EU, competition and distribution in France
Bredin Prat's team advises on EU competition mandates, French antitrust investigations, dawn raids and follow-on damage claims. Olivier Billard continues to lead the group representing Fnac Darty in landmark litigation against the French Competition Authority (FCA) regarding the allegedly incorrect implementation of Fnac's commitments in the context of its takeover of Darty, and Marie-Cécile Rameau teamed up with him to advise the same client on its merger clearance filing to the FCA for its buying alliance with Carrefour in the white and brown goods sector. Yelena Trifounovitch is representing Johnson & Johnson in an appeal to the FCA regarding its decision to fine the client and its subsidiary €25m for an abuse of dominant position in the pharmaceutical sector, while senior counsel Hugues Calvet and Pierre Honoré - who shares his time between Brussels and Paris - successfully obtained the cancellation of all dawn raid operations carried out on the Darty premises by the FCA in 2013 through an appeal. Also notable is the team's work for Uber before the European Court of Justice to determine whether the banning of the Uber mobile app is compliant with EU law. Robert Saint-Esteben and Marc Pittie retired from the legal profession.
De Pardieu Brocas Maffei fields three dedicated EU and French competition partners as well as Barbara Levy, who specialises in distribution and IP matters. Especially noted for its contentious antitrust practice, the group also recently handled high-profile merger clearance mandates, state aid issues, and pricing and product regulation matters. Philippe Guibert heads the department and recently teamed up with Emmanuel Durand to notify the FCA of the acquisition of Unilever's baking and dessert business in France by Dr Oetker. On the contentious front, Laure Givry is currently acting on a series of follow-on damage claims arising from a high-profile cartel decision, and is representing a French company in its appeal against an FCA decision. Levy acted for Valeo before the Paris Court of Appeal in a claim against an Iranian company regarding a supply disruption. Laëtitia Gavoty Tolot was recently promoted to counsel and collaborated with Guibert to advise Batipart as shareholder of Eurosic on the latter's sale of 94.8% of its share capital to Gecina and the associated antitrust elements. Other key clients include Booking.com, the Gascogne Group and EDF.
Peltier Juvigny Marpeau & Associés's antitrust and competition team 'is unique in the sense that it provides a close and personalised service to clients through its exceptional knowledge of the field'. In recent highlights, the team obtained the lowest of the fines imposed by the FCA on the three leading manufacturers of PVC and linoleum floor covering on the grounds of price fixing and other anticompetitive practices for Gerflor, and Advent International appointed the group to advise on the antitrust aspects of the merger of its subsidiary, Oberthur Technologies, with Safran's subsidiaries, Morpho USA and Safran Identity & Security. Practice heads Olivier De Juvigny and Thibault Reymond recently saw the promotion of Ning-Ly Seng to the partnership; she 'provides exceptional legal advice and creative solutions' and is also a key name to note alongside Thibault Reymond.
The competition and European law team at Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. consists of experts such as Antoine Choffel, Emmanuel Reille and Dimitri Dimitrov, and is currently advising Les Mousquetaires on the merger clearance aspects of its acquisition of do-it-yourself retailer Bricorama. In other highlights, Choffel is representing Drouot before the FCA in abuse of dominant position and cartel proceedings following a complaint filed by the Figaro company in 2012, and L'Oréal appointed the group to assist with a damage claim filed by Carrefour following the FCA's decision to fine the client on the grounds of its role in the hygiene and personal care sector. On the distribution front, Franck Audran - who was recently promoted to partner - is handling Caudalie's claim against Enova pertaining to the right of a selective brand to prohibit the resale of its products through third-party platforms. Counsel Laura Castex is also a name to note and is currently supporting Choffel in his work for Iveco. Other key clients include Petit Bateau, SNCF and Clarins.
The competition and antitrust team at Linklaters recently advised on the full spectrum of mandates, including significant appeals at the European and French levels, cartel investigations and private litigation cases following on from regulatory fine decisions. Engie appointed the group to assist it with two cases of abuse of dominant position arising from a complaint by a competitor to the FCA, and PSA instructed the practice to handle the merger clearance aspects of its acquisition of the core automobile and adjacent banking activity of Opel from General Motors. Also notable on the merger control front is Pierre Zelenko's work for Nestlé regarding its global acquisition of the out-of-home and consumer business of Starbucks. Anne Wachsmann continues to represent Tarkett in an FCA investigation into an alleged cartel in the resilient flooring sector, and Thomas Elkins collaborated with Zelenko to advise on an FCA investigation into alleged horizontal agreements between modelling agencies on behalf of Marilyn Agency, the largest agency in France.
Allen & Overy LLP
Florence Ninane's team at Allen & Overy LLP is currently defending Procter & Gamble in private follow-on actions arising from an FCA fine relating to its investigation into the home and body care sector, and continues to advise Chanel on a wide range of competition and distribution issues. Also notable is the group's work for TNT Express with regard to an FCA investigation into alleged anticompetitive practices in the messenger services sector in France, and its handling of the merger clearance aspects of Société Générale's acquisition of an equities, markets and commodities division. SFR appointed the group to represent it in an action brought by the DGCCRF on the grounds of alleged anticompetitive practices, and French insurer Humanis instructed Ninane and senior associate Camille Paulhac to advise on the merger control aspects of a joint venture with AG2R La Mondiale and CNP.
Léna Sersiron heads the antitrust and competition offering at Baker McKenzie and recently advised Servier on the antitrust aspects of its $2.4bn acquisition of Shire's global oncology business with the support of senior associate Romain Travade. The group's enviable client list includes names such as McDonald's, Casino, TDF and Univar. In other highlights, senior associate Thomas Guérin teamed up with Sersiron to advise Schmolz + Bickenbach on its acquisition of assets from Ascometal, and Daunat appointed the group following an FCA dawn raid on its premises in September 2016. Alex Dowding is also a partner within the team and assists clients across the full range of industry sectors with French and EU competition issues as well as distribution law matters.
BDGS Associés is particularly strong in the field of merger control and has recently established itself as a leading player in the reform of the country's public sector by President Macron by acting for clients such as EDF, SNCF, La Poste and Aéroports de Paris. A team including Jérôme Fabre advised Safran on its notification to the European Commission with regard to its acquisition of Zodiac Aerospace via agreed tender offer, and Total appointed the practice to oversee the merger clearance issues arising from its acquisition of an indirect controlling interest of 23% of Eren Renewable. Mathilde Damon is also a name to note and recently handled a wide range of mandates including disputes in the distribution space. The team is jointly headed by Antoine Gosset-Grainville and Maria Trabucchi; the pair are currently representing a series of banks in proceedings brought against European Central Bank before the European Court of Justice relating to a series of decisions pertaining to leverage-ratio and irrevocable payment commitments. Other key clients include Carrefour, PMU and Canal+.
Clifford Chance's antitrust practice combines national and European expertise to cover the full gamut of competition matters through the experience of Katrin Schallenberg and David Tayar. The pair jointly head the practice, supported by of counsel Michel Petite. As well as overseeing Europcar's acquisition of Goldcar, the group recently handled Axel Springer's sale of 78.4% of the Aufeminin group to TF1. Schallenberg is currently representing Arkema in a claim against Honeywell on the grounds of European competition law, seeking a worldwide licence to use one of its products; Tayar is assisting Carrefour with its strategic alliance with Tesco covering the joint purchase of own-brand products and the negotiation of services with large international suppliers. Senior associate Emily Xueref-Poviac is also a key contact and is part of the team advising Oracle on a very recent FCA investigation.
Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier recently acted for TF1 on its acquisition of Aufeminin, and for Accor on its $840m takeover of FRHI, and is currently representing clients such as Daimler and Kelkoo in private enforcement actions. Didier Théophile and Igor Simic jointly lead the group; Simic is currently advising Bonduelle on its leniency application to the European Commission with regard to the latter's investigation into the canned vegetable market, while Théophile is assisting leading digital real estate portal SeLoger.com with the antitrust aspects of its acquisition of Concept Multimedia. Also notable is the firm's work for Les Echos - a leading newspaper publisher - and Gravity - a joint venture of major media groups - relating to the FCA's enquiry into the online advertising sector. On the state aid front, the French state appointed the group to oversee the restructuring of Areva as authorised by the European Commission.
Dechert LLP represents both incumbents and new market entrants in the full range of competition and antitrust matters at both the French and EU levels under the leadership of Mélanie Thill-Tayara. Renowned for its strength in the healthcare and life sciences sector, the team recently bolstered its offering in the digital and new technologies space with the hire of Laurence Bary from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. In recent highlights, the team handled the competition aspects of Continental's minority equity investment into French startup EasyMile, and senior associate Marion Provost was part of the team which assisted Astorg and its portfolio company HRA Pharma with its acquisition of Compeed assets from Johnson & Johnson. On the contentious side, Thill-Tayara continues to act for Deutsche Bahn as one of the defendants in the chemical commodities cartel case, and a consumer packaging company instructed the practice to handle its response to cartel fine proceedings and dawn raids.
Focused on the pharmaceuticals, energy, electronic communication, media and transport sectors, boutique antitrust and competition firm Fréget & Associés is led by Olivier Fréget, who co-founded the practice with Charlotte Tasso de Panafieu. On the litigation front, the team recently acted for Direct Energie in appeal proceedings in front of the FCA seeking interim measures against its competitor Engie on the grounds of abuse of dominant position, and Janssen Cilag instructed the group to oversee its appeal against the FCA's decision to fine it for anticompetitive practices with regard to the development of generic drugs. Also notable is counsel Liliana Eskenazi, whose experience covers both advisory regulatory and merger clearance work as well as antitrust litigation. Other key clients include Gifi, Canal+, TDF and General Electric.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP's recent caseload included high-profile merger control mandates on both the domestic and international front; state aid issues such as the restructuring of Areva; and significant antitrust litigation such as follow-on damage claims and FCA prosecutions arising from dawn raids and investigations. Jérôme Philippe is the main name to note and sits at the head of the team. He is currently representing a leading automobile company in criminal, civil and regulatory proceedings, and continues to advise a high-profile technology entity on the FCA's investigation into the online advertising sector. Aude Guyon was recently promoted to counsel and is also a key contact alongside senior associate François Gordon.
Jointly led by Charles-Henri Calla and Jean-Christophe Grall, the practice at Grall & Associés covers the full gamut of antitrust and competition work, including complex distribution and intellectual property law issues. The team is currently representing Lactalis in its appeal against the high-profile decision of the FCA to fine the participants of the 'yogurt cartel' €192m, as well as in a damages claim filed by a competitor on the grounds of abuse of dominant position and predatory pricing. Merger control highlights included Calla's advice to the Groupe Mutuelle Nationale des Hospitaliers (GMNH) on its acquisition of a spin-off of UK Rentokil, and his advice to Perrigault on the creation of a joint venture with Mediterranean Shipping Company. Heavyweight clients also instructed the firm to handle complex distribution law matters and high-stakes litigation proceedings.
Eric Barbier de la Serre and counsel Eric Morgan de Rivery are the main names to note for competition and antitrust work at Jones Day. The team is currently advising Safran on all competition aspects - except EU filing - of its merger with Zodiac, and Deutsche Post DHL instructed the group to oversee its defence against an FCA action concerning an alleged exchange of information between - among others - the four largest post offices in the EU. In other highlights, Barbier de la Serre is currently collaborating with Frédéric Gros to assist SFIL with the state aid aspects of a series of complaints to the Versailles Court of Appeal claiming the client and others benefited from illegal aid from the French state; he also acted for a leading mid-market private equity fund on its acquisition of Vodafone Malta and its merger with Melita. The National Rugby League, JCB and RATP are also key clients.
The practice at Latham & Watkins consists of four partners and was recently bolstered by the arrival of Jacques-Philippe Gunther and Adrien Giraud from Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. Frederic Pradelles successfully represented American Airlines before the FCA in a case regarding the unauthorised redistribution of its data by an online travel agent and the suspension of data flow between the two parties. In other highlights, the team assisted Accor with the competition aspects of its leasing of the Pullman Paris Montparnasse hotel in Paris, and Galeries Lafayette appointed Pradelles to secure merger clearance for its acquisition of a 51% stake in La Redoute. Also notable is Gunther's work for Philip Morris regarding the dawn raids on its premises ordered by the FCA in January 2018 on the grounds of suspected horizontal and vertical anticompetitive practices. Mathilde Saltiel joined the team alongside Gunther and Giraud and was promoted to counsel upon arrival; she is also a name to note.
Vogel & Vogel is a specialised full-service antitrust firm led by Louis Vogel and Joseph Vogel which represents an enviable client roster spanning a vast array of industry sectors. In the telecoms sector, the team recently obtained a significant award for Digicel in a private enforcement claim against Orange after the latter was fined for abuse of dominant position, and TF1 appointed the group to handle the repercussions of a complaint lodged by Canal+ regarding the presence of pre-emptive rights clauses in film co-production contracts concluded by several broadcasters. The practice's recent caseload also includes European state aid matters and mandates revolving around questions of selective distribution networks and third-party platforms. Other key contacts include Laurence Boudailliez, who is currently acting for Geodis and SNCF in their appeal against the FCA's decision to fine them on the grounds of cartel practices; Juliette Blouet, who has significant expertise in the telecoms sector; and Cécile Assémat.
Yann Utzschneider's team at White & Case LLP recently expanded its offering through the promotion to counsel of Estelle Jégou and Jean-Julien Lemonnier and the arrival of several new associates. In recent highlights, the team successfully defended Hertz in proceedings filed by the FCA against leading car rental companies and a number of airports following dawn raids and a cartel investigation, and Crédit Agricole appointed the group to represent it in investigations led by the FCA and other competition authorities into the alleged manipulation of the Libor and Euribor indexes. Utzschneider is also currently advising Intermarché on three disputes filed by the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance in relation to suspected anticompetitive behaviour towards suppliers. Also notable are Mickaël Rivollier and Orion Berg (both counsel).
The 'outstanding and highly technical team' at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP 'is very attentive to clients' needs and perfectly understands their strategic goals'. Following the departure of Jacques-Philippe Gunther to Latham & Watkins, the practice is headed by the 'truly meticulous, sharp and technically on-point' Faustine Viala, who 'embodies all of the practice's strengths'. In recent highlights, the team acted for PAI Partners on the antitrust aspects of its acquisition of World Freight Company International alongside Baring Private Equity Asia, and La Martinière Groupe appointed the team to advise on its merger with Média Participations. On the contentious front, Viala is representing the Naval Group before the administrative courts in an appeal by one of its competitors against the regulator's decision to clear the client's joint venture with Piriou; she is also advising on a follow-on claim on behalf of Casino against Reckitt Benckiser following the FCA's sanctioning of the latter for anticompetitive practices in the personal care sector.
The competition and antitrust offering at Altana covers antitrust litigation, merger clearance and distribution matters under the joint leadership of Marie Hindré, Frédéric Manin and Jean-Philippe Thibault. A team including counsel Lucie Giret - who recently arrived from De Gaulle Fleurance & Associés - recently acted for AG2R La Mondiale and Matmut on the competition aspects of their merger, which created one of the largest insurance groups in France. Contentious highlights include Manin's advice to a major automobile company on a standalone private enforcement claim brought by a former service provider seeking compensation for losses incurred due to alleged anticompetitive behaviour by the client. In other highlights, Hindré continues to advise UGI on its acquisition of Totalgaz and the challenge to the FCA's merger clearance decision by a competitor. Benoît Van Bésien and Sylvie Grando (both counsel) are also key names to note.
Aramis handles a high volume of merger control mandates and FCA investigations into anticompetitive practices. Mireille Dany is an expert in the field of distribution law and recently acted for a leading retailer on the setting up of a new internal buying organisation at the European and local level; she also advised on the competition and consumer law aspects of the development of a travel agency in Belgium and Italy. On the competition law side, Aurélien Condomines is currently representing XPO in the 'messenger cartel' case before the FCA, and acts for clients such as Hippocampe and Sakare. Associates Pierre Galmiche and Hortense Gautier are also key names to note.
Ashurst LLP is currently assisting Total with the merger control aspects of its acquisition of some of Esso's oil retail and distribution assets, and continues to represent Colgate-Palmolive in proceedings before the FCA relating to its probe into cartel behaviour in the personal care and hygiene sector. Practice co-heads Christophe Lemaire and Michaël Cousin are currently advising clients such as SNCF and Engie on complaints and requests for interim measures filed in front of the regulator by competitors in their respective industry sectors, while counsel Simon Naudin is part of the team handling an appeal against the Fiat decision by the European Commission on behalf of a European nation. Counsel Julie Bousin is also a key name to note. The team's enviable client roster also includes names such as FOX, Petit Forestier and IBM.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
The Paris office of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is manned by counsel Frédéric de Bure and associate Séverine Schrameck. The practice is jointly led by Antoine Winckler and François-Charles Laprévote, who share their time between the Paris and Brussels offices. Gecina recently appointed the group to advise on its acquisition of Eurosic, and Winckler teamed up with de Bure to successfully represent Google in an FCA investigation into alleged abuse of dominant position following a complaint by 1PlusV. Also notable is counsel Delphine Michot, who handled a number of significant contentious matters.
The multi-disciplinary team at Fieldfisher covers the full spectrum of competition and antitrust work and collaborates closely with the firm's corporate, intellectual property and IT departments - among others - to service a vast array of industry sectors. Jointly headed by Anne-Laure-Hélène des Ylouses and Franck Veisse, the team recently acted for Tricotage des Vosges in the Commercial Court of Beauvais in a litigation case against its competitor Kindy on the grounds of suspicions of industrial espionage which led to dawn raids and further proceedings. Other highlights included assisting French computer programming company Muse Media with its claim against Google pertaining to the termination of the client's AdWords accounts by Google in 2013, and advising on the competition aspects of Monoprix's acquisition of Sarenza. Associate Clément Hubert plays a key supporting role within the practice and is also a name to note.
The antitrust and competition team at Franklin is headed by Julie Catala Marty, who has been representing a leading food company in an audit of its commercial and distribution arrangements with regard to current regulations. In further highlights, the team is acting for a major international cosmetics company in its appeal against a fine imposed by the regulator on the grounds of cartel behaviour, and continues to provide strategic advice to a heavyweight telecoms actor following a landmark gun-jumping case.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP advises clients in the media, financial services and infrastructure sectors - among others - on the full spectrum of competition and distribution law issues. The partner name to note is Sergio Sorinas, who recently represented Groupe Up alongside senior associate Marie Louvet in FCA proceedings initiated following an antitrust complaint filed by new entrant Octoplus in the meal voucher market. In other highlights, the group is advising Google on the FCA's inquiry into the online advertising space, and Sorinas successfully obtained state aid from the European Commission on behalf of a European government for the development of transport infrastructure. Other key clients include Crédit Mutuel, HSBC and Danone.
Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP
With a client roster that includes names such as Artsana, EDF and Newen, Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP's antitrust and competition offering recently advised on high-profile merger control and antitrust litigation cases. François Brunet and senior associates Céline Verney and Victor Levy acted for Altice in European Commission proceedings regarding allegations of gun-jumping in the context of its acquisition of PT Portugal in 2015, while Eric Paroche assisted a leading French energy player with its strategic alliance with an overseas entity. In other highlights, Saint Louis Sucre - one of the three main sugar production sector players - appointed Brunet's team to handle its successful complaint to the FCA against its competitors Tereos and Cristal Union on the grounds of vertical restraints and abuse of dominant position. The group is also representing clients including a leading car manufacturer in DGCCRF and FCA investigations.
Competition and consumer law lies at the core of Jeantet's practice. Noted especially for its strong litigation capabilities, the team handles state aid, abuse of dominant position, vertical restrictions and consumer protection litigation as well as the advisory issues of merger control. Practice head Loraine Donnedieu de Vabres-Tranié is currently advising Gerflor on the FCA investigation into the PVC flooring cartel which resulted in a total fine of €302m imposed on the main three manufacturers; she is also acting on a number of private enforcement claims seeking compensation for losses arising from anticompetitive practices. Counsel Florent Vever is also a key contact within the team.
Magenta combines its expertise in the field of competition and antitrust with an in-depth knowledge of regulatory issues to advise an impressive list of clients in the heavily regulated industry sectors such as energy, transport and telecoms. Counsel Gaël Hichri supports joint practice heads Sylvain Justier and Vincent Jaunet, who recently acted for CCFA - the professional association covering all French car manufacturers - in a review of its practices to ensure regulatory compliance. Associates Lolita Berthol-Balladur and Morgane Silhol are part of the team currently representing Candy Hoover with regard to the FCA's investigation into alleged vertical and horizontal malpractices in the white and brown goods sector. Also notable is Justier's work for Deutsche Bahn pertaining to two proceedings: a public enforcement claim filed by the FCA relating to alleged abuse of dominant position in the freight railway market, and a private enforcement action brought against SNCF after it was found guilty by the FCA of having impeded the growth of the French market. Other key clients include Outremer Telecom, SFR and Adista.
The practice at Norton Rose Fulbright advises clients on sensitive regulatory investigations into cartel and other anticompetitive behaviour, dawn raids, and merger control issues with a particular focus on African jurisdictions. The team recently welcomed new public law and regulatory expert Marion Roquette-Pfister, who is particularly strong in the life sciences and healthcare sector, from Clifford Chance, and promoted Arnaud Sanz to of counsel. Practice head Marta Giner Asins has been supported by senior associate Yann Anselin in her work in the banking sector.
The young competition team at Orrick Rambaud Martel continues to handle private enforcement follow-on litigation, merger clearance filings, compliance issues and regulatory investigations under the leadership of Patrick Hubert. SFR recently appointed a group including senior associate Malik Idri to advise on its damages claim against Orange following the FCA's decison to fine the latter for anticompetitive practices in the fixed and mobile telecoms market, and Hubert assisted AXA Real Estate Investment Management with the merger control filing regarding its acquisition of Agility Trains West. In other highlights, of counsel Marie-Laure Combet was part of the team which handled Naturex's sale of 40.5% of its shares to Givaudan, and Royal Mail instructed the team to lead its appeal against an FCA decision to fine the client and others for price-fixing cartel activities in 2015. The team continued to expand with the arrival of several new associates.
Alexandre Glatz is the main name to note within Osborne Clarke's Paris-based competition offering. The team recently acted on a number of complex and sensitive merger control filings on behalf of clients spanning a wide array of industry sectors. On the contentious front, associate Charles Meteaut was part of the team handling an appeal to the FCA regarding a decision to fine the actors of a high-profile cartel, and the team is supporting Glatz in his work for a transport company with regard to a follow-on damage claim. Also notable is the group's advice on compliance programmes and the response to regulatory investigations by the FCA and DGCCRF.
The competition and antitrust team at Racine consists of three partners who were recently joined by associate Sabrina Ledda-Noël from CMS. Valérie Ledoux recently assisted Groupe Perle du Nord and the main producers of endives in their appeal against the FCA's decision to fine them on the grounds of collusion and the maintenance of minimum prices. She also acted for Brandalley in its complaint to the regulator pertaining to an alleged foreclosure strategy implemented by competitor Vente-privée through exclusivity agreements with most high-end fashion suppliers. Bastien Thomas is also a name to note; he recently oversaw the conclusion of PSA's joint venture with Japanese group Nidec for the design and manufacturing of electric automotive engines in France. The firm's recent caseload also includes a number of national and European-level regulatory investigations.
The junior ranks at Reed Smith were recently bolstered by several internal promotions to mid-level associate and the arrival of two newly qualified associates. Marc Lévy and Natasha Tardif jointly lead the group, which is currently acting for clients in relation to high-profile FCA and European Commission investigations relating to cartel practices, and advising a number of multinational companies on competition, consumer law and litigation issues.
Simmons & Simmons' strong expertise in the healthcare sector is reflected through Ombline Ancelin's competition and antitrust team, which is currently assisting a manufacturer of medical devices with its response to a dawn raid on the grounds of alleged collusion during public tenders. The group is currently representing Centrale des Opticiens at the appeal stage of three separate proceedings against a healthcare network of opticians before the FCA for anticompetitive practices, the DGCCRF for restrictive behaviour and infringements of French commercial law, and the commercial courts for associated damages, against a healthcare network of opticians. Also notable is associate Maëlle d’Harcourt, whose expertise includes advising clients on compliance issues in heavily regulated sectors pertaining to amendments to commercial policies, pricing strategies or new product launches. Associate Florent Barbu joined the practice from Vogel & Vogel.
Iñaki Saint-Esteben and Virginie Viallard jointly head the competition practice at Viguié Schmidt & Associés, which handles both litigation and advisory mandates. The team recently oversaw Aufeminin's sale of 78.4% of its equity interest to TF1, and acted for Natixis on its joint acquisition of control of wind farms alongside General Electric. In other highlights, Viallard is currently assisting FlixBus with its response to an FCA investigation arising from a complaint filed by Transdev against SNCF on the grounds of alleged abuse of dominance, while Saint-Esteben is currently representing Johnson & Johnson in appeal proceedings before the Supreme Court of France to challenge the FCA's decision to impose fines for cartel practices. Other key clients include M6, Domino's Pizza, JDE and Vinci Construction.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP's antitrust and competition offering is led by Romain Ferla, who handles the full range of mandates including state aid, cartel, merger control and distribution law issues. The firm recently acted for La Poste in the creation of its joint venture with Suez in the office waste recycling sector, and a trade association representing PVC flooring product manufacturers - the SFEC - instructed Ferla to represent it in the FCA's cartel investigation into the market. Also notable is associate Flora Pitti-Ferrandi, who was recently joined in the junior ranks by associates Anne-Laïla Abback from Bredin Prat and Line Le Geut from Magenta.
Wilhelm & Associés
The team at Wilhelm & Associés recently welcomed counsel Stéphanie Coen from August Debouzy and promoted Emilie Dumur to counsel. Practice head Pascal Wilhelm is currently representing high-profile clients in significant proceedings before the FCA, and has recently defended a number of clients in private enforcement litigation cases. On the distribution front, the team advises on regulatory issues and significant questions of selective distribution and third-party platforms. Key clients include Fnac Darty, Canal+ and Leroy Merlin.
Almain's client roster includes listed corporations as well as small-scale companies across a wide range of sectors. Practice co-head Rita Eid recently advised a client on the competition law aspects of its creation of a joint venture with a foreign company in the petrochemical industry; she also assisted an online marketplace platform with the antitrust issues arising from its partnership with a leading transport operator, particularly with regard to pricing policies and commercial arrangements. Thomas Fleinert-Jensen co-heads the practice; he is currently representing a fashion company before the New York Supreme Court in a dispute regarding its relationships with its US licensee and distributor, and is also overseeing Bugaboo's defence in a dispute with its former French distributor arising from the alleged brutal termination of business relationships.
The practitioners at August Debouzy are 'very international and highly regarded by their peers'. The 'very responsive, smart and business-oriented' team is jointly headed by Mahasti Razavi, Florence Chafiol and Alexandra Berg-Moussa, who was recently promoted to partner. The group continues to advise Costco on the launch of its activities in France, and senior associate Barbara Nouri is part of the team assisting a number of luxury brands with their distribution and commercial agreements, including contracts pertaining to selective distribution networks. Counsel Renaud Christol is also a name to note.
The competition and antitrust offering at AyacheSalama is prominent in the M&A and private equity space and recently strengthened its ranks on the public law front with the arrival of Fleur Jourdan from Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I.. The key names to note within the department are practice head Frédéric Fuchs and counsel Sébastien Dominguez; the pair recently acted for Axéréal as buyer on the merger control aspects of its acquisition of competitor Agri-Négoce. In other highlights, the group notified the European Commission on behalf of Groupe Prosol as vendor of the Grand Frais group to Ardian, and represented a variety of clients in appeals against FCA decisions with regard to complaints of anticompetitive practices lodged by competitors.
Thomas Oster and associate Florence Leroux are the main names to note in Bird & Bird's antitrust practice in Paris. The pair recently handled a number of disputes for clients such as Conserves France, which is facing the FCA in proceedings arising from an alleged cartel in the processed fruit market while also challenging the validity of the dawn raids carried out on its premises. Other work highlights pertain to regulatory compliance reviews and commercial audits. Consultant Claude Lazarus shares his time between London and Paris and is also a name to note.
The antitrust and competition practice at Borrel Avocats has a strong focus on the contentious front, where it acts for clients at both the national and European levels. Practice head Laurence Borrel-Prat is the main name to note; she handles regulatory appeal proceedings before the FCA, disputes arising from contractual breaches and private enforcement damage claims.
Cornet Vincent Ségurel's competition and antitrust team is spread across the country with offices in Rennes, Nantes, Lille and Bordeaux as well as the capital. With experience in both advisory and contentious mandates, the group regularly handles distribution matters such as the expansion of networks abroad on behalf of domestic clients and disputes arising from the brutal termination of contracts. Some key names to note are Thomas Deschryver and Amélie Poulain in Lille, Arthur Pierret in Nantes, and litigation specialist Sébastien Harel in Rennes.
Coutrelis & Associés
The antitrust team at De Gaulle Fleurance & Associés was recently reinforced by the arrival of Thierry Titone and senior counsel Matthieu Dary, who 'has the ability to think outside of the box but always with one purpose: to serve the interests of his clients'. Louis de Gaulle led the advice to Cegedim on a multi-jurisdictional follow-on claim arising from the client's condemnation by the FCA on the grounds of abuse of dominant position. In other highlights, the team handled merger control notifications on behalf of clients such as Spir Communication.
The competition and antitrust offering at Dentons is especially strong in the pharmaceutical and luxury sectors, where it primarily advises on distribution agreements and commercial relationships. The practice is headed by Emmanuelle Van Den Broucke, who recently obtained clearance for the acquisition of retail activities in the automotive sector by Groupe Maurin as part of its strategic expansion. In terms of recent distribution work, associate Alexia Delaunay - who joined the firm from Baker McKenzie - was part of the team which advised on the strategic review of a high-profile luxury brand's selective distribution policy, as well as pre-litigation issues pertaining to its network in Europe. Also notable is Delaunay's work for a foreign steel manufacturing client with regard to an investigation into funding granted to it by an EU government branch.
DLA Piper's Edouard Sarrazin heads the competition and antitrust offering in Paris; he recently advised Michelin on its acquisition of Camso, which created a leader in the off-road mobility sector, as well as its creation of a joint venture with Sumitomo in the US. Further recent merger control highlights include assisting Bridgepoint with the European Commission's approval for its investment in French company Promonial, which Sarrazin also advised on its own investment in La Financière de l'Echiquier. On the contentious front, the group is representing a company in the context of FCA raids conducted on its premises, and a high-profile technology company appointed the group to handle its response to a DGCCRF investigation into its commercial policies in France. Associates Camille François and Clara Deveau are also noted. A number of associates recently arrived to bolster the practice's junior ranks.
DS Avocats fields experts such as Michel Debroux and Romain Bourgade to advise on antitrust and competition issues on behalf of an enviable client roster including names such as SNCF, EDF and Eiffage. Particularly active in the telecoms, energy and logistics sectors, with strong expertise in public law, the team also includes Sandra Dorizon, Xavier Lacaze, Arnaud Constant and Safi Hadri.
Dan Roskis heads the antitrust and competition outfit in Eversheds Sutherland (France) LLP's Paris office and continues to advise clients such as Wolverine Worldwide on international distribution and competition law issues. Other key clients include water utility provider Groupe SAUR, which instructed the team to advise on the sale of its subsidiary, Coved, to Paprec, and a leading TV broadcaster, which appointed Roskis to handle the competition aspects of its setting up of a common platform for online advertising with other broadcasters.
The Centre Vinicole - Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte recently appointed FIDAL to advise on competition issues arising from dawn raids and its compliance programme, while the Rennes-based Nicolas Gransard is currently acting for Solvadis in a complaint to the FCA for abuse of dominant position as well as a demand for leniency. In Paris, Philippe Vanni specialises in the retail and aeronautics sectors and regularly advises on pricing policy reviews, industrial contracts, consumer law issues and compliance audits. Frederic Puel, who shares his time between Brussels and Paris, is also a key name to note within the practice alongside Lille's Laurent François-Martin and Marie du Gardin.
The lawyers at Gouache Avocats are recognised as experts in the field of distribution and franchise law. Jean-Baptiste Gouache heads the offering and recently handled both contentious and advisory mandates for an enviable client roster. Among the firm's recent caseload feature matters pertaining to the validation of sale and promotion operations in France, brand asset transfers, contractual issues, and litigation in the context of contractual disputes.
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
Groupe Roullier recently appointed Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP's Noëlle Lenoir and counsel Eric David to handle two proceedings before the FCA pertaining to damage claims brought by its clients in relation to its involvement in the 'animal feed phosphates' cartel. Also notable is Marco Plankensteiner, who is defending Crédit Agricole and LCL and recently obtained a reduction of the former's fine by €9m. The team also acts on merger control cases and regularly notifies the European Commission and the FCA with regard to significant corporate transactions across a wide range of industry sectors. Other key clients include BioMérieux, Luxottica, UNIM and Fédération Française des Pilotes Maritimes.
Lext Avocats' competition and antitrust offering is spread across Paris, Le Mans and Rennes and provides both advisory and contentious legal advice to an enviable client roster. In recent highlights, Paris-based Sylvain Beaumont and senior associate Cécile Maugère continue to provide day-to-day compliance and regulatory advice to a major international corporation and recently assisted this client with the restructuring of a number of international relationships. Gaëlle Leroy, who is based in Le Mans, handled merger control and commercial contract negotiations, while Pierre-Lucas Thirion is the name to note in Rennes. Anne Bourdu is also based in Paris and is a key name to note.
The 'fast-growing team' at LPA-CGR avocats 'has a down-to-earth and client-oriented approach'. Founded by the arrival of 'excellent partner' Emmanuel Tricot and his team, including senior associates Virginie Carvalho and Jean-Marc Tchernonog, from Veil Jourde, the firm advises on EU regulatory compliance matters. On the contentious side, Tricot filed an abuse of dominant position claim on behalf of a media client, and Carvalho supported him to represent a client in the Paris Court of Appeal to challenge an arbitral award which led to its exit from the European market.
Mayer Brown's Natalie Jalabert-Doury is currently acting for Intermarché and Les Mousquetaires in the ongoing investigation by the European Commission into joint purchasing agreements in the supermarket retail sector. Also notable is her work for electricity distributor Enedis with regard to a complaint and request for interim measures filed by a competitor on the grounds of alleged favouritism and unfair practices. Associate Jean-Maxime Blutel is part of the team advising a supplier implicated in the FCA's investigation into resale price maintenance allegations in the eyewear sector. Other key clients include Unilever, Leroy Merlin and Bridgepoint.
Paul Hastings LLP
Pierre Kirch heads Paul Hastings LLP's competition offering from the Paris and Brussels offices with the support of senior associate Joséphine Fourquet. In recent highlights, the team advised Cosco Shipping on global and European competition issues arising from its $6.3bn acquisition of its Hong Kong-based competitor, OOCL; Samsung also appointed the group to assist with the multi-jurisdictional filing of its $5bn acquisition of electronics company Harman International Industries. Kirch also assisted players in the telecoms space such as Monaco Telecom and NJJ Telecom with significant merger control mandates.
The senior ranks at UGGC Avocats' antitrust and competition practice consist of Michel Ponsard, Corinne Khayat and Malka Marcinkowski, who was recently promoted to the partnership. The team recently handled both significant contentious and advisory matters; Ponsard represented Switch in its follow-on damages claim following the regulator's decision to fine the SNCF €7m. In other highlights, clients instructed the group to advise on the competition aspects of the termination of distribution agreements.