EU and competition in Bulgaria

Boyanov & Co.

Head of practice Peter Petrov at Boyanov & Co. is 'probably the best competition lawyer in the region', the result of extensive experience in merger control and antitrust procedures and litigation, both domestically and cross-border. The firm has an illustrious client base of well-known global companies and handles some of the market's most high-profile mandates, such as successfully obtaining merger clearance for Eurobank Bulgaria following a court challenge by a rival bidder for target Piraeus Bank Bulgaria. Litigator Kina Chuturkova is a key member of the team.

Practice head(s):

Peter Petrov

Other key lawyers:

Kina Chuturkova; Nikolay Kolev

Testimonials

‘The team is the best option in Bulgaria, with top lawyers for any matter. ’

‘Peter Petrov is probably the best competition lawyer in the region, having a strong knowledge of EU law. Peter has strong knowledge in technology connected areas – data protection, finance services. His advice is useful not only in Bulgaria, but also in the region.’

Key clients

Procter & Gamble

AbbVie

Novartis

Merck

Philip Morris

EVN

Bayer

Samsung

Unilever

Mondelez (formerly Kraft Foods)

Siemens

Fraport

Medtronic

Adidas

Vaillant

Stars Group, Inc.

Lego

Booking.com

Advent

Work highlights

  • Successfully acted for Eurobank Bulgaria in gaining merger clearance following its acquisition of local rival Piraeus Bank Bulgaria, despite several attempts of a rival bidder to block the merger through the courts.
  • Successfully obtained merger approval for Advent/Zentiva’s bid to acquire the CEE business of rival Alvogen.
  • Advised the Association of the Research-based Pharmaceutical Industry (ARPharM) in Bulgaria regarding the local competition authority’s review of a proposed legislative amendments requiring mandatory biosimilar substitution, leading to the amendment being abandoned in keeping with the client’s view.

CMS

CMS offers a sophisticated competition and antitrust service to multinationals and leading domestic companies, advising on merger control, investigations and cartels, abuse of dominant position, compliance and litigation. Counsel Nevena Radlova heads the CEE-wide competition practice at the firm as well as co-leading the Sofia team, and is lauded for her 'good knowledge of the latest competition law precedents in Bulgaria and at EU level'. Head of the firm's IP and IT practice areas Anna Tanova  is a key adviser.

Practice head(s):

Nevena Radlova

Other key lawyers:

Anna Tanova

Testimonials

‘CMS Sofia has provided highly specialised competition advice for us. Recent legal analyses were related to possible abuses of dominant position. We worked closely with Anna Tanova, senior associate at CMS Sofia, on these matters. Anna is highly qualified expert in competition law and is particularly focused in the media industry, TV distribution and IP. The CMS contribution is noticeable and valuable for us. CMS Sofia shows deep understanding and knowledge of the EU and Bulgarian jurisprudence in IP and Competition. ’

‘We work closely with Anna Tanova. She is a knowledgeable competition expert with focus on creative industries, IP and IT. She is also a knowledgeable expert in EU media, IP and communications regulation. She is part of all working groups to the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications and the parliamentary committees related to the amendments of media, IP and leectronic communications law. ’

‘I think that CMS stands out for their international capabilities and strong EU-wide competition team, combined with the excellent knowledge of the local competition law and practices by the lawyers here.’

‘I have worked closely with Nevena Radlova for many years. I think that she is very reliable and diligent, always keen to provide straight-to-the-point and comprehensible advice. She has good knowledge of the latest competition law precedents in Bulgaria and at EU level.’

‘Strict professionals with very large expertise.’

Key clients

Syngenta

The Sales House

Hyundai Heavy Industries, Korea

SmartCom Bulgaria

EVN AG/Elektrorazpredelenie Yug EAD

Telepoint

Kaolin EAD, part of Quartzwerke Gruppe

Bulgarian Association of Cable and Communications Operators – BACCO

Association for Protection of Legal Distribution of Programmes – TeRaPro

Association of Bulgarian Broadcasters – ABBRO

IBM Bulgaria

Work highlights

  • Advising the Bulgarian subsidiary of Syngenta on various commercial and litigation competition matters, including compliance of their promotional programmes, various projects and commercial practices.
  • Representing BACCO, the industry association of DTH, IPTV and cable operators (platform operators) before the SAC in a case of abuse of dominant position by a collective management organisation (CMO) that manages the neighbouring rights in music. The case provided clarity on the criteria for evaluation of the CMO tariffs and the respective provisions of the Bulgarian Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act.
  • Advising Hyundai Heavy Industries, Korea on merger control analysis with respect to the contemplated acquisition of part of the going concern of a Bulgarian industrial producer by a German investor.

Dimitrov, Petrov & Co

Leading corporate and M&A lawyer Zoya Todorova at Dimitrov, Petrov & Co is equally praised for her competition and anti-trust practice, attracting enviable clients such as Google, Pfizer and Telenor Bulgaria to the firm. On the litigious front, the firm successfully represented Sofia Airport in abuse of dominant position proceedings before the regulator. The team also includes experienced senior associate Donka Stoyanova, who co-advised on the Sofia Airport matter and is 'very diligent'. Clients rate the firm's 'impeccable professional approach'.

Practice head(s):

Zoya Todorova

Other key lawyers:

Donka Stoyanova

Testimonials

‘DPC experts are undoubtedly among the best ones especially in the area of EU & competition law. What we cherish most is that we do not receive just formal legal advice, but also practical and effective solutions. Possessing thorough regulatory knowledge and an excellent understanding of our corporate structure and strategic objectives, DPC lawyers have managed to gain our trust. ’

‘The people at DPC are all just great.’

‘The competition practice, led by Zoya Todorova, is impressive. Zoya is capable of addressing any issue relating to EU and national competition law. Her extensive knowledge spans from merger control to compliance issues, to abuse of dominance. Being very balanced and methodical, Zoya always adopts the right approach when dealing with relevant authorities, which, in turn, leads to good relationships with case teams from day one. Moreover, the work product is always delivered on time and to a high standard.’

‘I have had the pleasure of working with Zoya Todorova and Radina Tomanova on a very complex merger control proceedinsg before the Bulgarian competition authority. Their knowledge of the law, attention to detail, delivery on time and friendliness turned a very challenging and complex project into an absolute pleasant experience.’

‘We are very pleased with the services of Dimitrov, Petrov and Co. The law firm provides full-scale assistance to our group on competition, dispute resolution and corporate matters, which, in my opinion, defines the in-depth approach of the experts when handling the matters addressed to them. All experts from the law who are involved in the legal assistance to our group have excellent command of law, impeccable professional approach and very responsible attitude to all matters. For many years, the team has shown commitment, in-depth expertise and a constant search for innovative and alternative approaches to solving the issues.’

‘We communicate mainly with Metodi Baykushev. He is a very knowledgeable and reliable lawyer and we know we can call him for any legal issues we have, no matter the day and time, and they will be taken care of in the best way. Donka Stoyanova is very diligent and has been extremely helpful on any competition matters.’

‘The firm has unbelievably wide and detailed knowledge and practical experience in the antitrust and competition matters in the state and internationally. Their legal assistance is enhanced by the team’s expertise and grasp of the economic and regulatory fields. DPC’s extraordinary in-team coordination and professionalism are not only strengths but also the main tools they have in providing efficient and successful legal assistance.’

‘Zoya Todorova is the most experienced and knowledgeable legal professional I have worked with. Being extremely accurate and prompt in her communication she has always been able to clearly hear and effectively respond to all our business needs, often ones we hadn’t even realised.’

Key clients

Google

Telenor Bulgaria

Sofia Airport

Johnson & Johnson

Pfizer Luxemburg, Bulgaria Branch

VML Consult

Ameta Group

Degrets

Work highlights

  • Advising Google on compliance with competition rules and mostly with local specifics and practices in this legal area of all new launches of campaigns, competitions, games, and other commercial practices.
  • Successfully represented Sofia Airport  before the Bulgarian Commission for Protection of Competition regarding alleged abuse of dominance via predatory pricing.
  • Providing day-to-day competition law support to Pfizer on its activity in Bulgaria.

Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov

Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov assists some of the world's best-known companies, such as Apple, BMW, DaimlerChrysler and British American Tobacco, with their Bulgarian competition and antitrust matters. The practice encompasses cartel investigations, abuse of dominant position, merger control, restraints on trade, unfair trade practices and state aid. It is led by one of the most experienced competition practitioners in the jurisdiction, Nikolai Gouginski. TMT and corporate partner Violetta Kunze co-leads; respected senior associate Anton Petrov moved to Kinstellar  as Of Counsel.

Practice head(s):

Nikolai Gouginski; Violetta Kunze

Other key lawyers:

Dessislava Iordanova

Testimonials

‘They have in-depth local knowledge in Bulgaria. They are also very commercial and resolutive.’

‘Extremely commercial, always willing to help, very approachable and extremely knowledgable of local law.’

Key clients

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

AbbVie

Apple Distribution International

APPLiA BULGARIA ASSOCIATION (former CECED Bulgaria)

ArcelorMittal

Aspen Pharmacare Holdings

Astellas Pharma

Beiersdorf

Bella Bulgaria

Blantyre Capital

BMW Group

British American Tobacco Trading (BAT)

Bunge Romania

C.H. Robinson

Cadillac Europe

DaimlerChrysler (former Daimler-Benz)

Froneri Bulgaria

Gazprom Export

Honeywell

Immofinanz

Ital Food Industry

JBT Corporation

Lukoil Europe Holding

Mayoral Moda Infantil and Mayoral Bulgaria

Merck Bulgaria

Mid Europa Partners

National Hockey League

Work highlights

  • Representing OMV Bulgaria in an antitrust investigation launched by the CPC in April 2020 against eleven wholesalers and retailers in the fuel sector for alleged abuse of dominant position and/or prohibited collusion among the participants on the fuel markets.
  • Represented Apple in an investigation initiated by the CPC regarding alleged abuse of superior bargaining position by Apple.
  • Representing international camera manufacturer Nikon in an investigation launched by the CPC  an alleged abuse of dominant position and prohibited practices in vertical agreements with regard to the structuring of its selective distribution system in Bulgaria.

Georgiev, Todorov & Co

Elite litigation firm Georgiev, Todorov & Co handles disputes related to exclusionary distribution practices, among others, on behalf of some top-drawer clients; it recently acted for Vivacom in a dispute with Apple concerning the sale of iPhones. Non-contentious work includes marketing campaigns, acquisitions and internal rules and procedures relating to local and EU competition regulations. Head of the practice Alexander Pachamanov is praised for his 'exceptional' knowledge and experience. Tsvetelina Dimitrova made partner in 2020 and plays a key role.

Practice head(s):

Alexander Pachamanov

Other key lawyers:

Tsvetelina Dimitrova

Testimonials

‘The team provides prompt and high-quality services where the motivation of the lawyers and their level of expertise are constantly expressed. We assess the level of service as excellent and we emphasise that the answers to the legal questions were provided by Georgiev, Todorov & Co. Law office in due time. Responses were accurate and always provided in close cooperation with in-house lawyers of the company.’

‘Alexander Pachamanov’s knowledge and experience are exceptional in the field of EU and competition law, local and EU regulations in the TMT sector as well as in litigation and commercial legislation.’

‘Georgiev, Todorov & Co made a great impression with their superb communication and organisation skills, as well as their in-depth knowledge of competition and antitrust law and their attention to detail. The law firm offers excellent regulatory knowledge and experience in different industries. The commitment, loyalty and accountability of its lawyers are unparalleled.’

‘We mainly worked with two lawyers in the team, who really impressed us. Mariya Derelieva and Ida Golemanova. Mariya’s strongest qualities include excellent negotiation skills, in-depth knowledge of antitrust regulations and commercial awareness. Ida’s ability to work under pressure, outstanding research skills and positive attitude helped in reaching the best possible result. They make a great team which combines expertise and experience which are two essential skills to solve even the most complex issue.’

Key clients

AWANTYS Group

Balkam Group

Bulgarian-American Credit Bank

Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC)

COMSED

European Parliament

Goldair Handling Bulgaria

METRO Cash & Carry Bulgaria

Metroreklama & MOUTION ARTS

NURTS Digital

Roche Bulgaria

Thales Austria

Vivacom

WON

Work highlights

  • Represented AWANTYS Group in the preparation of an agreement with a local company for cessation of competitive activity and establishing a strategic partnership, resulting in strengthening the client’s position on the market.
  • Advised COMSED, the largest retail chain for toys and children’s accessories in Bulgaria, on ownership restructuring and obtaining an explicit authorisation for the concentration by the Commission for Protection of Competition.
  • Successfully represented Vivacom in an abuse of dominant position dispute against Apple regarding the sale of iPhones; settlement was reached between the parties.

Kambourov & Partners

Kambourov & Partners 'provides a great blend of both advisory and litigation experience in the field of competition law' while the much-praised Stefan Tzakov is a 'great partner to have on board to manage complex competition-law mandates'. The firm boasts a large market share of antitrust cases and notably acted for Whizz Air in Bulgaria's first state-aid private enforcement case. It also has a following among retail and media companies. 'Smart, discerning and proactive' senior associate Plamen Yotov heads the practice following promotion in 2020.

Practice head(s):

Plamen Yotov

Other key lawyers:

Stefan Tzakov; Elena Apostolova

Testimonials

‘The company is a full-service law firm which has lots of experience and ready, off-the-shelf solutions for most situations. Having said this, I have had multiple situations where the firm embarked on the path to find an innovative solution and did so with the zest and enthusiasm of a small boutique firm. The main partner of the firm, Yavor Kambourov, provided something much more than just legal advice: he is a business adviser who knows many people one should know when operating in Bulgaria. Overall, a very practical approach directly transposable into business decisions and assisting executive minds.’

‘Yavor Kambourov is a lawyer and more: a business adviser, supported by several teams of lawyers for various fields of practice. Plamen Yotov is a young and energetic lawyer not afraid of trailblazing. Working with him is a dialog where he is prepared to listen and try new things in the practice of Bulgarian law. Far from being an “absent partner”, he has been deeply and intricately involved in all projects we have been running with the firm, while carefully selecting the legal team members fit for purpose. Ivo Alexandrov is sober in assessing of risks and opportunities. Always there for you, weekends or holidays. A team member.’

‘The practice provides a great blend of both advisory and litigation experience in the field of competition law. They understand our business very well and quickly grasp complex commercial considerations. The team communicates efficiently with both in-house legal counsel and management, offering profound yet easily comprehensible advice. They have a wealth of litigation know-how, mastering the necessary strategical and tactical moves in complicated procedural settings. The practice is very diligent in terms of observing deadlines and thoroughly covering each relevant aspect of the issues at hand. ’

‘Stefan Tzakov is an established authority in the Bulgarian competition-law market. He has a wealth of experience across all types of competition law matters and excels with a tremendous work ethic. Stefan is a great partner to have on board to manage complex competition-law mandates. Plamen Yotov is another key lawyer we work with. He is a tireless researcher, always doing the maximum to provide all-encompassing and up-to-date solutions to our issues. Plamen has consistently demonstrated both great attention to detail and ability to perceive the bigger picture in terms of legal and commercial considerations.’

‘Our company is a long-term client of the firm and its EU & competition practice. We are very satisfied with the service and have much admiration for the work the team has been doing. As a unique characteristic I will point out the experience and knowledge which are outstanding and cover all competition matters. We have used the practice equally for consultancy and litigation and they excel in both. Other strong sides are the commercial sense, technical capacity, resources and network. Last but not least, the team is very mobilised and efficient, great at communicating and with a strong client focus.’

‘Stefan Tzakov deserves special mention as he is an outstanding advisor and litigator, with deep understanding and dominance of local and EU competition law. Stefan is a rare breed of high intellect, analytical capacity, technical proficiency and ability to provide comprehensive and succinct advice. Stand-out associates are Plamen Yotov – smart, discerning, proactive and reliable, and Elena Apostolova – knowledgeable, thorough and hard-working.’

‘Very professional approach and large legal knowledge.’

Key clients

Lidl Bulgaria

Nova TV/Advance Media Group

Wizz Air

Highgate Capital Management

Kaufland Bulgaria

Consultancy Engineering Group

Robert Bosch (Bosch)

Prestige-96

Molson Coors/Kamenitza

bTV Media Group/Central European Media Enterprises

Maxima Bulgaria

Mlin-97

Specialised Hospital for Active Treatment in Obstetrics and Gynaecology Selena

Work highlights

  • Advising Lidl Bulgaria on various competition matters.
  • Providing Nova TV/Advance Media Group with competition advice regarding the day-to-day activity of Nova TV.
  • Representing Wizz Air in the first-ever state aid private enforcement case before the Bulgarian courts.

Andrey Delchev and Partners - Eurolex Bulgaria

Severina Liubenova and Boryana Chotekova   at Andrey Delchev and Partners - Eurolex Bulgaria are both experienced competition professionals; Chotekova is the former head of antitrust at the Bulgarian Commission for the Protection of Competition (CPC). They advise on a broad range of alleged market manipulation and abuse matters, as well as day-to-day competition compliance, while a stand-out strength lies in competition aspects of public tender and procurement. Allianz, CEZ and Gazprom are clients. Former partner Evgenia Mihailova retired at the end of 2019.      

Practice head(s):

Severina Liubenova

Other key lawyers:

Boryana Chotekova

Key clients

Allianz Group

Biogest International

CEZ Group Bulgaria

Communicorp/Fresh Media Group

Gazprom

Lukoil

Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works

National Trust EcoFund

Orbelus Organic Winery

Work highlights

  • Advised CEZ Group in Bulgaria in litigation related to alleged abuse of dominant position.
  • Advised Fresh Media Group on competition and regulatory issues related to the broadcasting of radio programmes in Bulgaria.
  • Advised Treger Limited on alleged abuse of dominant position by the local WSS operator in Sofia.

Dinova Rusev & Partners

Dinova Rusev & Partners advises on antitrust investigations and proceedings, as well as handling merger control and compliance reviews for a client base of mid-sized to large companies. The firm is representing a regional motor fuel producer and distributor under investigation by the Bulgarian competition regulator for alleged violations of cartel and anti-monopoly laws. Milen Rusev, formerly of the competition regulator, the CPC, leads the team, which includes Ivelina Cherneva, who focuses on the competition of aspects of M&A transactions.

Practice head(s):

Milen Rusev

Other key lawyers:

Ivelina Cherneva; Yordan Minko

Key clients

3M Bulgaria

AP Retail I

Sofia South Ring Mall

Sephora Bulgaria

Imerys Minerals Bulgaria

Daskalantonakis group of companies

Marinopoulos group

Eko Bulgaria

Work highlights

  • Representing a regional (SE Europe) producer and distributor of light motor fuels in two investigations for alleged violations of cartel and anti-monopoly laws by the Bulgarian competition regulator.
  • Advising a regional hotel operator on a contemplated change of control, preparing and filing of merger clearance application and representing the client before the Bulgarian merger regulator.
  • Representing a regional (SE Europe) group of energy and infrastructure construction companies in appeal proceedings regarding the outcome of public procurement procedures in the railway sector.

Hristov & Partners

Demonstrating 'great expertise and responsiveness', Hristov & Partners has a focused practice under name partner Pavel Hristov, who advises on merger filings, cartel and abuse of dominance investigations, state aid and public procurement. This corporate and competition law boutique has significant sector focus, namely in the automotive/mobility, retail, consumer products, food and beverages, and technology and software industries, and regularly teams up with international law firms requiring local advice. Work includes successful merger clearance in a single phase following a series of deals by Elite Car Group.

Practice head(s):

Pavel Hristov

Other key lawyers:

Dragomir Stefanov

Testimonials

‘I have been working with Hristov & Partners for a very long time and for me they are one of the few law firms in Bulgaria with knowledge and experience in EU and competition law. We work together on all my international business initiatives.’

‘All individuals working for Hristov & Partners, as well as their professional education and experience, are very reliable and responsive. Also, all of them are attentive to detail, creative and show initiative.’

‘Great expertise and responsiveness.’

Key clients

Elite Car

I&G Brokers

DanubeTruck Bulgaria

MTD Products Inc.

PureTech

FFGroup Bulgaria

Bella Bulgaria

Pappas Holding

Webit Foundation

ALD Automotive

Work highlights

  • Advised Elite Car’s shareholders on a series of interrelated transactions with LKQ Corporation (including the creation of a joint venture company) and merger clearance before the Bulgarian competition commission.
  • Successfully defended an insurance broker in unfair competition proceedings initiated by a rival broker before the Competition Protection Commission.
  • Advised the official representative of Iveco in Bulgaria on the re-organisation of its selective distribution network.

Jordanov, Ignatov, Ivanov Law Firm

Jordanov, Ignatov, Ivanov Law Firm represents government departments and state-owned companies, placing it at the forefront of key matters in the competition sphere, particularly in the energy sector. The firm is advising the Ministry of Energy regarding investigations by the European Commission on competition and state aid issues related to the liberalisation of the energy and gas supply market in Bulgaria. Private sector clients incude Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company. Head of the practice Dimitar Ivanov is 'very creative and extremely professional'. Svetlana Valeva is a key associate.

Practice head(s):

Dimitar Ivanov

Other key lawyers:

Svetlana Valeva

Testimonials

‘JII manage in a perfect way to protect us from any compliance risks without burdening the sales process. We understand that this balance is very difficult and believe this is one of the biggest advantages to work with JII, together with their excellent expertise and prompt reaction.’

‘Dimitar Ivanov and Svetlana Valeva are the lawyers whom we can mention specifically. They are always provide us with solutions which are legally grounded, but also taking into consideration the specifics of our business and the market.’

‘Our law firm and JII are representing opposing parties in a very complex case before Bulgarian Competition Body . JII’s team has impressed us with their efficiency, extreme diligence, solid theoretical background and integrity. They possess superb regulatory knowledge and deep insight into the technical aspects of various industries, which sets them apart from other law firms. To the best of my knowledge JII is one of the few law firms in Bulgaria with extensive experience in state aid and competition matters on an EU level.’

‘I have known the leading partner Dimitar Ivanov for many years. He is very creative and extremely professional in his approach to legal cases. I found his business acumen, responsiveness and forward thinking to be most impressive. Another team member I want to recommend is senior associate Svetlana Valeva. She consistently exhibits great skill and litigation prowess which has earned her the recognition of her colleagues. Overall, Dimitar and his team are of the highest calibre.’

‘For many years Jordanov, Ignatov & Ivanov has been advising our group of companies on all aspects of our business. The legal team has deep industry knowledge and assists us in complex legal matters, including but not limited to commercial contracts, competition issues, data and consumer protection and all aspects of our online business. Apart from industry experience and professionalism, the team undertakes all tasks assigned with devotion and pursuit of the best result. They offer excellent value for money.’

‘We work most closely with Rumen Ignatov and Nikolay Ignatov from Jordanov, Ignatov & Ivanov and with Dimitar Ivanov on competition issues. Their main advantages are the in-depth knowledge of the industry basics and specifics, their immediate reaction on assignments as well as their capability to offer client tailored solutions.’

‘We’ve worked with Jordanov, Ignatov & Ivanov for more than ten years and consider them part of our team. They are aware of our business in great detail and are able to propose sound solutions for every business or legal problem we encounter. We highly value the law firm’s approach as the lawyers have always come up with the most optimal solution for our business model.’

‘We closely work with the partner Dimitar Ivanov and senior associate Svetlana Valeva. They both are very devoted and reliable legal professionals. Their response time and legal knowledge are excellent which is very important for our dynamic business.’

Key clients

National Electricity Company

Globulinks

Ministry of Energy

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company

Bulgarian Energy Holding

Xella Bulgaria

Leader 96

Polaris 8

New Market

Mundus Services

Pleven Retail Centre

Varna Logistics

Dante International

Tavistock Group

Zagora-2000

UVI United Vision

Aqua Lens

Lenses BG

Touchmed

Effect 2002

Genik

ZMM Asenovgrad

Work highlights

  • Advised Bulgarian Energy Holding on compliance with EU state aid rules of the planned increase of the capital of Thermal Power Plant Maritza II (TPP Maritza II), in excess of €300m.
  • Advised the Ministry of Energy on several investigations launched by the European Commission on a wide range of competition and state aid related issues in connection with liberalisation of the energy and gas supply market.
  • Acted for Coca-Cola HBS on numerous campaigns and initiatives in order to ensure compliance with competition rules and fair commercial practices.

Penkov, Markov & Partners

Penkov, Markov & Partners has a track record of top-end transactions, disputes and compliance for a high-calibre client base. Notably, it acted for energy giant CEZ in the headline sale of its Bulgarian assets to Eurohold, which finally received competition approval from the CPC in October 2020 following two in-depth enquires by the regulator. Vladimir Penkov and Smilena Hrusanova both provided competition advice to CEZ. Senior associate Hrusanova replaced Yura Mincheva as joint head of the practice after the latter moved to Ernst & Young.

Practice head(s):

Vladimir Penkov; Smilena Hrusanova

Testimonials

‘The PMP team is very strong in communication, both with the client and the government institutions. Cooperation is another distinctive feature to be noted – they are always available. Coordination is also an extremely important aspect, especially when it comes to large and important cases, wherein more than two parties are involved. Their team leads and coordinates the entire processes from the beginning till the end. The strength of their team comes from supporting each other, communicating well, and doing their share, teamwork from a high class. They are a great collaborative team – their lawyers have differing skill and expertise sets which make them able to see, and to propose, an approach and solution that takes into account all the different aspects of the situation.’

‘Vladimir Penkov is an extensively experienced attorney and a great strategist. Ivan Markov is an extremely experienced specialist who is aware of the nature of the business and is always able to make an adequate resolution. Smilena Hrusanova demonstrates an exceptional level of professionalism and dedication to the client.’

Key clients

ČEZ (Czech Republic)/CEZ Bulgarian Investment (The Netherlands)

EMCO

ENICOM-M

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company Bulgaria

Correct Consulting and SM Control

Klett Bulgaria (Bulgarian subsidiary of Klett Lernen und Information)

Pierre Fabre Dermo-Cosmetique Bulgaria

Heineken Group and Bulgarian subsidiary Zagorka

Mania Shops

Mexon

Work highlights

  • Exclusive local counsel to ČEZ Group in the sale of its Bulgarian assets to Eurohold, including all the competition aspects, obtaining merger approval after two regulator investigations.
  • Advising EMCO on an initiated in-depth analysis (Phase II) under the merger notification for change of control of the military factory Dunarit.
  • Advising Mania Shops on a compliance review and analysis of its commercial and marketing practices under competition and consumer protection regulations and legislation.

Schoenherr (in cooperation with Stoyanov & Tsekova)

Ilko Stoyanov at Schoenherr (in cooperation with Stoyanov & Tsekova) handles top-flight merger control matters, often with cross border implications via the firm's regional network. Recent highlights include successfully obtaining competition clearance on behalf of United Group following its landmark €1.2bn acquisition of Vivacom. The firm also handles a broad scope of antitrust claims, investigations and competition compliance. Co-head of the team Galina Petkova provides valuable support in key mandates. Robert Bosch and Smurfit Kappa Group are two new clients.

Practice head(s):

Ilko Stoyanov; Galina Petkova

Testimonials

‘The team acts as a business partner and strategist. They provide advice founded on deep knowledge of the business.’

‘Galina Petkova stands out: she is always proactive and always offering ideas and suggestions. Together with Ilko Stoyanov, they do a lot more than the assignment requires.’

Key clients

Robert Bosch

Dimitar Madjarov- 2

BSH Domakinskii uredi Bulgaria

Enery Development

United Group

UniCredit Group

OMV Petrom

Intersnack Bulgaria

NEPI Rockcastle

Medela

Smurfit Kappa Group

OMV Bulgaria

Work highlights

  • Advised United Group on the merger control filing regime and obligations in Bulgaria and the EU in light of its €1.2bn acquisition of Vivacom (Bulgarian Telecommunications Company).
  • Advised Robert Bosch in respect of an antitrust matter dealing with unfair competition in the form of imitation of domain name and trade marks and unfair solicitation of clients.
  • Advising OMV Bulgaria on an ongoing basis on matters of antitrust law, unfair competition and consumer protection law.

Wolf Theiss

Wolf Theiss stands out for its deep experience in merger control and general corporate support, including advice on sophisticated, often multinational, transactions. Regulatory and commercial partner Anna Rizova heads up the team which includes experienced counsel Hristina Dzhevlekova, who advises on both EU and local competition matters, particularly within highly-regulated sectors. The pair provided competition advice to ALSO Holding on its acquisition of ICT wholesaler Solytron Bulgaria. Clients also include a global pharmaceutical and a well-known US private equity company.

Practice head(s):

Anna Rizova

Other key lawyers:

Hristina Dzhevlekova

Key clients

ALSO Holding

Cesi SpA

Peek & Cloppenburg

Work highlights

  • Advising ALSO Holding, a European information and communication technology (ICT) distributor, on the acquisition of ICT wholesaler Solytron Bulgaria, including all competition aspects.
  • Providing ongoing advice to Peek & Cloppenburg, an international chain of retail clothing stores, on competition compliance of its sale and marketing practices.
  • Undertaking a competition and compliance review on behalf of a global phramaceutical during post-transaction steps and a transitionary period.

Deloitte Legal Law Firm

Deloitte Legal Law Firm has competition capability under the guidance of partner Renata Petkova, whose practice includes advice on compliance and regulation. The firm's Europe-wide office network is well-placed to advise on multinational merger clearance and the firm was chosen by the European Commission to model Bulgaria’s National Energy and Climate Plan based on EU law.

Practice head(s):

Reneta Petkova

Key clients

EU Commission

Work highlights

  • Retained by the European Commission to model Bulgaria’s National Energy and Climate Plan until 2030, including the development of dedicated modelling software to be used by the Bulgarian Government.

Ernst & Young Law Partnership

Ernst & Young has significantly augmented its practice, which is led by two former heads of competition from heavyweight Penkov, Markov & Partners: Svetlin Adrianov  (EY managing partner) and recent hire Yura Mincheva. They are assisted by regulatory specialist Irina Yaneva. Clients include Novartis Bulgaria, the European Commission and Adidas.

Practice head(s):

Svetlin Adrianov; Yura Mincheva; Irina Yaneva

Testimonials

EY Law Partnership Bulgaria are a very well-built and trustworthy team of diverse and proven experts. They are very knowledgeable in many and different legal fields. The team is working very efficiently and individuals are supplementing each other when there is need. Overall the legal services that they provide are of top quality.’

‘The team works very well even with short deadlines and they are always trying to provide multiple solutions to their clients. The individuals from the team are very easy to work with. Their legal advice is always provided very professionally and with value to the client. Their business knowledge should be equally mentioned as their high-quality legal expertise.’

Svetlin Adrianov has in-depth knowledge in competition/antitrust legal matters. In general, a highly-proven expert in overall legal advisory. His opinions and consultations are always accurate, comprehensive, clear and of top quality, while business-driven at the same time.’

‘Yura Mincheva is very experienced in competition/antitrust legal matters, tax legislation and regulatory compliance.’

‘Irina Yaneva is very experienced in several legal fields. Proven in-depth knowledge in anti-money laundering matters and personal data advisory.’

Key clients

Zlatna Panega (part of Titan Group)

Mexon

Sport Time

Novartis Bulgaria

European Commission

MagnaPharm Bulgaria

ET Individual Practice for Specialized Medical Assistance – Evgeny Hristozkov

ABB Bulgaria

Adidas

Work highlights

  • Advised Zlatna Panega on a full compliance risk assessment and general competition advice prior to contemplated contractual relations.
  • Advised Mexon on the competition law aspects of a new marketing campaign.
  • Acted for Sport Time, exclusive distributor of Nike in the Balkans and authorised distributor in Bulgaria, on the competition aspects of its distribution agreements.

Kinstellar

Kinstellar is able to handle the competition aspects of its tier-one transactions, such as for client Meridiam and others' winning bid for the high-profile Sophia Airport concession, valued at €4.3bn. The practice was boosted by the hire of counsel Anton Petrov, formerly of Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov.

Practice head(s):

Dessislava Fessenko

Other key lawyers:

Anton Petrov

Key clients

Meridiam

Work highlights

  • Advising a consortium (comprised of Meridiam and STRABAG and in partnership with Flughafen München) on the Bulgarian law aspects of its winning bid for the 35-year, €4.3bn concession of Sofia Airport, including the competition apects.

Popov, Arnaudov & Partners

A client base of predominantly small to medium-sized companies instruct Popov, Arnaudov & Partners for a broad mix of corporate support and contentious competition matters, including abuse of dominant position claims, merger control and compliance audits. Lead partners Sibina Eftenova, Hristo Koparanov and Emiliyan Arnaudov all have valuable capability in this field.

Practice head(s):

Sibina Eftenova; Hristo Koparanov; Emiliyan Arnaudov

Key clients

United Telecommunication Company

Eldrive Charging

Mirchev Ideas

HS Hydro & Spa

Stroynorm

Megadyne – HU Kft

M & M Agency

Pokoy

Aiko Multi Concept

Yumeiho – Stefan Bozhilov (sole trader)

Work highlights

  • Advising United Telecommunication Company on cartel avoidance strategy related to plans for a merger of cable operators, as well unfair competition advice relating to other, larger telecoms operators.
  • Advised Eldrive Charging, manufacturer of chargers for electric cars, on competition compliance.
  • Advising online platform developer Mirchev Ideas on a potential claim for abuse of dominant position and unfair actions relating to a competitor company.

Tsvetkova Bebov & Partners

Tsvetkova Bebov & Partners provides day-to-day competition advice to leading global companies, including reviews of their promotional campaigns and distributing agreements, among other matters. The firm also advises on the competition aspects of corporate transactions. Venelin Dimitrov steers the team, which includes capable associates Eleonora Mateina and Iva Georgieva. Clients include Japan Tobacco International and Mars.

Practice head(s):

Venelin Dimitrov

Other key lawyers:

Eleonora Mateina; Iva Georgieva

Key clients

AstraZeneca

Japan Tobacco International

Mars, Inc.

Takeda

Royal Canin

Work highlights

  • Advising AstraZeneca on an ongoing basis, handling all legal matters relating to its business of in Bulgaria, including competition issues.
  • Acting for Mars in respect of all lines of its business in Bulgaria.
  • Advising Takeda on an ongoing basis in relation to all its business matters.