation’s interest as a third party in multiple other major aerospace or defence transactions, and responding to information requests from the EU Commission and the UK.

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP's team has a wealth of experience advising on headline mergers, global cartel cases, abuse of dominance claims, follow-on damages actions and distribution issues. Under the leadership of Brussels managing partner Tom McQuail, the group is regularly instructed by Japan-headquartered multinational corporates, and also advises organisations based in the US and Europe. Although the firm is particularly well-known as a major player in the technology sector, its practice is broader and encompasses mandates from clients in other industries. Rony Gerrits divides his time between the Tokyo and Brussels offices.

Practice head(s):

Tom McQuail

Other key lawyers:

Rony Gerrits

WilmerHale

WilmerHale's transatlantic footprint has historically made it a strong choice for international cartel investigations; the firm's track record in this area includes matters concerning soda ash, cement, flat glass and LCD. Elsewhere, the team is active in abuse of dominance investigations and state aid cases, as well as litigation before the European and national courts. Christian Duvernoy is particularly knowledgeable about competition and regulatory issues applicable to network and high-tech industries. He co-heads the practice with John Ratliff and Frédéric Louis. Special counsels Anne Vallery and Cormac O’Daly are also recommended.

Practice head(s):

John Ratliff; Christian Duvernoy; Frédéric Louis

Other key lawyers:

Anne Vallery; Cormac O’Daly

Key clients

Danaher Corporation

Baker Hughes Inc

Schaeffler AG

Equinor

Guardian Industries

FEBELCEM

Columbia Sportswear

Lufthansa

International Paper Company

Work highlights

  • Acting for Danaher as part of a large WilmerHale team in Danaher’s acquisition of GE Healthcare Lifesciences Biopharma business (Danaher GE Biopharma); an EC Phase I clearance with remedies.