Competition: EU and global in Belgium
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is often the first choice for the most complex and high-profile competition mandates seen in Brussels. In the global merger control sphere, Daniel Culley and Patrick Bock are acting for 3M on the circa $6.7bn potential acquisition of Acelity Inc and its KCI subsidiaries worldwide from a consortium comprised of funds advised by Apax Partners, along with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board. The firm is also at the forefront of advice to clients on the most complex and high-stakes investigations, as evidenced by it acting for several financial institutions in investigations by global regulators into the FX industry, as well as related civil litigation. Romano Subiotto QC, Christopher Cook and Robbert Snelders are lead partners in this space. Elsewhere, members of the team have been prominent in Article 102 investigations, state aid cases and multijurisdictional follow-on damages actions. Maurits Dolmans, Francisco Enrique González-Díaz, Antoine Winckler, Thomas Graf and François-Charles Laprévote are among a large number of heavyweight names in the group.
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; Stephan Barthelmess; Till Müller-Ibold; Mario Siragusa; Richard Pepper; Niklas Maydell
‘The Brussels office of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is an exceptional place of top-level antitrust lawyers. From juniors to partners, the quality, methodology and staffing are constant when they advise their client. They are particularly efficient for big international acquisitions‘
‘François-Charles Laprévote is a very good technician, with impressive knowledge of the functioning of the authority. It should also be highlighted that he manages to federate a team around him, where everyone gives the best of himself‘
‘François-Charles Laprévote stands out for his intelligence, strategic vision, experience and work capacity‘
‘Antoine Winckler’s solid experience of the competition law area is extremely valuable when we face complex issues‘
21st Century Fox
The Coca Cola Company
The Dow Chemical Company
MediaSaturn / Metro
Merck & Co.
Naturgy (formerly Gas Natural)
Government of Gibraltar
Crédit Immobilier de France
- Acted as antitrust counsel to Broadcom on its $18.9bn acquisition of New York-based software company CA Technologies.
- Acted as global and EU counsel to Essilor on its merger with Luxottica, which closed in October 2018.
- Is acting for Lithuanian Railways in an appeal before the EU General Court against the EU Commission’s €29m fine in the Article 102 TFEU investigation concerning the legality of the removal of a 19km railway track between Lithuania and Latvia.
- Acted for Marine Harvest on an appeal before the EU courts against the European Commission’s €20m fine for an alleged breach of the notification and non-implementation obligations in the EU Merger Regulation in relation to its acquisition of Morpol.
- Acted for Ryanair on its acquisition of a 75% shareholding in Laudamotion.
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP's team has proven expertise in assisting clients with negotiating particularly challenging merger clearances, and it also has a strong track record in behavioural investigations. State aid cases are another bedrock of the practice, with practice head Dirk Arts and counsel Karel Bourgeois having significant experience of this area. Also notable is that the team demonstrates strong capabilities in antitrust litigation, as is evidenced by an increase in the overall volume of cases handled by the group. Active across a wide range of sectors, the team undertakes a particularly significant amount of work in the TMT space. In one highlight, Jürgen Schindler (a co-head of the global antitrust practice), Arts, counsel Frances Dethmers and other members of a cross-office team are acting for Google in the EC's Android investigation, where it has been alleged that the client used its mobile operating system to illegally secure a dominant position in search. Elsewhere, other work spans industries such as financial services, life sciences, energy, chemicals and transport. Other recommended individuals in the team include Helga Van Peer, Vanessa Turner, Dominic Long and counsel Francesca Miotto.
Other key lawyers:
‘The Allen & Overy team is very responsive, fast on the ball, pragmatic and solution-oriented. They are great partners to our in-house team and to the business. Their presence across multiple markets and jurisdictions is a definite plus, they also partner extremely well with other (non A&O) firms when asked. Dirk Arts is one of the finest antitrust lawyers in Europe and a great partner to the business‘
‘Dominic Long is a thoughtful and thorough lawyer with excellent client manners‘
Hellenic Bank of Cyprus
Fox Networks Group
21st Century Fox
Kingspan Group plc
Procter & Gamble
Tokai Carbon Co., Ltd
- Is assisting Toyota with the EU merger notification aspects of a joint venture with SoftBank to offer services using autonomous vehicles and driverless technology.
- Is advising Saudi Aramco on the competition aspects of various acquisitions; one highlight involved assisting the client with the competition issues associated with its $1.6bn acquisition of synthetic rubber producer Arlanxeo from former joint venture partner Lanxess.
- Is acting for Fox Networks Group in an EC investigation into allegedly anticompetitive behaviour in the sports rights business.
- Acted for 21st Century Fox on the competition aspects (including EU merger clearances) of its acquisition by Disney.
- Is acting for Scania in its appeal against the EC’s decision to fine the client and other truck makers for their alleged involvement in a price-fixing cartel.
Clifford Chance's Brussels team has an excellent record of handling high-profile and cutting-edge competition matters for household-name clients across a wide variety of industries. Illustrative of the practice's high end work, Thomas Vinje, Dieter Paemen, counsel Ashwin van Rooijen and senior associate Aleksander Tombiński acted for Fairsearch as the main complainant in the EC's Android investigation and as a leading intervener in the Google Search investigation; the EC imposed record fines in both cases (the Android investigation is now pending an appeal). Another highlight saw practice head Tony Reeves, Anastasios Tomtsis, Vinje and others represent General Electric (GE) in the EC's Article 14(1) EUMR investigation into the client's provision of allegedly misleading information during the EC's review of its acquisition of LM Wind. In other developments, Dorothée Vermeiren made partner and of counsel Pierre-André Dubois joined from booking.com. Luciano Di Via and Miguel Odriozola combine EU law expertise with knowledge about Italian and Spanish competition law respectively. Of counsel Michel Petite and counsel Jim Back are other key figures.
Other key lawyers:
General Electric (GE)
- Advised HRADF (Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund) and Hellenic Petroleum on the sale of their combined 66% stake in Greek natural gas transmission service operator to a consortium of three European companies.
- Advised GE on the successful negotiation of a commercial settlement agreement between the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and CFM International, a 50/50 joint venture between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines.
- Is advising General Electric (GE) on its entry into a series of long-term agreements with Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE) amending the commercial and technological relationship between the two companies.
- Assisted Spotify with preparing a complaint before the European Commission against Apple for undermining Spotify as a competitor of Apple Music on the Apple platform.
- Advised Saudi Arabia-based company SABIC on its $2.9bn investment in Swiss chemicals company Clariant; the deal involved merger filings in nine jurisdictions.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Peter Alexiadis and David Wood jointly lead Gibson Dunn's group in Brussels, which has a strong profile in global cartel investigations, and also undertakes prosecution/defence work in abuse of dominance cases. The behavioural side of the practice was significantly strengthened by the arrival of Christian Riis-Madsen from O'Melveny & Myers LLP as part of a team move. The group collectively has a strong track record of acting for companies in the technology sector. Wood and Alexiadis are representing UBS in EC investigations into conduct in the financial services sector, which recently included investigations in the foreign exchange space. Elsewhere, the firm is active in headline-grabbing mergers: in 2018, Alexiadis, recently promoted partner Attila Borsos and newly promoted of counsel Alejandro Guerrero acted as European competition counsel to Energizer on its $2bn acquisition of Spectrum Brands’ battery businesses. Also notable is that Jens-Olrik Murach and Guerrero assisted PepsiCo with obtaining unconditional EU merger clearance of its $3.2bn acquisition of SodaStream International Ltd. Recently promoted partner Lena Sandberg has developed a first-rate reputation in state aid and public procurement matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team demonstrates thorough knowledge of EU and global competition law and is able to provide advice in a business-friendly and very quick manner‘
‘Jens-Olrik Murach is always accessible and responsive, and his advice is thorough, helpful, pragmatic and prompt. He is excellent to work with‘
MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company
1&1 Telecom GmbH
Terminal Investments Limited
Cyprus Telecoms Regulatory Authority (OCECPR)
European Commission (DG Comp & DG Connect)
AlzChem Group AG
Stena Line Scandinavia
The Stars Group Inc
Brooks Sports, Inc.
Fair Trade Advocacy Office
- Represented Scandlines, Stena Line Scandinavia, and HH Ferries (now ForSea) as European competition counsel in three cases before the General Court of the European Union (T-68/15, T-630/15 and T-631/15) against the European Commission’s authorisations of State aid granted by Denmark and Sweden to the Øresund Fixed Link and by Denmark to the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link. All three cases were successful and the relevant Commission authorisations were annulled in September and December 2018.
- Is acting as external counsel to the Greek Government in support of three separate broadband schemes under state aid arrangements.
- Acted for 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). 1&1 inter alia lodged an appeal to the EU Court against the judgment of the Court by the European Commission regarding the implementation of the remedies by Telefónica.
- Acted for AlzChem in a State aid complaint and subsequent proceedings before the General Court concerning the State aid granted by Slovakia to AlzChem’s main competitor.
- Assisted William Hill with obtaining unconditional merger control clearance in Germany of its acquisition of a European-focused online gambling company.
Jones Day has proven expertise coordinating EU, transatlantic and global merger clearances, securing favourable outcomes in behavioural investigations and managing follow-on litigation. It also excels in major state aid cases, particularly in the financial sector. In one high-stakes mandate, Mario Todino is representing the Italian Central Bank in an appeal of the General's Court's annnulment of an EC decision to prohibit rescue measures provided by Fondo interbancario (an Italian mandatory Deposit Guarantee Scheme) in favour of Banca Tercas. In another highlight, the firm is representing Deutsche Telekom/T-Mobile in an EC investigation into mobile telephone network sharing agreements with O2 CZ/CETIN and, separately, in a challenge before the EC of an EU member state's auction of spectrum on allegedly discriminatory terms in favour of an incumbent operator. On the transactional side, in 2018, Bernard Amory, Serge Clerckx and associate Geoffroy van de Walle acted for General Cable on its $3bn acquisition by the Prysmian Group. The high-calibre team, which is co-led by Amory and Alexandre Verheyden, also includes Philipp Werner and recently promoted partners Laurent De Muyter and Charles de Navacelle.
Other key lawyers:
Banca d’ltalia (Italian Central
General Cable Corporation
Procter & Gamble
- Is advising the FCA Bank – the bank related to the Fiat Chrysler Automobile Group – on various matters, including an infringement decision issued by the Italian Competition Authority for the anticompetitive exchange of information in the field of car financing. In a separate matter, it advised the same client on the acquisition of Win Rent.
- Acts for GE on a wide variety of high-profile multijurisdictional/cross-practice matters; this has recently included divestments of its oil and gas activities.
- Is acting for Bombardier as a third party intervener on Siemens’ proposed acquisition of Alstom in the rail industry. It is also advising the client on the divestment of its Belfast and Morocco aerostructures businesses as a part of its plan to consolidate all aerospace assets into a single, fully integrated business.
- Advised Ravago on its acquisition of Bamberger, a US-based polymers and resins distributor.
- Acted for Wabtec on a $11.1bn merger with GE Transportation.
Latham & Watkins LLP's global reach and multidisciplinary strengths make it a strong choice for big-ticket merger control mandates and high-stakes antitrust investigations and litigation. On the behavioural side, the firm is acting as the lead counsel in investigations involving competition authorities in India, South Africa and Brazil. It also represents certain clients in EC investigations into FOREX and FX options. Also notable is that it is at the forefront of cutting-edge issues in the technology sphere. Brussels managing partner Lars Kjølbye, Luca Crocco, Javier Ruiz Calzado and others are acting for Broadcom in the EC's investigation into OEM contract terms and interoperability, which is related to set-top boxes and residential gateways. On the transactional side, Crocco is part of a cross-office team, which is assisting The Carlyle Group with obtaining global antitrust clearances of its planned $3.8bn joint acquisition with Bain Capital of German lighting group Osram. In the state aid arena, the firm acts for public authorities, companies and industry associations. Sven Völcker, who is a co-chair of the global antitrust practice, has over 25 years of competition law experience. Héctor Armengod and counsel Rita Motta are also recommended.
The Carlyle Group
Singapore Airlines/Singapore Airlines Cargo
- Is assisting Novelis, a world leader in aluminum rolling and recycling, with obtaining global merger clearances for the $2.6bn acquisition of Aleris Corporation.
- Assisted Microsoft with obtaining European Commission merger clearance of its $7.5bn acquisition of Github; this was one Europe’s largest high-tech deals in 2018.
- Assisted Votorantim with obtaining phase one clearance from the EC (subject to minor commitments) of its $11bn sale of Fibria, a pulp manufacturer, to competitor Suzano.
- Acted for Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company on the €260m acquisition of Serbian company Bambi. The firm assisted the client with obtaining merger clearances across Europe of the deal.
- Is representing Valeo in its complaint to the European Commission against Nokia’s licensing practices for patents involved in industry standards for communication technology in automotive vehicles.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is well-known for having a particularly top-notch EU and global merger control practice, which is balanced by the firm being strong in complex antitrust investigations and litigation before the EU and national authorities and courts. Its team is notably active in investigations and litigation with a nexus to the technology and life sciences sectors. In one matter, Bill Batchelor is representing Dyson in a £150m damages action against the EC following a successful challenge of EU regulatory standards which unlawfully favoured the client's competitors. Another key individual is Ingrid Vandenborre, who is representing Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Limited and its subsidiaries in an EC investigation into the client's pricing practices for medicines used to treat cancer; this is the first excessive pricing case taken up by the EC in the pharmaceuticals sector. Frederic Depoortere acted as antitrust counsel to Red Hat on its $34bn acquisition by IBM. Giorgio Motta, who has over 20 years of competition law experience (particularly in relation to merger control and cartel enforcement), acts for clients from a wide range of sectors, including energy, consumer goods and financial services. Counsel Stephane Dionnet is also highly recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘Ingrid Vandenborre is a top-notch lawyer in relation to her technical skills, business acumen, practical solutions and responsiveness‘
ABB (Asea Brown Boveri) Ltd
Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Limited
Dyson Technology Ltd
Thomas Cook plc
PayPal Holdings Inc
CME Group Inc
WABCO Holdings Inc.
XL Group Ltd
Castik Capital S.a.r.l.
Rockwell Collins, Inc.
World Pay Inc.
Esterline Technologies Corporation
Armstrong World Industries Inc.
I Squared Capital
- Is advising ABB Ltd on the antitrust aspects of its $7.8bn sale of a 80.1 percent stake in its power grids division to Hitachi.
- Is acting for Thomas Cook Plc in relation to allegations of anti-competitive geo-blocking practices based on the application of distinct terms relating to hotel and/or travel bookings in different Member States in the EU.
- Assisted PayPal Holdings Inc with obtaining UK CMA clearance (following a phase II investigation) of its $2.2bn acquisition of European financial-technology startup iZettle AB.
- Assisted CME with obtaining US DOJ and UK CMA clearance of its $5.4bn acquisition of NEX Group Plc.
- Is advising Embraer on its $4.2bn global strategic partnership with Boeing.
Slaughter and May
Slaughter and May's team has a high profile in headline antitrust investigations and related appeals, as is illustrated by the fact that Jordan Ellison, Claire Jeffs and others are acting for Google in the General Court appeal of the EC's fining decision in connection with an Article 102 investigation into the client's AdSense for Search advertising services. In another ongoing matter, Anna Lyle-Smythe is leading the advice to British Airways on the CMA's investigation into the Atlantic Joint Business agreement the client entered into with American Airlines and Iberia. Follow-on damages cases are another driver of work. Reflective of the firm's track record, its work has previously included matters concerning air cargo, smart cards and trucks. The firm also has a leading market presence in cross-border merger control mandates. Jeffs, Kerry O’Connell and others assisted Vodafone with obtaining phase II clearance of its €18.4bn acquisition of Liberty Global’s telecommunications business in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania. Brussels office head John Boyce has been involved in the notification of deals to the European Commission since the adoption of the EU Merger Regulation in 1989. Philippe Chappatte leads the team, which is also sought out in state aid cases, market investigations and consumer law-related matters. Associate Alexander Chadd is a name to note.
‘In terms of expertise, they do a lot of very high-profile EU antitrust work. Operates at forefront of market. They deliver in a pragmatic and easily understood fashion. Particularly good in interactions with our senior board members‘
‘User-friendly, results-oriented, prepared to take and give a view‘
‘Anna Lyle-Smythe is direct and clear-thinking. She brings structure and direction to any case‘
‘Bertrand Louveaux has deep experience of working with clients on challenging and contentious matters. His insight and lateral-thinking combined with understanding of the broader environment, market pressures and how to influence decision-makers leads to great outcomes for clients‘
‘The team is very focused and tight-knit. Anna Lyle-Smythe is willing to get stuck into the detail and has very good judgement‘
‘Jordan Ellison has a fantastic legal mind, always makes himself available and is one of the most efficient people I have worked with. He absorbs and processes information incredibly quickly and always delivers on time. I know that whenever I speak with him he will always add value‘
‘John Boyce is very good at explaining complex matters to those unfamiliar with competition law. He is also very well-respected in Brussels‘
‘Slaughter & May has an exceptional EU competition law practice in Brussels. Through the leading M&A practice in London, and therefore in Europe, it has the cream of merger control work. But what impresses most is the range of work covered at a high level by the Brussels office. They are equally at home litigating the hardest cases in the EU courts as they are fighting major Commission antitrust investigations, e.g., Google. Finally, there is a great balance in the team between young dynamic partners and some of the most senior lawyers in Brussels (e.g. – John Boyce)‘
International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA)
Marsh & McLennan
S&P Global (Platts)
Royal Dutch Shell
Standard Life Aberdeen
Thermo Fisher Scientific
- Is advising Platts on the European Commission’s ongoing investigations into ethanol.
- Is advising British Airways on the multijurisdictional airfreight services cartel litigation.
- Assisted professional services firm and insurance broker Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc with competition law issues associated with its proposed acquisition of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group Plc.
- Advised biopharmaceutical company Shire on the worldwide (ex-US) competition law aspects of its takeover by Takeda Pharmaceutical Company.
- Assisted DS Smith, a leading international packaging business, with obtaining phase I clearance of its acquisition of Papeles y Cartones de Europa, S.A., known as “Europac”.
In a recent development at Van Bael & Bellis, Andreas Reindl and Gabriele Coppo made partner. Also notable is that, in 2018, Michel Struys joined from Allen & Overy LLP. The firm has a longstanding track record featuring in many of the most significant competition matters seen in the Brussels market. In one highlight, a team including Reindl and Jean-François Bellis is representing Gigaset Communications as an intervening party in an appeal of the EC's decision in the investigation into Google's Android operating system. In another reputationally-sensitive matter, group head Andrzej Kmiecik and Tim Kasten represented a household-name global consumer brand in antitrust proceedings brought by the EC over an infringement in relation to vertical agreements. The team also has proven expertise in cartels and other horizontal agreements, as well as state aid cases; Struys is acting for Engie in appeal before the General Court of the EC's state aid and tax optimisation decision in 2018 ordering the Luxembourg government to collect €120m in back taxes from the client. On the merger control side, a highlight involved Kris Van Hove and associate Catherine Gordley assisting KDDI and Mitsubishi UFJ Securities with obtaining clearance from the European Commission of the creation of a joint venture, Kabu.com.
Other key lawyers:
Jean-François Bellis; Fabrizio Di Gianni; Porter Elliott; David Hull; Kris Van Hove; Markus Wellinger; Johan Van Acker; Andreas Reindl; Michel Struys; Gabriele Copp; Tim Kasten; Charlotte Nassogne; Michael Clancy; Catherine Gordley;
‘The team looks for cost-effective and time-efficient solutions and is not shy of engaging with the regulators/authorities in a formal or informal way using all of the firm’s available resources‘
‘The firm’s reputation in Brussels and throughout Europe is unmatched. Van Bael & Bellis is always my first call in the EU‘
‘Porter Elliot has the unique ability to explain complex nuances of EU competition law in a manner that clients can easily comprehend and use to effectively manage their business. Porter never fails to efficiently answer the call and he delivers results. I have never failed to successfully obtain transaction clearance under the deadline when he is at the helm‘
‘Markus Wellinger is not only very responsive and available in case of urgent situations but also for any question or issue raised to him, giving us as in-house counsel the valuable feeling that we are his unique client. His deep understanding of our business reality makes his advice and recommendations sharp, pragmatic and highly valuable. The firm’s good network of relationships with overseas-based local firms enables it to provide assistance in lots of jurisdictions, with Mr. Markus Wellinger always remaining closely involved in order to ensure a good monitoring and coordination‘
‘Van Bael & Bellis provides excellent advice both in terms of the legal analysis and commercial realities. I think they do this on a more cost-effective manner than other law firms that operate at this level of sophistication and client service‘
‘Kris Van Hove has a wide range of expertise and is excellent at working through both the finer legal points under EU law and the real world application of the law‘
‘Very well prepared, provides answers and advice very quickly, transmits confidence and high quality. Special mention to Kris van Hove and Catherine Gordley‘
Coca-Cola European Partners
DAF and Paccar
Hyundai Merchant Marine
Nippon Steel Sumitomo Metal Corporation
- Is advising Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri on the competition aspects of its proposed acquisition of Chantiers de l’Atlantique.
- Is advising leading credit card issuer, processor and merchant acquirer Total System Services on the EU notification and review of a $21.5bn merger of equals with Global Payments.
- Represented the Recylex group in its appeal before the General Court (Case T-222/17) of the EC’s decision in relation to an alleged car battery recycling cartel. The firm is now advising the client on its appeal before the Court of Justice.
- Acted for Quaker Chemical before the EC on its acquisition of rival Houghton International.
- Is advising Hyundai Merchant Marine on the commitments it offered to the European Commission in the context of its investigation into pricing announcements in the shipping sector.
White & Case LLP's highly rated team distinguishes itself in high-profile investigations and groundbreaking litigation, market-shaping mergers and state aid cases. In a landmark matter, team co-head Mark Powell, Katarzyna Czapracka, counsel Nicholas Forwood QC and Alexandra Rogers acted for Deutsche Telekom when the EC unconditionally cleared the acquisition by Tele2 Netherlands by Deutsche Telekom’s Dutch subsidiary T-Mobile Netherlands. This is, to date, the only deal to be cleared under Margrethe Vestager following a Statement of Objections. Powell co-heads the team with Brussels office executive partner Axel Schulz, who is particularly well-known for his merger control expertise. The pair led the advice to Nidec on the competition aspects of its acquisition of Embraco. On the litigation side, the firm represented Servier in its successful General Court appeal in the leading case in the pharmaceutical sector on pay for delay agreements; lead partners James Killick and Jérémie Jourdan are now representing the client in the European Court of Justice in this matter. In a recent development, Czapracka and Genevra Forwood made partner. Other key figures in the team are associates Marika Harjula and Jan Jeram.
Other key lawyers:
‘The White & Case team is strongly united, very well-structured, available 24/7 and expects the best quality both internally and from external counsels it is coordinating. From the very beginning of the project, the team sets clear tasks and plans and throughout the process makes sure to keep the plans and timelines despite various force majeure occasions that are inevitable in complex cases‘
‘White & Case’s team has in-depth knowledge and experience of EU competition law approval processes and it is really able to understand and digest the specific sector it is working within to obtain such approvals. The group does not stop until it really understands the matter, even if it is very technical‘
‘Mark Powell: What a great person to work with. He is very knowledgeable and skilled in competition law and approval processes with the European Commission. What makes Mark unique is his his British humour and his skills in telling a compelling story. Mark can be the oil/glue in a project; when things get a bit tough, he still remains very diplomatic‘
‘The team is one of the most professional and experienced I have come across in my 21 years of practicing antitrust law‘
‘Assimakis Komninos stands out for his professionalism, proactive mentality and good communication ethos‘
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 18 No
Bulgarian Energy Holding
Mr Ioan Micula
Republic of Bulgaria
Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA)
- Acted as co-counsel to Pfizer in relation to Pfizer’s appeal of the CMA decision on excessive pricing before the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
- Is acting for the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) as an intervening party before the General Court in support of Google in the high-profile ‘shopping’ case.
- Acted for GSK and GSK Spain before the General Court of the EU in a parallel trade case.
- Is representing Swedish private investor Ioan Micula in Romania and three major Romanian food & drink companies in a groundbreaking case, in which the European Commission is attempting to push the boundaries of State aid law in the area of investor-state arbitrations.
- Is acting for Crédit Agricole in investigations by the European Commission and other antitrust authorities worldwide in relation to the setting of LIBOR and EURIBOR indexes.
Arnold & Porter undertakes the full range of EU competition law matters for clients, with its Brussels, London and Frankfurt offices working as one integrated practice. Luc Gyselen heads up the Brussels team, whose experience spans industries such as financial services, life sciences, transport and telecommunications. In the merger control sphere, the firm is acting as co-counsel to AbbVie on the $63bn acquisition of Allergan. Axel Gutermuth and counsel Charlotte Simphal are working with the Washington DC team on this matter. In addition, a group including Niels Ersbøll and others assisted Pfizer with the EU and all non-US merger filings associated with its $12.7bn joint venture with GSK, leading to a combination of the parties' consumer healthcare businesses. On the cartel side. Ersbøll and Sebastian Jungermann are representing Mitsui OSK Lines in a number of follow-on cartel damages claims, including one brought by Daimler in relation to the car carriers cartel. The firm also undertakes a significant amount of competition work for companies in the technology and digital economy space. Alexander Italianer, who was formerly Secretary-General and Director-General for Competition of the European Commission, joined as senior international policy adviser.
Other key lawyers:
General Electric Company
Hitachi-LG Data Storage
ZF TRW and ZF Wind
- Assisted Boston Scientific with merger notifications to competition authorities worldwide in relation to its proposed acquisition of BTG for $4.2bn.
- Acted for AT&T on the antitrust aspects of its acquisition of AppNexus, having previously assisted the same client with merger control issues associated with its merger with TimeWarner.
- Acted for The National Titanium Dioxide Company Ltd. (known as Cristal) on a EC phase II investigation connected with Tronox’s acquisition of Cristal’s entire titanium dioxide pigment business.
- Is representing RZF TRW in various auto parts antitrust investigations in the EU, US, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico.
- Is advising a global originator pharmaceutical company on various settlements to patent litigation across the EU.
A hallmark of Baker McKenzie CVBA/SCRL's practice is its broad sector coverage: the firm acts as standing counsel to Brands for Europe, which is a coalition of over 20 multinational companies in the consumer goods industry. Also notable is that Gavin Bushell has vast aviation sector experience, having acted for numerous airlines and Star Alliance. Christopher Jones, who spent more than 30 years at the European Commission, was formerly Deputy Director for Energy. Bushell and associate Luca Montani are assisting Brookfield Capital Partners with its $13bn acquisition of the Johnson Controls power unit business, which involves managing merger control filings in multiple countries worldwide. On the behavioural side, Kurt Haegeman (who relocated to Tokyo in 2017, but also spends a significant amount of time in Brussels) and Joost Haans defended Pioneer in a case where it was alleged that the client engaged in resale price fixing and online export restrictions in relation to its consumer electronics; this was the first verticals case to be decided by the European Commission in almost 15 years. Werner Berg heads up the practice. Counsel Carlos Martínez Rico joined from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.
Other key lawyers:
‘The firm has a strong team, which is globally connected and able to work across timezones‘
‘Joost Hans is always available and is very responsive‘
‘The firm’s global presence enables it to serve as a one-stop shop for geographically widespread legal assignments‘
‘Werner Berg is a very competent and highly responsive antitrust adviser. He is an EU antitrust specialist but also feels equally at home in German and Austrian competition law‘
Warner Bros/Time Warner Inc
Brussels Airlines/Deutsche Lufthansa
Jin Jiang Shanghai International Hotel Group
Brookfield Capital Partners
Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC)
Merck & Co
Kia Motors Europe
- Assisted Jin Jiang Shanghai International Hotel Group with obtaining Phase I clearance from the European Commission of its $1.7bn acquisition of the Radisson Group.
- Assisted Camso with obtaining Phase I clearance from the European Commission (and by agencies in Canada, Colombia, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and the US) of its $1.7bn acquisition by Michelin.
- Assisted Archer Daniels Midland with the global merger control filings associated with its $1.8bn acquisition of Neovia.
- Has represented Brands for Europe, a coalition of household brands, in the European Commission’s e-commerce sector inquiry,
- Advises Lindt on an ongoing basis on antitrust compliance issues.
Covington & Burling LLP
Covington & Burling LLP's diverse team in Brussels includes practitioners who are qualified in jurisdictions across Europe, including Belgium, the UK, France, Germany and Italy. It acts for clients on a standalone basis and, underlining its credentials in cross-border competition matters, also works closely with colleagues based in the US and London. Miranda Cole and others recently advised Merck & Co on the EU competition aspects of its potential acquisition of animal health company Antelliq. Elsewhere, the firm is also highly reputed for cartel investigations and other behavioural matters. Kevin Coates is a former head of a cartel unit at the European Commission. State aid investigations, where the firm acts for governments and recipients, are another bedrock of the practice. A name to note in this space is Sophie Bertin, who formerly served as Head of Unit in the Financial Crisis Task Force at DG-COMP and was responsible for reviewing, approving and monitoring Member State interventions in the financial services sector during the financial crisis. Of counsel Horst Henschen, who joined from BDO Legal, divides his time between the Brussels and Frankfurt offices. Johan Ysewyn heads up the team, which also includes of counsel Andrea Zulli and recently promoted special counsel Melissa Van Schoorisse.
Other key lawyers:
‘With the support of Covington & Burling, we were able to secure approvals in a very timely manner in transactions where the complexity made any approval a challenge and where a long review process was expected. The competition team has real and deep capabilities, and possesses a strong understanding of the dynamic when dealing with competition authorities‘
De Persgroep / Medialaan
- Acted for Bacardi Limited on its $5.1bn acquisition of Patrón Spirits International AG and its PATRÓN® brand, the world’s top-selling ultra-premium tequila, from John Paul DeJoria, a founder of Patrón.
- Acted for AstraZeneca on its strategic $371m sale of certain respiratory products to Covis Pharma.
- Is advising Fluxys Belgium, the independent operator of the natural gas transmission and storage infrastructure in Belgium, on compliance issues relating to BBL Company (a joint venture between Fluxys, Gasunie and E.On Ruhrgas), which operates and exploits the subsea natural gas pipeline between the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
- Is acting for PSA Antwerp on a potential deal with Polish development fund Polski Fundusz Rozwoju, IFM Investors and Queensland Investment Corporation to acquire control of container terminals in Gdansk port.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's practice serves as a one-stop shop in all areas of competition law with particularly notable strengths in sectors such as TMT, energy, pharmaceuticals, financial services and consumer goods. In one highlight, Kyriakos Fountoukakos, of counsel Adrian Brown and senior associate Dafni Katrana acted for a bank in a long-running EC investigation into an alleged cartel in the spot foreign exchange market; the team is now handling follow-on litigation arising from the EC's decision. Also noteworthy on the transactional side is that Fountoukakos, recently promoted of counsel Peter Rowland and senior associate Camille Puech-Baron are part of a cross-office team which is acting for Uber on the merger control aspects of its proposed $3.1bn acquisition of Middle East-based company Careem. State aid expert Lode Van Den Hende represents clients in EC investigations and court litigation; recent work included acting for British Aggregates Association in three cases before the EU General Court over EC decisions connected with the UK's aggregates levy. Daniel Vowden, who recently made partner, undertakes a mix of merger control, behavioural and advisory work. Craig Pouncey retired from private practice.
Other key lawyers:
British American Tobacco
British Aggregates Association
The Weir Group
- Acted for Sky on the merger control aspects of a number of transactions in 2018, including Disney’s proposed $71.3bn acquisition of Fox.
- Is advising Google on the General Court appeal of the EC’s decision to fine the client €2.42bn for allegedly abusing its dominant position by favouring its online comparison shopping service in its search results. The firm has also been advising Google on the merger control aspects of a number of transactions, including its acquisition of Velostrata, which is a provider of acceleration software for migrating virtual machines to the cloud.
- Is representing Furukawa Electric at the European Court of Justice in proceedings connected with the power cables cartel.
- Advised Elementis on merger control aspects of its $600m proposed acquisition of Mondo Minerals. The Brussels office coordinated international filings, working seamlessly with a team based in Düsseldorf and local counsel in Brazil.
- Is advising Next Alt on the merger control aspects of its high-profile acquisition of Sotheby’s.
Hogan Lovells International LLP's Brussels-based group, which is led by Christopher Thomas, is a core part of a much wider international platform. It handles a full range of EU-level and global competition matters for clients across multiple industries, including TMT, industrials, shipping, chemicals, aerospace and defence, and life sciences. Thomas is representing Japanese electronics manufacturer TOKIN Corporation in its challenge of fines imposed by the European Commission following an investigation into an alleged cartel in the capacitors sector. The team includes Falk Schöning and counsel May Lyn Yuen, who were part of a cross-office team which acted as antitrust counsel to IBM on its $34bn acquisition of Red Hat. Salomé Cisnal De Ugarte's recent workload has included cases relating to abusive behaviour, such as excessive pricing.
‘The team is highly competent and is consistently of a high calibre. It reacts quickly and in a practical manner. It is interested in and close to our business‘
iRobot Corporation Longview Aviation No
- Assisted BASF SE with combining its paper and water chemicals business with US specialty chemical company Solenis. The firm handled the notifications of the transaction to the European Commission, the US FTC and in China. In addition, it coordinated all other filings to ten other competition authorities.
- Advises consumer robotics company iRobot on all competition and compliance issues.
- Assisted global pharmaceutical company Covis with securing unconditional phase one clearances in Austria, Brazil and Poland in relation to its agreement with AstraZeneca.
- Assisted Longview Aviation Capital Corporation (“LACC”) and de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited (“DHC”) with the multijurisdictional merger filings associated with the acquisition of the assets of the Dash 8 aircraft programme from Bombardier Inc.
Linklaters acts for industry-leading companies active in areas such as healthcare, financial services, TMT and consumer goods, among others. Its team delivers cutting-edge advice on the gamut of mandates, including in-depth merger reviews, cartel and abuse of dominance cases, and state aid matters. The group also works closely with the dispute resolution department on strategic litigation cases. Gerwin Van Gerven's competition experience dates back more than 25 years. Other key figures in the team include Jonas Koponen, Xavier Taton, Bernd Meyring, Annamaria Mangiaracina, of counsels Bernard van de Walle de Ghelcke and Francesca Crotti, and counsels Nikolaos Peristerakis and Sibel Yilmaz. Isabel Rooms was promoted to partner in May 2020.
Other key lawyers:
‘The competition team is technically extremely strong, hard working, responsive and business-minded‘
‘The firm has a strong pan-European team, which provides high quality advice across jurisdictions. It is well-aligned. Local teams are well-connected with local authorities and other stakeholders‘
‘Nikolaos Peristerakis has very solid experience in merger control work and beyond. He is very responsive and provides well-balanced and practically useful advice‘
Johnson & Johnson
Scripps Networks Interactive
The Single Resolution Board
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP is a major force in Brussels, with clients (either as plaintiffs/complainants or defendants) turning to the firm for robust advocacy and advice on their most important and challenging investigations and litigation. Since managing partner Trevor Soames joined from Shearman & Sterling LLP in December 2016, and the team underwent additional expansion in 2017, the firm has won key mandates across a number of areas, such as technology, life sciences, financial services and media. Notable highlights included Miguel Rato, counsel Marixenia Davilla, counsel Mark English and others representing Qualcomm in an application for an annulment of the EC's decision to request information in the so-called 'pre-dation' case. The team is also assisting Qualcomm with proceedings before the EU General Court in relation to the EC's decision to fine the client nearly €1bn following an investigation into alleged exclusivity arrangements. Nadine Herrmann, who is particularly knowledgeable about the interface between intellectual property and competition law, has experience of behavioural cases involving the travel services, smartphone and pharmaceutical industries. Stephen Mavroghenis' varied workload includes defending clients against allegations of abuses of dominance and participation in cartels, M&A-related competition matters and establishing and maintaining compliance programmes.
‘The team is extremely bright and pulls out all the stops to achieve the results we need. It understands the nuances of EU law and policy, unlike others I have seen in the market. Stephen Mavroghenis is extremely bright and thoughtful. He always makes himself available and understands our business and goals in a way rarely found in outside counsel. He is our go-to person for the EU cases that matter most to our company‘
Anchorage, Algebris and Ronit Capital
ICIG (international Chemical Investors Group) and VYNOVA
- Is representing Qualcomm in Article 102 follow-on and standalone litigation at the UK High Court brought by NVIDIA over the collapse of NVIDIA-owned wireless start-up Icera. NVIDIA alleges that Icera’s demise was brought about by illegal practices by Qualcomm, which constituted an abuse of dominance.
- Is advising Air Canada on EU merger control issues relating to the proposed and recently announced acquisition of Air Transat.
- Is advising Air Canada and national litigation counsel in the UK and Netherlands on jurisdictional and liability issues that were central to the appeal against Rose J’s first instance judgment in Emerald v British Airways and others and La Gaitana v British Airways and others.
Ashurst LLP's Brussels office was opened in 1989, and the firm's market presence has enabled it to build up a following among many longstanding clients, including Apax Partners, CBR (HeidelbergCement) and Colgate. The practice is led by Denis Fosselard, who is dual-qualified at the Brussels and Rome bar, and advises clients on both European and Italian competition law matters. The team particularly stands out in highly contentious competition cases. Denis Waelbroeck is 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. Fosselard is advising ETTSA (European Technology and Travel Services Association) on a complaint to the European Commission over certain alleged competition infringements by Lufthansa and and its subsidiaries Austrian Airlines, Swiss and Brussels Airlines. The firm also has strong capabilities in the merger control arena, as was evidenced when Fosselard and others assisted Azelis with the EU and worldwide merger control aspects of its acquisition by EQT. Another recommended individual is Annick Vroninks, who assisted DIF with the notification at EU level of a joint venture energy-to-waste plant in Ireland. Alexandre Vandencasteele is another key figure, as are counsels Donald Slater and Gil Even-Shoshan.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is experienced, available and easy to catch for a quick discussion on topics where quick assistance is of the essence. It possesses what not all competition teams have: a very good technical expertise, which is combined with a deep understanding of the Brussels policy landscape. This is an important factor in many competition law discussions‘
‘Denis Waelbroeck’s breadth of experience makes any discussion with him extremely interesting. In addition, the meticulous and detailed legal assessments prepared by Irene Antypas make any internal legal strategies extremely solid‘
‘Ashurst is very strong on competition/European law, offering great experience and overall excellent support. Its team’s biggest strength is its ability to quickly understand the case and not only provide very good legal advice but also an excellent strategic approach‘
Dupont de Nemours
Tetra Laval / Tetra Pak
Total (Marketing Services)
- Is advising the Luxembourg government on all the state cases opened against it. The matters arise from alleged State aid granted by way of tax rulings given to individual tax payers.
- Represented Valsabbia and Alfa Acciai in appeal proceedings (both before the General Court and the Court of Justice) arising from the European Commission’s ruling of an alleged cartel put into practice between 1989 and 2000 by Italian steel manufacturers in the Italian market of reinforcing steel bars.
- Is assisting EVRY with the merger control aspects of its merger with Tieto.
- Is representing Ryder Limited and its subsidiary Hill Hire Limited in a private follow-on damages action against 20 truck manufacturers; this is one of the largest private follow-on damages actions in the UK.
Baker Botts L.L.P.
Baker Botts L.L.P.'s global reach makes it a first choice for many multinational clients requiring advice on cross-border competition issues. Catriona Hatton leads the Brussels team, which is particularly well-known worldwide for its strengths in the energy and natural resources sector. Its offering to clients in this area was significantly enhanced in 2018 by the hire of Matthew Levitt from Hogan Lovells International LLP (where he was formerly managing partner of the Brussels office). Levitt, who focuses on EU and multijurisdictional cartel investigations and merger filings, also has expertise in the maritime and transportation industries. He led a team which acted for Wallenius Wilhelmsen and EUKOR in a cross-border cartel investigation involving 12 jurisdictions. Elsewhere, the firm's work in the TMT sector is another notable strength. It also generates mandates from various other industries, including automotive, life sciences and packaging. David Cardwell and others acted for WorleyParsons on the global merger control aspects of its $3.3bn acquisition of Jacobs ECR. Paul Lugard, and senior associates Adam Dawson and Brian Byrne, are also recommended.
‘The team is both knowledgeable and focused on the particular objectives of the client‘
‘Matthew Levitt and senior associate Brian Byrne are both excellent in their own ways. Matthew has vast experience of our industry and understands the competition law issues in that specialised context. His knowledge of the people and processes in the regulatory arena is impressive. Brian brings analytical clarity, as well as excellent writing skills, both of which have contributed to clear and persuasive written advocacy to decision-makers. What sets them both apart from competitors is a lack of excessive ego and an ability to communicate effectively with clients and regulators, as well as an ability and willingness to apply the appropriate amount of effort to the task at hand‘
International Air Transport Association
World Shipping Council
- Acted for SI Group on the antitrust aspects of its $1.7bn sale to Addivant, which is owned by private equity firm SK Capital. The firm assisted with securing phase I clearances in the EU, US, China, Korea and South Africa.
- Is advising the World Shipping Council on the European Commission’s review of the block exemption for consortia. This is one of the few remaining sector-specific block exemptions.
- Assisted McDermott International with the global competition issues associated with its $6bn acquisition of rival engineering firm, Chicago Bridge & Iron.
- Has advised Colfax on the competition aspects of a series of acquisitions, including its acquisition of Sweden-based, GCE, as well as the circa $3.2bn acquisition of DJO. The team is currently advising Colfax on the competition aspects of its $1.8bn sale of Howden to KPS.
- Advised Liberty Media on all the competition aspects of its $3.5 bn acquisition of Pandora, the on-line streaming music service. This included obtaining phase I merger clearances from the German and Austrian competition authorities.
Dechert LLP's team includes Alec Burnside, who is frequently instructed in competition matters involving heavily regulated sectors (including energy, financial services, pharmaceuticals and transport). Also recommended are Clemens Graf York von Wartenburg and Hans Jürgen Meyer-Lindemann (who split their time between Brussels and Frankfurt), as well as highly regarded associates Marjolein De Backer and Adam Kidane. As part of a global practice, the Brussels team delivers a full service to clients across the entire competition law spectrum. In 2018, Burnside and De Backer assisted Aer Lingus with obtaining phase I clearance from the CMA of its wet lease agreement with CityJet. On the behavioural side, the group acted for Yelp as a third party complainant in the EC's investigation into Google's alleged abuse of dominance in relation to local search. The team's wider experience also includes cartel investigations, follow-on damages actions, state aid cases and compliance audits.
‘Marjolein De Backer has been our closest contact – we keep coming back to her because we know we can rely on her for high-quality solutions‘
‘The Brussels team and international reach ensure that the firm provides expertise, experience and efficiency‘
‘Alec Burnside is an experienced practitioner with profound knowledge of the law, the policy and people behind it‘
‘Adam and Alec’s attention to detail and, of course, knowledge of the law were first class. Adam, in particular, was always available‘
One Equity Partners (OEP)
Crown Holdings Inc.
Republic of Serbia
Road Haulage Association
Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. / PaxVax Global, L.P.
Rocket Software Inc.
CIT Group Inc.
GBT III, B.V., d/b/a American Express Global Business Travel
Deutsche Post DHL
Blueprint for Free Speech
- Is acting for One Equity Partners (OEP) and PeroxyChem, LLC on the merger control aspects of the sale of PeroxyChem to Evonik.
- Acted for Stadler as a third party on the European Commission’s investigation into the Siemens/Alstom merger.
- Is advising Airbus S.A.S. on a wide range of issues (including antitrust matters) associated with the Airbus Skywise Project, which is a key project in Airbus’ digital transformation strategic plan
- Is representing longstanding client Crown Holdings in the European Commission’s Metal Packaging Investigation.
- Is advising the Road Haulage Association on aspects of the private damages litigation connected with the truck cartel case.
DLA Piper's Brussels team, which has been led by Bertold Bär-Bouyssière since 2005, is a core part of the firm's wider EU and global competition network. Although it is active in matters involving a wide variety of sectors, the group has a particularly notable focus on the life sciences, energy, technology and transport industries. It plays a particularly significant role coordinating and executing merger filings for clients located worldwide. In one matter, Bär-Bouyssière, Daniel Wojtczak and others assisted Japan-based company NEC Corporation with the EU merger control aspects of its planned DKK8bn acquisition of KMD. Bouyssière is also leading the competition advice to HCL on its proposed $1.8bn acquisition of four IBM software product portfolios. Outside of merger-related work, the group excels in high-profile investigations and features prominently in groundbreaking litigation. Bouyssière, Wojtczak and Andreas Politis are part of a cross-office team which has been acting for Merck in appeals of EC and CMA decisions in the Lundbeck and Paroxetine cases. Regulatory expert Bob Martens focuses on state aid and public procurement law. Daniel Colgan and counsel Orestis Omran are also recommended.
‘Bertold Bär-Bouyssière is an experienced and skilled attorney with the communication skills of an in-house lawyer‘
‘The team is not only knowledgeable but also very approachable and pleasant to work with. It also works cost-efficiently without compromising the quality of the final work product‘
‘The partner makes you feel very comfortable dealing with the major legal issues and the entire team is very reliable and responsive. They pay attention to the details and also proactively guide you through the legal issues that you may not be familiar with. They are always on point and do not go unnecessary extra miles, which helps you control legal fees‘
- Provides day-to-day advice on an ongoing basis to Duracell on distribution law issues.
- Assisted CIE Automotive with merger filings in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic in connection with its planned $755m acquisition of Inteva Roof Systems.
- Advises Swiss luxury watch manufacturer Audemars Piguet on distribution law issues, including those involving questions about rebates, pricing, preferential treatment and e-commerce.
- Acted for BASF on the EU and wider international merger control aspects of its proposed €1.6bn acquisition of the integrated global Polyamides business of Solvay
- Assisted Canfor with the competition law aspects of its €380m acquisition of Sweden-based VIDA Group.
Garrigues has an outstanding track record of securing favourable outcomes for clients in EC behavioural investigations (and related appeals), state aid cases and other high-profile EU competition litigation. The high-calibre team is led by the widely respected Brussels office head José Luis Buendía, a leading name in public competition law (particularly state aid), whose former background working at the EC's Legal Service and accumulated private practice experience has seen him handle circa 150 cases before the EU courts. Recently promoted partner Alfonso Lamadrid has a standout reputation in novel technology-related competition cases. He is leading a team which is acting as co-counsel to Google in annulment proceedings before the General Court over the EC's decision to fine the client €4.34bn for an alleged abuse of dominance in relation to its Android operating system. Lamadrid and others are also representing the UK Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT) in the EC’s investigation into geo-blocking agreements. Elsewhere, the firm has distinguished itself in the pharmaceuticals sector, particularly in landmark parallel trade cases; Ángel Givaja Sanz has led on these matters. The firm also undertakes a significant amount of work for clients in the transport sector. Of counsel Luis Ortiz Blanco divides time between the Brussels and Madrid offices.
‘Garrigues’ competition practice is among the very best in Europe, particularly when it comes to digital markets, EU court litigation and state aid. Its advice is always of the highest quality, thorough, practical, proactive and swift. The partner roster is, quality-wise, comparable to that of any other leading firm in Brussels‘
‘José Luis Buendía is widely regarded as the greatest expert in state aid EU- wide. His background at the European Commission’s Legal Service and Commissioner cabinets has given him a unique understanding of the overlap between legal and political issues. Ángel Givaja Sanz is an extremely capable, practical and reliable lawyer, with great experience on complex distribution matters. Alfonso Lamadrid has very quickly become one of the leading and most influential competition lawyers internationally. He is at the forefront of competition enforcement and thinking, particularly regarding digital platforms. His advice on complex questions has always been technically excellent and business-minded‘
‘José Luis Buendía has considerable experience in the field, both as a litigator and as counsel. He is versatile and has unmatched knowledge of even the most obscure of the Commission’s decisions. He is always courteous and never aggressive‘
UK Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT)
European Association of Euro-Pharmaceutical Companies (EAEPC)
International Air Transport Association (IATA)
Airlines for Europe
World Duty Free
Swedish Shipowners’ Association/Svensk Sjöfart
Computer and Communications Industry Association
- Is representing Abengoa in an ongoing European Commission investigation into alleged benchmark manipulation in the European bioethanol market; this case is the first EU competition probe into the manipulation of the Platts benchmark, on the basis of which oil and biofuel prices are set worldwide.
- Is acting for Banco Santander, World Duty Free, Ebro Foods, Axa, Prosegur and Abertis in challenges against three EC decisions over the tax amortisation of financial goodwill for foreign shareholding acquisitions in Spain.
- Is advising the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) on the potential legal mechanisms of challenging, under EU State aid rules, the future implementation of the ‘digital services tax’.
- Is representing the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Airlines for Europe in a state aid complaint before the EC over the setting of airline charges at Lisbon airport.
- Represented the European Association of Euro Pharmaceutical Companies (EAEPC) before the EU General Court in a challenge of the EC’s decision to discontinue its competition investigation into GlaxoSmithKline’s ‘dual pricing’ scheme.
Mayer Brown's European competition team is jointly led by Jens Peter Schmidt in Brussels and London-based David Harrison, which has a strong capability acting for clients in network industries, such as energy, telecoms, maritime and railways. It also undertakes a significant amount of work for entities in other sectors, such as chemicals, financial services, automotive and life sciences. Schmidt has a focus on merger control risk analysis and complex merger control notifications. The Brussels team also includes Julian Ellison, who was one of the advisers to Mitie Plc on the merger control aspects of Rentokil's acquisition of the client's pest control division. On the contentious side, Ellison and others are acting for P&O Ferries at the London High Court in litigation arising from the UK government settling court proceedings brought by Eurotunnel over Brexit-related ferry capacity contracts; the client contends that this settlement constitutes illegal state aid and gives rise to breaches of public procurement, statutory duty and competition law. Elsewhere, the team has extensive experience of advising clients on national and European cartel investigations. Recent work has spanned areas such as auto parts, steel abrasives, LIBOR and TIBOR.
Other key lawyers:
‘Julian Ellison is an exceptional competition lawyer; his depth of knowledge is extraordinary‘
‘What stood out was Jens’ willingness and ability to explain clearly how the law worked and explain in a layman’s terms what some of the written law actually meant (not always easy to understand) and then apply this and explain to us how it applied to our situation. There is no way we could have done this without a total expert helping us‘
‘Julian Ellison provides creatively pragmatic and distinctive, clear quality business-focussed and client-friendly advice. In the last year Julian, based on his intimate knowledge of the internal workings of the commission and our business, has proposed and delivered on creative options that other leading competitors never even identified‘
- Is representing Macedonian Thrace Brewery in a follow-on damages action against Heineken and Athenian Brewery in connection with the Greek competition authority’s €41 m fine against Heineken’s subsidiary Athenian Brewery for breach(es) of dominance.
- Is representing Organizatia Patronala A Societatilor Feroviare in a state aid complaint against the Romanian state in relation to aid granted to Romania’s publicly owned rail freight operator CFR Marfa.
- Acted for Cargill and another company on the creation of a digital trading platform business.
- Acted for GATX Corporation on the in-depth merger control investigation by the German Cartel Office and the Austrian authority associated with VTG’s €780m acquisition of Nacco.
- Acted for Houghton International on the EU, US, and national merger control proceedings relating to the circa €1bn sale of the Houghton chemical business to Quaker Chemical Corporation.
Norton Rose Fulbright's near 30 year presence in Brussels and its wider international footprint make it a trusted adviser to global clients on high-profile, business-critical matters. Jay Modrall heads up the team, which combines competition and regulatory expertise, particularly in industries such as transport, energy, technology and financial institutions. In the merger control sphere, the group regularly wins work on a standalone basis (even where other departments or offices are not involved). Illustrative of its capabilities, Modrall and senior associate Violetta Bourt are acting as antitrust counsel to international digital security company Gemalto on its $5.4bn acquisition by Thales; this transaction involves merger filings in over ten jurisdictions. In another matter, in 2018, the team assisted Indian automotive component group Samvardhana Motherson with the global merger control filings associated with its $1bn acquisition of Reydel Automotive. Elsewhere, it is active in EC behavioural investigations. In addition, cartels-related litigation is a notable growth area of the practice, with Michael Jürgen Werner leading the work in this area. He also has extensive experience of state aid matters. Christian Filippitsch and Max Seuster joined Reed Smith.
‘Jay Modrall is friendly, business-minded and solution-orientated. His advice is short and clear. It is always a pleasure working with him‘
‘Jay Modrall is a very experienced partner who knows how to organise the process in the best interests of his clients. He is always available and of very good advice. Violetta Bourt provided excellent support in managing the flow of questions and answers to the authority. This job requires excellent project management skills and they have got it‘
‘The team is very experienced and has a good understanding of what authorities expect, which helps the process tremendously. It is also perfectly up-to-date on new and future developments, and it keeps clients informed‘
Samvardhana Motherson Group
Public Power Corporation
ELG Haniel Banking Consortium – Trade Information Network
CTC Canadian Tire Group
- Assisted the Hellenic Republic with negotiating commitments before the EC over the divestment of a major share of the lignite-fired generation capacity of Greek utility Public Power Corporation to a third party.
- Assisted longstanding client Stena and its subsidiary Stena Rederi with the competition law (including merger control) aspects of the creation of a joint venture with global car carrier Hyundai Glovis.
- Acted for ELG Haniel on the global competition aspects connected with it establishing a joint venture with Iberinox group, a leading alloys trader.
- Is advising a banking consortium on all antitrust issues relating to the formation of an electronic platform, the Trade Information Network, to transmit and receive verified purchase orders and invoices between suppliers and the purchaser’s banks.
- The Brussels team is acting as European merger control counsel (with the US team acting as US antitrust counsel) to clinical cloud solutions company Medidata on its merger with French software company Dassault Systèmes.
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP's practice is led by global head Jacques Derenne, who has over 30 years of EU competition law experience. Under his leadership, the team handles the full spread of work for clients, and its expertise spans sectors such as chemicals, aviation, life sciences/pharmaceuticals, tobacco products, energy, postal services, aviation and railways. In the telecommunications space, Robert Klotz (an expert in EU and German competition law) and associate Michael Hofmann acted as co-counsel to Germany-based 1&1 Drillisch as a third party complainant in EC merger control proceedings concerning Vodafone's €18.4bn acquisition of Liberty Global's cable business. Also notable is that Derenne and counsel Dimitris Vallindas have been representing Tempus Energy in state aid cases in the UK and Poland, which could impact capacity mechanisms across the EU. Oliver Heinisch, who splits his practice between London and Brussels, leads a team in Europe which handles cases involving both competition and intellectual property issues; these include standard essential patents and FRAND licensing matters. Sylvie Rousseau is the head of EU data protection. Isabelle Rahman joined Reed Smith.
‘Jacques Derenne is certainly one of the best EU competition law and state aid specialists in Belgium. He is smart, business minded and works efficiently‘
‘Oliver Heinisch is very experienced and client-oriented. He has a strong sense of responsibility, is very responsive to a client’s needs and is easy to work with‘
CF Martin Guitars
Dr. ir. Leuridan a.o. (IT investors)
Energy Community Secretariat
Hellenic Financial Stability Fund
Melia Hotels International
Ullens de Schooten
- Acted for Energetický a průmyslový Holding (EPH) on the EU competition (including merger control) aspects of its acquisition of Uniper France.
- Is assisting Hellenic Republic with state aid issues in the context of an ICC arbitration where the client claims that Hellenic Shipyards and its shareholders are liable to pay several billion euros in damages, in relation to the execution of two contracts concerning the construction and modernisation of seven submarines.
- Is providing state aid advice to the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund on the sale of Piraeus Bank’s Bulgarian subsidiary to Eurobank.
- Assisted Swedish-Romanian investor Vionel Micula with a successful application for annulment at the General Court of the EC’s 2015 decision to prohibit Romania from paying damages awarded by an ICSID arbitral tribunal; this is a landmark case involving the interface between EU state aid law and international arbitration.
- Is representing Meliá Hotels International in an EU competition investigation following the 2016 e-commerce inquiry.
Squire Patton Boggs consistently generates large volumes of work across all areas of competition law. The team features prominently in many of the most significant EC cartel investigations and related appeals. In one matter, Brussels managing partner Brian Hartnett, Oliver Geiss and Will Sparks recently represented LATAM Airlines/LAN Cargo in a successful appeal before the General Court to overturn the EC's imposition of a €790m fine in relation to an alleged airfreight cartel. In addition, the team is acting for LATAM in related damages litigation in the national courts of the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. The same practitioners are also advising Quanta Storage on its General Court appeal to annul the EC's optical disc drives cartel decision. Elsewhere, the firm is active in multijurisdictional merger control matters. One highlight in 2018 saw Hartnett, Geiss and Sparks act for SK Group on the competition aspects of its $370m acquisition of two business units from DowDuPont. State aid cases are another area of strength for the team, which also includes associate Tatiana Siakka.
‘The firm is committed to partner involvement which, from the perspective of a corporate client dealing with complex antitrust and state aid issues, is most important. They work seamlessly and deliver expert comprehensive analysis within (sometimes very tight) timelines‘
‘Their ability to recognise and address the issues is first-rate. They are very much hands-on. Clients always mention their interest in fully understanding the sector involved and their ability to process a lot of information at speed; all essential ingredients of being able to deliver the best advice‘
‘Brian Hartnett is very knowledgeable and has a wealth of experience. He is very approachable and a proactive thinker, which shows in his advice and analysis‘
‘Oliver Geiss’ explanations are very clearcut and easy to understand even for non-European lawyers and non-lawyers‘
‘The team’s immediate grasp of facts and implications, proactive advice and foresight are some of its top qualities‘
‘I have known Brian Hartnett for a long time and can fully recommend him‘
The Ricoh Company
Auction Technology Group Germany
SK Global Chemical
The 3M Company
Mineral Technologies Inc
AU Optronics Corporation
Quanta Storage Inc
EMC Computer Systems
The Timken Company
- Is representing Polish highway operator Autostrada Wielkopolska (AWSA) in its application to annul a EC state aid decision worth over €210m.
- Acted for ACG Inc. (formerly Asahi Glass Company) on the merger control aspects of three transactions in 2018-19, which required merger control approvals in several jurisdictions.
- Advised EnerSys on the merger control aspects of its $750m acquisition of Alpha Technologies.
- Advised Ricoh on the competition aspects of several potential acquisitions.
- Assisted The Timken Company with securing merger control approval of its acquisition of companies active in the machine tools industry (linear motion systems and anti-friction bearings). The transactions required multiple filings worldwide.
WilmerHale's team has extensive experience of representing clients in matters before the European Commission and national competition authorities, as well as proceedings before the European, Brussels and other national courts. Frédéric Louis has acted for clients in more than 50 proceedings before the European courts in Luxembourg. John Ratliff, Brussels partner-in-charge Christian Duvernoy, and special counsels Anne Vallery and Cormac O’Daly, are other key practitioners to note at the firm. Duvernoy is particularly knowledgeable about the application of European competition law and communications regulation to network industries and high-tech clients. Complementing the group's strengths in European competition law matters is its expertise in matters with a US dimension; Vallery has a strong track record in transatlantic cartel investigations. Thomas Mueller splits his practice between Washington DC and Brussels. Senior counsel Claus-Dieter Ehlermann is another key figure in the team. Ratliff and Duvernoy recently advised Equinor on a number of matters, including merger control issues, joint ventures and compliance.
Baker Hughes Inc
- Assisted three Japanese container shipping lining companies with securing antitrust approvals in the EU and US in relation to the establishment of a joint venture.
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, which is particularly well-known for its strengths in the technology and biotechnology sectors, regularly handles the competition aspects of headline and strategically significant transactions in those areas. It also has significant involvement in EC abuse of dominance and cartel investigations. In addition, the firm has carved out a first-rate reputation in the air transport sector, and it also generates work from clients in basic industries. Paul McGeown has more than 25 years of experience advising clients on all aspects of European competition law. Another key partner is Gorka Navea, who formerly served as a Deputy Head of Unit in the Cartels Directorate of DG Competition where he investigated cartels cases and managed proposed settlements with companies under investigation. Recent highlights included McGeown, associate Schweta Batohi and others acting as the lead competition counsels to Air France-KLM on its £220m investment in (and acquisition of joint control of) Virgin Atlantic, and the associated joint venture with Virgin and Delta Air Lines. In another matter, working with members of the Washington DC office, McGeown assisted Tesla with the competiton aspects of its $218m acquisition of Maxwell Technologies.
Other key lawyers:
‘If I want to quickly brainstorm, get hands-on advice, or find a sparring partner, these are the people I call‘
‘The team has very deep knowledge of competition law, particularly in relation to the aviation industry. The team is everything but dogmatic and provides very business-oriented and practical guidance‘
Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc.
KLM Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij
- Is representing Pacific Biosciences of California in merger proceedings before the CMA over its proposed $1.2bn acquisition by Illumina.
- Acted for Air France and KLM in the European Commission’s preliminary investigation into airline ticket distribution practices.
- Is acting for Nutanix as an interested third party on the merger between IBM and Red Hat; the work has involved submissions/representations before the EC and CADE.
- Acted for Air-France-KLM (as future investor in Virgin Atlantic and as an interested third party) in merger proceedings before the European Commission over the acquisition by a consortium (whose members include Virgin Atlantic) of control of insolvent UK regional carrier, Flybe.
José Rivas heads up Bird & Bird's multinational competition team, which attracts a large and diverse portfolio of high-profile, cross-border work. Its coverage of all the main subsets of competition law is complemented by its knowledge about sector-specific regulatory issues. Scott McInnes is an expert in competition and regulatory issues impacting the payments sector, particularly card payments. Hein Hobbelen has specialist expertise in the areas of technology and communications, media, entertainment and sports. Hobbelen was recently part of the team which acted for T-Mobile Netherlands as an interested third party on the re-notification of the Liberty Global (UPC)/Ziggo transaction at the EC. Anne Federle is particularly knowledgeable about the automotive industry. The team also includes of counsel Lawrence Freeman, who joined in 2018 from Tesla. The firm also generates work from clients in other industries. In one example, Rivas is part of a cross-border group, which is acting for Easyjet before the General Court of the EU in an appeal of an EC decision on State aid concerning funding granted to Sardinian airports. Of counsel Serge Durande joined from DG COMP.
Other key lawyers:
‘Apart from their high technical skills, when you work with them you really feel that they form part of your own team. Their practical approach to the problems, the speed in their analysis and responses make this practice unique‘
European Petroleum Refiners Association
European Thermal Paper Association (ETPA)
John Bean Technologies
PRS for Music
Yanfeng Automotive Interiors (YFAI)
- Acted for Lithuanian mobile operator Bitė Lietuva in two simultaneously handled complaint matters pending before DG Connect and DG COMP over the funding of high-speed broadband communications networks.
- Advised Adient, the world’s largest manufacturer of automotive seats, on the merger control aspects of a joint venture with Boeing that will manufacture aircraft seats.
- Advises Mastercard on a variety of strategic competition law matters (as well as payments regulation, data protection work, cybersecurity and M&A, etc).
- Acted for E.ON on the EU merger control proceedings concerning the acquisition of a controlling stake in the Finish e-mobility software company Liikennevirta Oy.
- Is representing Rubycon in its appeal before General Court of the EU against the Commission’s decision in a capacitors cartel investigation.
BonelliErede's Brussels practice, which is led by Massimo Merola, assists Italian and international companies with a full range of contentious and non-contentious competition matters. It is part of an integrated group, which also includes practitioners in the Rome and Milan offices. Also notable is that the firm strengthened its capabilities in 2019 by merging with independent Italian firm Lombardi e Associati. Merola's team provides the full scope of advice on state aid cases, merger reviews, competition investigations and litigation. In 2018 Merola assisted Ardian France with the merger control aspects of its circa €850m acquisition of a non-controlling stake in Nuova Argo Finanziari. In an ongoing matter, Merola and senior counsel Leonardo Armati are representing Fastweb at the General Court in relation to the EC's decision to clear the merger between Hutchison 3G Italia and Wind, subject to a remedy package.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is highly qualified both at European and international level, and provides very timely support‘
‘Massimo Merola is an outstanding point of reference for competition law‘
‘I deeply appreciate the clarity and thoughtfulness around our issues. It is a pleasure working with BonelliErede‘
‘Proactive approach, fast feedback, high availability‘
Ferrovie dello Stato
Tirrenia – Compagnia Italiana di Navigazione
Single Resolution Board
First State Investments
- Acted as antitrust counsel to Credit Agricole on its acquisition of Global Assicurazioni.
- Acted as global antitrust counsel to the Luxottica Group on its €50bn merger with Essilor International.
- Representing PYMAR and LICO leasing in a General Court appeal of the EC’s decision to consider a Spanish tax lease to constitute state aid in the shipbuilding sector.
- Assisted TransDigm with the competition aspects of its proposed acquisition of Esterline Technologies Corporation.
- Acted for FirstState Investments on the competition aspects of its €400m acquisition of Uniper’s stake in OLT.
At Bredin Prat, the teams in Brussels and Paris work together to handle all areas of French and European competition law for clients. The Brussels practice is led by office head Pierre Honoré, who has particular experience of cartel and abuse of dominance investigations, as well as merger reviews. He works with counsel Valérie Landes, who also acts as competition counsel in mergers and acquisitions, and is active in antitrust litigation. Honoré, Landes and others assisted AXA with obtaining unconditional EC clearance of its €12.4bn acquisition of XL Group. Honoré also acted for Equistone Partners Europe on the notification to the EC of the client's €283m acquisition of Courir from Groupe Go Sport.
Other key lawyers:
European Central Bank
- Acted for Fincantieri, the Italian shipbuilding company, on the acquisition of 50% of the French shipyard STX France, and the stock lending agreement relating to 1% of the share capital of STX France. The transaction involved notifications to the French Competition Agency, the Federal Cartel Office in Germany and European Commission.
- Is assisting Eiffage with the competition aspects of its acquisition of CASIL Europe’s 49.99% stake in Toulouse-Blagnac airport.
- Regularly advises UBER on French and EU competition matters; recent work included filing a complaint before the European Commission against regulations adopted by the French Government, which unduly restrict the development of the company’s services in France.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP's highly-rated practice head David Anderson advises governments and multilateral bodies on legal and policy-related issues, and he also acts as the lead EU and global antitrust counsel to a significant number of multinational corporates. He works closely with recently promoted senior associate Paul Culliford, who primarily focuses on merger control, but is also experienced in all other areas of competition law. The team acts for clients from a multitude of sectors, with particular specialisms in energy, technology, chemicals and transport. Working with the London office, Anderson and Culliford assisted Flybe Plc with the competition (including merger control) aspects of its sale to Connect Airways, as well as related regulatory and slot allocation/retention issues.
Other key lawyers:
‘The competition law practice provides excellent advice on practical questions our business is facing when doing business in certain markets and/or regions in Europe. The team is very responsive and has a good understanding of the commercial issues‘
‘The competition team (specifically David Anderson and Paul Culliford) at the Brussels office is easy to reach and can quickly turn around requests. It has a good understanding of the business reality‘
‘David Anderson and his team have done an excellent job handling our worldwide antitrust matters for more than eight years. It has provided us with guidance on matters in numerous countries and walked us through complicated analyses‘
‘David Anderson is very client-focused and explains complicated antitrust regulations in a way that is readily understood by our investment professionals‘
‘The competition team offers practical insights and really gets to understand your business commercially before offering advice and solutions. It feels like an extension to your team, which is just what is needed‘
‘David Anderson’s extensive knowledge and practical approach to competition law issues are a perfect combination. Paul Culliford, who works with David in Brussels, is a superb competition lawyer in his own right; he is very knowledgeable and very responsive‘
Anadarko Petroleum Corp
Eurasian Resources Group
Japan Tobacco International
Sumitomo Chemical Europe
- Advises Sumitomo Chemical Europe (SCE) on a variety of European competition law issues relating to its day-to-day business operations, including distribution agreements and structures and supply agreements.
- Advised Riverstone on the international merger control and antitrust aspects (including gaining Phase One unconditional merger control clearance in Germany) of its proposed acquisition of five coal fired power generation plants (in Germany and the Netherlands) and an associated coal optimisation business from major European energy company Engie.
- Acts as lead global counsel to Anadarko Petroleum Corporation on all global competition law issues arising from the production and commercialisation of new natural gas fields in Mozambique.
Crowell & Moring's ability to work on a transatlantic basis enables it to assist clients with formulating international defence strategies in behavioural investigations and multijurisdictional merger reviews. It also covers other competition matters for clients, including market/sectoral reviews, state aid and competition litigation. Thomas De Meese heads up the Brussels team, which regularly generates work from blue-chip clients such as AT&T, Nestlé and Unibet. De Meese is particularly active in matters with a nexus to the telecommunications and media sectors. Another notable individual is Sean-Paul Brankin, who was part of the cross-office team which advised Chemours as a third party on the EU and US DoJ investigations into the merger of competitors Tronox and Cristal. Senior counsel Jules Stuyck has over three decades of experience in the competition arena as a private practitioner, government adviser and law professor. Counsel Karl Stas is also a key figure.
Arconic (formerly Alcoa)
Medicines for Europe
Chemours (formerly Dupont)
Distributed Ledger Group
Stichting Truck Cartel Recovery
- Was engaged as Bloomberg’s standing external EU antitrust counsel in 2018.
- Acts as Arconic’s lead antitrust adviser in Europe, advising on a wide range of merger control and behavioural issues.
- Created a Dutch special purpose vehicle (Stichting Truck Cartel Recovery), which is a claimant group set up to consolidate and pursue claims in the Dutch courts against entities found guilty of cartel activity in the European Commission’s trucks cartel investigation.
Dentons' Brussels team handles the full spread of work for clients, working with national competition specialists based in other offices across Europe. It particularly distinguishes itself in matters where there is an interface between competition and other areas, such as trade and energy law. In a notable recent development, it made a significant investment in its Brussels competition practice recently by hiring Yves Botteman, Jean-Nicolas Maillard and two associates from Steptoe & Johnson LLP. In addition, counsel Nicoleta Tuominen joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. The practice in Brussels is led by James Venit , who worked with Edward Borovikov and others to advise Gazprom on an EC antitrust investigation into upstream gas supplies to Central and Eastern Europe. In a related matter, the firm is currently representing the same client as an intervening third party intervening in a challenge before the General Court of the EU (brought by Polish energy group Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo SA (PGNiG). In another highlight, working with the Paris office, Borovikov acted for Gazprom at the Svea Court of Appeal in a longrunning dispute with Lithuania over the prices the client was charging for supplying gas. Bogdan Evtimov and Jörg Karenfort are also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘Jean-Nicolas Maillard is very helpful and provides pragmatic advice‘
Gazprom Group (Gazprom PJSC and Gazprom Export LLC)
Steel Invest & Finance (Luxembourg) (Novolipetsk Steel)
Collins Aerospace (ex-Rockwell Collins)
- Acted for Collins Aerospace as a third party in the EU merger control proceedings relating to the joint venture between Boeing and Adient in the seating and interior markets for civil aircraft.
- Acted for Coveto in an investigation by the French Competition Authority into an alleged cartel relating to the distribution of veterinary products.
Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I captures high-profile work across all areas of competition law. In the state aid arena, Benoît Le Bret, Stéphane Hautbourg and others are representing Engie at the General Court in an action for annulment of the EC's decision that several tax rulings issued by Luxembourg may have given GDF Suez (now Engie) an unfair advantage in breach of EU state aid rules. This case is one of several tax rulings matters the team is handling for clients. On the merger control side, Hautbourg is assisting Naval Group with the EC merger notification connected with Fincantieri's proposed acquisition of French shipbuilding company Chantiers de l'Atlantique (which is controlled by the French State and Naval Group). In another matter, a team led by Laurent Godfroid (which includes Hatbourg and recently promoted partner Ségolène Pelsy) is acting for Polish oil company PKN Orlen on the EU competition aspects of its acquisition of Grupa Lotos; the matter is currently the subject of a phase II investigation. Elsewhere, the group is recommended for its expertise in cartel and abuse of dominance investigations, and competition litigation.
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (“KKR”)
Davidson Kempner Capital Management
Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha
Naval Group (DCNS)
Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC)/Terminal Investment Limited (TiL)
- Is representing French price comparison website Twenga in EU General Court proceedings arising from the EC’s finding that Google abused its dominant position in relation to the search market.
- Acted for Orange Polska at the Court of Justice following its appeal of the EC’s decision to impose a fine of €127m for an abuse of dominant position.
- Is assisting KKR with the merger control aspect of the sale of part of European broadcasting and telecoms operator United Group to BC Partners.
At Gleiss Lutz, the full-time resident partners in Brussels are Ulrich Soltész and Christian von Köckritz. Ulrich Denzel, Matthias Karl and Christian Steinle are all dually-located in Stuttgart/Brussels. Ingo Brinker (Munich/Brussels) also adds support to the competition practice. In addition to being active in a variety of German competition law matters, the group also plays a leading role coordinating EU and global merger control proceedings, cartel (and other behavioural) investigations and damages actions. With the firm having been based in Brussels since 1962, it has built up a strong presence in the local market. It also has well-established connections with antitrust practices at other firms worldwide. Soltész and von Köckritz represented Wieland-Werke AG in the EC's phase II investigation into its proposed acquisition of Aurubis Rolled Products; the matter is now pending before the General Court. In another highlight, they are representing Canon in an EC investigation into alleged violations of the EU merger control procedure connected with its acquisition of Toshiba Medical Services.
Other key lawyers:
Deutsche Bahn AG
- Acted for HeidelbergCement AG and Schwenk Zement in an application for annulment of the EC’s prohibition decision in Project Cerberus II.
- Advised Globalfoundries and Infineon Technologies on state aid issues associated with an “IPCEI project” (Important Project of Common European Interest for the European Union).
- Acted for the Federal Mogul group in the EU merger control aspects of its acquisition by Tenneco.
Hengeler Mueller's Brussels team leverages the support of colleagues in Germany, and works with other leading antitrust practices across Europe, to cover the full spread of competition matters for clients. It has a strong track record of securing clearances of strategic, business-critical transactions at EC level and it also coordinates other multijurisdictional merger filings; in one matter, Markus Röhrig (whose practice is split between Brussels and Dusseldorf) acted for Generali on the competition (including EU merger control) aspects of its €1bn sale of Generali Leben in Germany to Viridium Group. The firm also has an excellent reputation in cartel investigations and related litigation, where it represents clients in proceedings before the EC and European courts; Hans-Jörg Niemeyer is part of the cross-office team which is representing a Japanese company in EU cartel proceedings in the ceramic capacitors space. Niemeyer and Röhrig are also advising Nippon Chemi-Con on an application for an annulment of the EC's decision in relation to an alleged electrolytic capacitors cartel. Private enforcement work is another driver of activity; the firm's current workload includes matters connected with air cargo and trucks, among other areas. In the state aid arena, the firm has featured prominently in cases involving industries such as aviation, financial services and infrastructure. Jan Bonhage's practice is split between Berlin and Brussels.
NCC Nippon Chemi-Con
BMW Bayerische Motorenwerke AG
Vodafone Group PLC
Cerberus Capital Management
Marelli Corporation (ex Calsonic Kansei Corporation)
- The firm assisted Innogy with obtaining EC clearance (following a phase II investigation) of its €60bn acquisition by E.ON.
- The firm acted for Daimler AG and BMW Bayerische Motorenwerke AG on the EU merger control proceedings associated with the combination of their respective mobility services worldwide.
- The firm acted for Vodafone Group on the EU merger control aspects of the €18.4bn acquisition of Unitymedia and further assets from Liberty Global.
- The firm is acting as the lead counsel to Ceberus Capital Management on a proposed investment in NORD/LB Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale
- The firm advised Takeaway.com on the German merger control aspects of its €930m acquisition of Delivery Hero’s German food delivery operations.
McDermott Will & Emery Belgium LLP's competition practice is notably active in its advice to blue-chip Japanese clients, including names such as Nidec and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. In addition, the firm's sizeable geographical footprint across Europe, the US and Asia sees it act for other high-profile international clients. Team head Jacques Buhart, whose practice is split between Brussels and Paris, undertakes a mix of EU/French competition law investigations, merger control and litigation. Andrea Hamilton and Wilko van Weert are other key figures in the group, whose work spans industries such as life sciences, chemicals, paper, energy and consumer products. In 2018, Hamilton was part of a multidisciplinary cross-office team which acted for HIG on its acquisition of Recochem; the Brussels office coordinated the global antitrust clearances. Another highlight saw van Weert act for Mitsubishi Electric Corporation on the (ultimately aborted) politically-sensitive Siemens/Alstom merger.
‘Andrea Hamilton is extremely knowledgeable, very responsive and pragmatic in her advice. Working with her almost makes EU competition law simple, despite the somewhat low predictability of the European Commission‘
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
Socotec and its shareholders
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
- Acted for Praxair on the global divestments to be made by Praxair and Linde Group in connection with their $80bn merger.
Morrison & Foerster LLP
Morrison & Foerster LLP has strong credentials undertaking high-profile and complex, multijurisdictional competition mandates for large multinational companies. Led by Tom McQuail, the team handles all the complexities associated with global mergers, antitrust investigations and damages claims. Showcasing its work, in one highlight, a team led by McQuail and Andreas Grünwald is advising Sprint and SoftBank (as the controlling shareholder of Sprint) on the EU competition aspects of the landmark circa $59bn telecoms merger between Sprint and T-Mobile. Elsewhere, the group also provides strategic advice to clients on horizontal agreements, vertical restraints and technology licensing, among other matters. Rony Gerrits' practice is split between the Tokyo and Brussels offices.