Firms To Watch: EU and competition

Eversheds Sutherland, advokátní kancelář, s.r.o.'s competition team is able to provide support in front of Czech, Slovak and European competition authorities, with key associate Vojtěch Faltus representing Bonver Win in front of the European Court of Justice.

EU and competition in Czech Republic

HAVEL & PARTNERS s.r.o., attorneys at law

HAVEL & PARTNERS s.r.o., attorneys at law's team has ‘long and wide experience with competition topics’ and it acts for clients across a broad range of key industries. The group advises on merger control, abuse of dominance cases and day-to-day matters. The team also has a strong state aid offering, which is led by ‘stand-out partner’ Petr Kadlec and Lenka Gachová. Robert Neruda, who is the overall head of the team, is described by one client as ‘simply the best competition lawyer in the country’.

Practice head(s):

Robert Neruda

Other key lawyers:

Petr Kadlec; Lenka Gachová

Testimonials

‘This team is strongly dedicated to its clients. We appreciate their flexibility as well as high level of expertise.’

‘The stand-out partner is defintely Mr. Petr Kadlec. We appreciate his experience, knowledge and deep insight. He understands specifics of our particular business and is able to tailor solution to our needs taking into account our regulatory and business environment. We also highly appreciate his creativity and ability to think out of box.’

‘Very practical, to the point, understanding of business, proactive, so strong in the legal market that everybody respect their opinion.’

‘Robert Neruda – simply the best competition lawyer in the country with incredible understanding of broader legal and business context’

‘The team has long and wide experience of competition topics, and is one of the best in the country.’

‘Robert Neruda is a very experienced competition lawyer with past experience in the Czech Competition Office. I value his enthusiasm with which he approaches now tasks, his work with clients, where he communicates openly and in a friendly way to make sure there is a common understanding of situation and tasks. I value his personal engagement in the tasks and meetings.’

‘Great knowledge and experience in EU and competition law. Ability to advise on high profile and high risk cases. Business acumen.’

‘Excellent expertise in competition law matters.’

Key clients

T-Mobile Czech Republic

Albert Česká republika

ORLEN Unipetrol

Ministry of Industry and Trade

Komerční banka

Česká spořitelna

ČSOB

Bankovní identita

Johnson & Johnson

Nestlé

Českomoravská záruční a rozvojová banka

City of Liberec

City of Ostrava

Stock Spirits Group

Raiffeisenbank

City of Prague

Work highlights

  • Represented T-Mobile Czech Republic in proceedings before the European Commission concerning a network sharing agreement.
  • Providing almost day-to-day advice on all aspects of Albert’s activities in the Czech Republic.
  • Providing ongoing advisory services relating to the planned activities of ORLEN Unipetrol in terms of compliance with competition law.

Skils s.r.o. advokátní kancelář

The competition practice at Skils s.r.o. advokátní kancelář has a strong grasp of regulated industries in the Czech Republic, advising clients in the energy, transport, lottery and telecommunications sectors. It is particularly regarded for its advice on abuse of dominance matters and has a growing practice advising digital economy platforms on private competition lawsuits. The team also has merger control expertise. Karel Muzikář leads the team, which includes Jiri Kindl, who advises on antitrust cases in front of the competition council. Martin Kramář is also highly regarded for his litigation expertise.

Practice head(s):

Karel Muzikar

Other key lawyers:

Jiri Kindl; Martin Kramář

Testimonials

‘Excellent teamwork and support, application of the case law.’

‘Experience, extraordinary communication skills, knowledge of the business sector, excellent connections.’

 

Key clients

UBER

MONETA MONEY Bank

Fortuna Game

Plzensky Prazdroj/Pilsner Urquell

Ceske drahy

Severoceske doly

CHAPS

CETIN

Plzensky Prazdroj Slovakia

Ondrasovka

Asahi Breweries

Via FAOC

Sodexo Pass

CEZ

Ceska sporitelna

BABY DIREKT

White & Case, s.r.o., advokátní kancelář

White & Case, s.r.o., advokátní kancelář's team is highlighted for its ‘sound advice and personal style relationship’ to clients. Its broad workload covers a mix of merger control, state aid and antitrust litigation, and it frequently represents clients in proceedings before both state and European authorities. Ivo Janda, who heads up the team, has significant expertise in state aid cases and cartel proceedings in front of the European Commission. Magda Olyšarová is active in merger control and GDPR-related work.

Practice head(s):

Ivo Janda

Other key lawyers:

Magda Olyšarová

Testimonials

‘What we value greatly is our ability to quickly tap into this expert resource who has taken the time to properly understand our structures and approach to various matters.’

‘Highly pragmatic, provide sound advice and a personal style relationship. Availability when needed and willingness to go the extra mile.’

 

Key clients

PPF Group

Allianz Capital Partners

MVM Group

České Radiokomunikace a.s.

Česká bankovní asociace

Post Bellum

Lumos Foundation

Work highlights

  • Represented PPF Group in merger control proceedings relating to its acquisition of Central European Media Enterprises.
  • Advised MVM Group on merger control aspects of its acquisition of innogy Česká republika, a.s.
  • Representing České Radiokomunikace a.s in state aid proceedings related to the release of the 700 MHz broadcast frequency band.

Allen & Overy

Allen & Overy is strong across the entire competition spectrum, with its team being adept in merger control matters, behavioural investigations, follow-on damages actions and judicial reviews, state aid cases and market investigations. Marta Sendrowicz leads the broader CEE competition practice, while Ivana Halamova Dobiskova, regarded by clients as ‘a true expert we can always rely on’ leads the Prague team. Tomáš Kirner is recommended for abuse of dominance cases.

Practice head(s):

Marta Sendrowicz; Ivana Halamová Dobíšková

Other key lawyers:

Tomáš Kirner

Testimonials

‘The Prague team is very experienced, but also relatable and really nice to work with.’

‘I appreciate A&O is a law firm with international expertise, but its local lawyers also understand local clients needs and environment. They are client-oriented.’

‘Ivana Halamova – Dobiskova is a true expert we can always rely on. She keeps us posted on legal developments. She is business-oriented – keen to understand how the business works to be able to provide tailored legal advice. I do rely on her judgement.’

‘Their pro client advice and business-oriented solutions are always an asset for us.’

‘Ivana Halamová is a great professional for both supply legislation and competition.’

Key clients

Cordiant Digital Infrastructure Limited

ING Bank N.V.

W.A.G. Payment solutions, a.s.

Memsource

Work highlights

  • Advised Cordiant Digital Infrastructure Limited on the merger control and foreign direct investments regulatory aspects of its acquisition of České Radiokomunikace a.s.
  • Advised ING Bank N.V. on various aspects of closure of its retail business in the Czech Republic.
  • Advised W.A.G. Payment solutions on the competition law aspects of its acquisition of a 51% stake in KomTeS,

Baker & McKenzie s.r.o., advokátní kancelář

Baker & McKenzie s.r.o., advokátní kancelář's team is highlighted for its strong pedigree acting for clients on a myriad of high-profile and high-stakes competition matters. Its workload includes matters concerning merger control, alleged abuses of dominance (particularly in the pharmaceuticals and telecoms industries) and advice on horizontal cooperation agreements.  Milena Hoffmanová heads up the pharmaceuticals and healthcare group at the firm. She is also a co-head of the compliance and investigations practice, along with Alexandr César, who is the overall head of the competition team in Prague.

Practice head(s):

Alexandr César

Other key lawyers:

Milena Hoffmanová

Testimonials

‘Working with B&M colleagues is always very professional, sophisticated and interesting.’

‘The great advantage of B&M is that its broadly experienced team is able to answer legal questions from all different fields.’

‘Milena Hoffmanová – Milena is a great expert in pharmaceutical, competition and EU law. It is always a great pleasure to work with Milena. Milena is also very flexible, goal-oriented, and is able to provide a unique and different perspective to the issue.’

‘I very much appreciate their customer focus. They are always very friendly and open and ready to help very quickly. I very much appreciate also their complexity – they are able to cover very deeply all topics in my area of interest.’

‘Customer focus, friendly approach. They are not focused on the profit of the company but mainly on customer satisfaction. They are to help any time eg. prepare advice, analysis through the weekend.’

‘I prefer to work with Baker McKenzie due to their strong pharmaceutical practice led by Milena Hoffmanova, a partner. Her team comprises a variety of experts who specialize in various areas of law and have great insight into legal and day-to-day business issues typical for pharmaceutical companies. I value in particular their help with the assessment of various settings of distribution of medicinal products with respect to competition law and applicable regulatory framework. Also, I very much appreciate their professionalism, flexibility and ability to find creative and practical business-oriented solutions.’

‘I work mainly with Milena Hoffmanová, acting as a partner and a leader of the pharmaceutical practise at Baker McKenzie. Milena has a reputation as a legal expert in the area of pharmaceutical law and extensive expertise with various regulatory and compliance matters typical for the pharma industry. I highly value her ability to find pragmatic solutions to complex legal and regulatory issues that are both legally sound and suitable to our business needs.’

Key clients

Adient

Association of Innovative Pharmaceutical Industry

CITIC Group

General Dynamics

GI International

Grundfos

LKQ Corporation

Moulins de Kleinbettingen S.A.

REWE

Schreiber International

SIKA

Worldline S.A.

Zumtobel

Work highlights

  • Providing internal competition advisory services to the board of directors of CITIC.
  • Following up on the merger approval implementation of the takeover of Exim Tours by REWE.
  • Providing legal advisory to the Association of Innovative Pharmaceutical Industry on competition law aspects of distribution of medicinal products.

Dentons

The competition team at Dentons is known for its merger control expertise, advising clients in the energy, infrastructure and financial services sectors. It also represents companies in investigations by Czech competition authorities, as well as handling EU state aid cases. Petr Zákoucký leads the team and is a ‘seasoned expert in negotiations with Czech Competition Office.’ Associate Adam Přerovský, who leads the life sciences team, is known for his advice on major transactions and his competition litigation support.

Practice head(s):

Petr Zákoucký

Other key lawyers:

Adam Přerovský

Testimonials

‘We were satisfied with their efficient, timely advice. We value most the very informal but straightforward approach of Dentons’ competition team and their ability to accommodate their legal advice to specific needs of the client.’

‘Petr is a seasoned expert in negotiations with Czech Competition Office. His presence gives clients full confidence in the positive outcome of the competition matter. Adam is a young dynamic hands-on competition/regulatory specialist.’

‘Analytical, knowledgeable, useful advice.’

‘Petr Zákoucký – excellent professional with great knowledge of the law and market’

Key clients

Sev.en Energy

MND/KKCG

BPD Group / Draslovka Holding

Czechoslovak Group

Tatra Trucks

Mars Group

Heimstaden

Raiffeisenbank

Unibail Rodamco Westfield

Work highlights

  • Advising Draslovka Holding on merger control issues in connection with the acquisition of the Chemours Company mining solutions business.
  • Advising Seven Energy on merger control issues regarding the acquisition of lignite power plant Elektrárna Počerady from ČEZ.
  • Advising Raiffeisenbank on merger control issues on the acquisition of the Czech retail banking portfolio from ING Bank NV.

Kocián Šolc Balaštík

Kocián Šolc Balaštík's team provides top-notch competition support on transactions in concert with the corporate law practice. Contentious matters are are another cornerstone of its work, with the group representing plaintiffs and defendants, in high-stakes cases. Elsewhere, other drivers of competition work include corporate compliance and dawn raid training. Pavel Dejl and Sylvie Sobolová co-head the team. Martin Vráb offers support on administrative proceedings, while Dagmar Dubecká advises on major transactions.

Practice head(s):

Pavel Dejl; Sylvie Sobolová

Other key lawyers:

Martin Vráb; Dagmar Dubecká

Key clients

Agrofert

Mattoni 1876

Penam

United Bakeries

LEO Express

Asiana

O2 Czech Republic

REMA

Skanska

Work highlights

  • Lodging a complaint with the Czech Competition Authority and the European Commission on the grounds of abuse of dominance by Czech Railways.
  • Representing Leo Global Express a.s. in civil proceedings on damages for the breach of competition rules.
  • Representing ASIANA Transport in a dispute with a competitor for damages caused by predatory bus pricing.

ROWAN LEGAL

ROWAN LEGAL's team is particularly sought after for advice on competition matters connected with the banking, energy, ICT/ecommerce and TMT sectors. It is active in merger control, abuse of dominance and cartel investigations, follow-on damages actions and state aid matters. In addition, the group is knowledgeable about  the competition aspects of data. Michal Nulíček and Jan Měkota co-lead the group, which includes Vilém Podešva and David Oršulík.

Practice head(s):

Michal Nulíček; Jan Měkota

Other key lawyers:

Vilém Podešva; David Oršulík

Testimonials

‘We work with Rowan legal for several years. We are very satisfied. They are flexible, innovative and always explain clearly. They know our needs and goals.’

‘Jan Měkota – great lawyer and person, big competition law knowledge and experience. Always ready to help and find a solution. Proactively warning us about issues and possible solutions.’

‘Rowan Legal is one of the law firms in the Czech Republic that we trust to have the experience and competence to deal with complex competition law cases which overlap with telco industry regulation.’

‘Reliable, fast, trying to find always best client-oriented solution.’

‘Skilled team, excellent knowledge of ICT and competition cases.’

‘Rich experiences in business law, fast reactions, professionalism, top services.’

Key clients

O2 Czech Republic

Heureka Group

EGEM

UP Česká republika

AVE CZ

PROFI EMG

Czech Republic – Ministry of Industry and Trade

EGEM

Natland Group

J&T Thein SICAV a.s.

Severočeská vodárenská společnost

Work highlights

  • Represented EGEM in cartel proceedings related to a consortium bidding.
  • Acted for HEUREKA in a follow-up action for damages related to the EC’s Google Shopping decision.
  • Drafted a complaint and acted in front of the European Commission for O2 regarding wrongful state aid in 5G spectrum auction.

Kinstellar

Kinstellar‘s competition and state aid team focuses on acting for clients in the energy, finance, life sciences, automotive, IT and retail sectors. The Prague office is seen as a hub of the firm's work in the wider CEE region. Its work spans merger control, state aid, public procurement and European law advice. Tomáš Čihula leads the team, which regularly generates referral work from international law firms, in addition to winning mandates on a standalone basis. Adam Němec is another key individual.

Practice head(s):

Tomáš Čihula

Other key lawyers:

Adam Němec

Testimonials

‘Good industry understanding, excellent language capabilities across CEE, responsive.’

 

Key clients

Veolia

Eight Roads

Genesis Private Equity

GLP

STADA ARZNEIMITTEL

Johnson & Johnson / Janssen

NET4GAS

Mastercard

Porsche Central and Eastern Europe

POC Sweden

Work highlights

  • Advised Veolia on the antitrust and merger control issues of a major acquisition, including a merger notification with the Czech Competition Authority.
  • Advised Eight Roads on merger control assessments of the sale of Optegra to H2 Equity Partners.
  • Advised Genesis Private Equity Fund on its acquisition of Conectart, including a merger clearance procedure.

PRK Partners

PRK Partners has a full-service practice, which covers state aid, cartels and abuses of dominance, merger control and unfair competition matters. The team is particularly experienced with cartel cases, supporting clients during dawn raids, investigations and judicial proceedings in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The practice is jointly led by partners Radan Kubr and Peter Oravec.

Practice head(s):

Radan Kubr; Peter Oravec

Key clients

Booking.com

TV Nova s.r.o.

ŠKODA AUTO, a.s.

Volkswagen AG

Van Leeuwen Buizen Groep

Anheuser-Busch InBev

Work highlights

  • Represented Booking.com in antitrust proceedings conducted by the Czech Antimonopoly Office relating to its wide parity clauses.
  • Assisted Van Leeuwen Buizen Groep with preparation of an application for merger clearance for the integration of Benteler Distribution.
  • Provides continuing legal support to TV Nova on all competition law matters relevant to its business.

Schoenherr Czech Republic

Schoenherr Czech Republic's group is experienced in handling a full range of competition matters for clients, including domestic and cross-border merger control, follow-on damages actions and behavioural investigations. In addition, it handles compliance issues on a day-to-day basis, including advice on the reporting obligations of foreign direct investments. Clients praise the firm's strengths in cross-border mandates, noting that ‘there are few firms who would be able to cover more jurisdictions, and would have experience at EU level in Brussels as well.’ Claudia Bock Matoković leads the team. Rudolf Bicek is another key name.

Practice head(s):

Claudia Bock Matoković

Other key lawyers:

Rudolf Bicek

Testimonials

‘There are few firms who would be able to cover more jurisdictions, and would have experience at EU level in Brussels as well. The firm is highly specialised in competition matters, reliable, and able to handle complex matters.’

‘My main contact is Ms Claudia Bock Matoković. She has shown deep knowledge of the industry, is structured, extraordinarily thoughtful and sees the big picture. She is solutions-oriented, responsive and reliable. Always a pleasure to work with her.’

‘Great knowledge of the matter, always reachable, huge effort to meet strict deadlines’

‘The competition team we work with is managed Claudia Motokovic Bock, we are not in contact with other team members.’

‘Claudia Motokovic Bock is our key contact and I can only recommend solving competition law issues with her. She is responsive and pragmatic to clients and legal matters. Her responses are always on time and within approved budget.’

‘Schönherr has demonstrated outstanding flexibility – in the sense of times, extra requests and changing requests. They fitted the truly international team encompassing Czech speaking senior staff which speeded up our critical negotiations.’

Key clients

Enery Development

Flixbus

UNIQA Insurance Group

REWE Group

Mondi

Raiffeisen Bank International

Raiffeisenbank a.s.

BASF

Continental Group

Clarivate Analytics LLC

AkzoNobel

Czech Association of Tyre Producers and Importers

Beijer Ref

Ventus

Daimler AG

METRO AG / Hospitality Digital GmbH

Work highlights

  • Advising FlixBus CZ on an unfair competition action brought by its largest competitor STUDENT AGENCY k.s.
  • Advised UNIQA on the acquisition of AXA subsidiaries in the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia.
  • Advised Enery Development GmbH on the acquisition of Energy 21 a.s. from China Central and Eastern Europe Investment Co-Operation Fund.

Taylor Wessing LLP

Taylor Wessing Czech Republic's multifaceted practice covers matters concerning merger control, state aid, abusive practices and cartels, among other areas. The team also assists clients with developing compliance programmes, as well as internal investigations and competition audits. Work for automotive and life sciences sector clients is a particular strength of the practice. Markéta Deimelová leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Markéta Deimelová