Competition in Hungary

Andrékó Kinstellar

Andrékó Kinstellar leverages its deep bench of practitioners to cover the entire ambit of competition law matters. The practice excels in guiding clients through unfair competition and abuse of dominance investigations, cartel cases and competition litigation. In addition, multijurisdictional merger control mandates are another key area of work. The ‘outstandingPéter Vörös has experience of appearing in cartel cases before the Hungarian and European regulatory authorities and at all levels of courts. He also acts for clients in state aid matters, alongside associate Orsolya Staniszewski, and in competition law compliance and audits.

Practice head(s):

Péter Vörös

Other key lawyers:

Orsolya Staniszewski; Dávid Zlati; Eszter Takácsi-Nagy

Testimonials

‘The team is noted for its responsiveness and good collaboration.’

‘Péter Vörös, who is a true professional- thorough, patient, explores all possible aspects, provides possible solutions, and really outstanding.’

Key clients

Raiffeisen Bank

Teva Pharmaceuticals

Media Markt

MVM Group

Kelly Services

Stada

Work highlights

  • Advising and representing the Hungarian subsidiary of Kelly Services in an antitrust investigation conducted by the Hungarian Competition Authority.
  • Advising and representing Raiffeisen Bank Zrt., the Hungarian subsidiary of Raiffeisen Bank, in the administrative litigation against a decision adopted in a repeated cartel procedure concerning the amount of the fine to be imposed on the client and the other parties for unlawful coordination regarding HUF- based mortgages.

CMS

CMS fields one of the largest specialist competition teams in Hungary, which is jointly led by Dóra Petrányi and Szabolcs Szendrő (who was promoted to partner in May 2021). Other key practitioners at the firm are experienced associates Gábor Kutai and Dóra Altziebler. Szendrő is ‘an outstanding lawyer and has a very good reputation in Hungarian competition market‘; he leads major competition cases and advises on domestic and cross-border mergers, cartel and abuse of dominance investigations, state aid investigations and consumer protection procedures. Petrányi likewise has 'an excellent understanding of the legal system' and 'extensive experience in all competition related legal issues'.

Practice head(s):

Szabolcs Szendrő; Dóra Petrányi

Other key lawyers:

Gábor Kutai; Dóra Altziebler

Testimonials

‘CMS Hungary has good knowledge and professional experience in competition matters. They understand both the theoretical basis and the business aspects of corporate issues, they are able to provide complex advices.’

‘Dóra Petrányi – she has great overall knowledge of competition matters with a particular focus on business aspects; she is extremely flexible and client-friendly; she organises the work effectively and always look for solutions for the clients’.

‘Szabolcs Szendrő-  has very good knowledge and immense professional experience in competition matters; he is able to give practical, well-elaborated advices; he understands and can clearly explain the competition aspects.’

‘Szabolcs Szendrő  – Parther and Leader of Competition Policy is an outstanding lawyer and has a very good reputation in Hungarian competition policy circles. He also worked for 5 years at the Hungarian Competition Authority and has an economics background, which makes him quite unique.’

‘The team has hands-on experience in dealing with the entire range of competition law issues, in which we can trust, let it be an abuse of dominance investigation or a court appeal in merger clearance procedure just to mention two from the recent past. Their advice is precise and reliable, while they also work out new ideas to become the practice on the market afterwards based on their special skills to sense what the regulators and judges want to see.’

‘Szabolcs Szendr has an outstanding experience to mitigate challenges throughout competition law issues so that you can focus on your business. He pursues a very down-to-earth and practical approach, and always finds the way out. His strength lies in his calm and balanced personality, which is impressive in front of the court.’

‘Dóra Petrányi has an excellent understanding of the legal system from a global perspective, and she has extensive experience in all competition related legal issues. She is very attentive to each problem and offers wide range of solutions to it.’

‘The competition practice at CMS is hugely professional. They help with our business needs and cover all sorts of competition and antitrust matters. We trust their legal advice, they are consistent and the quality of service is great.’

Key clients

Medtronic

Magyar RTL Television

Airbnb

Ryanair

Magyar Telekom

Johnson & Johnson

MOL

Allianz Group

OTP Bank

British American Tobacco

Work highlights

  • Represented the Hungarian subsidiary of the U.S.-based multinational Medtronic Group, a global leader in medical devices and medical technology, before the HCA in a cartel investigation into alleged bid-rigging in public procurement tenders in the healthcare sector. The procedure was initiated by the HCA conducting dawn raids. Following an internal audit, Medtronic submitted its leniency application which has been partially accepted by the HCA. The HCA’s decision is under court review.
  • Advising Magyar RTL Televízió (Bertelsmann Group subsidiary) on merger clearance following the acquisition of Central Digital Media (a large online media company). Represented the client in a challenge to the HCA’s decision to block the merger. The Supreme Court of Hungary, the Kúria, found that the HCA issued an infringing decision and ordered a repeated merger clearance procedure. The team is currently seeking clearance for the transaction in the repeated merger control procedure.
  • The HCA launched competition control proceeding against Airbnb in 2016, alleging that Airbnb provided misleading information to consumers in connection with its rates and costs. Advised Airbnb throughout the procedure and successfully assisted Airbnb in offering commitments to the HCA. The HCA accepted Airbnb’s commitments and terminated the procedure without establishing that Airbnb had committed any legal infringements.

Dentons

Leveraging its international footprint, Dentons is frequently the go-to counsel for high-value merger clearances; in one highlight, it acted for Mediq Kft on the second phase merger investigation by the GVH into its merger with competitor Replant 4 Care. Elsewhere, the team acts for clients in cartel investigations, abuse of dominance cases and compliance audits, it also advises on state aid matters. Counsels Tihamér Tóth and Tünde Gönczöl co-head the group, which includes István Réczicza, who leads on contentious competition matters. Senior associate Áron Károlyi-Szabó advises on EU competition, state aid and competition law matters that overlap with data protection.

Practice head(s):

Tihamér Tóth; Tünde Gönczöl

Other key lawyers:

István Réczicza; Áron Károlyi-Szabó

Testimonials

‘Dentons advises on competition law and data protection issues. They are flexible, respond quickly to enquiries and delivery times are great.’

‘Tünde Gönczöl is an exceptionally knowledgeable and experienced professional. She has in- depth knowledge of competition law, local markets and case law and she is very efficient in handling the regulating authorities.’

‘We are in weekly contact with Tünde Gönczöl (competition law) and Áron Károlyi Szabó (data protection). They are quick to understand the task, can identify well with the client’s point of view and are solution-oriented.’

Key clients

Twinmed Kft.

Porsche Hungaria

Vodafone

Invitel

BASF

Nestlé

Globe Trade Centre SA

Essity

Budapest Airport

Wing Zrt.

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented Twinmed Kft., a Hungarian distributor of innovative medical devices, in a competition supervision procedure concerning the distribution of deep brain stimulation devices in Hungary.
  • Representing Vodafone in litigation against the GVH concerning the GVH’s decision by which it imposed a significant fine on Vodafone for infringing the provisions of the Act on the Prohibition of Unfair Commercial Practices against Consumers (UCP Act). This litigation is currently pending at the supreme court of Hungary, the Curia. The firm is also representing Vodafone in another GVH procedure and providing merger related and compliance competition law advice to the client on a continuous basis.
  • Represented Invitel, a major player in the Hungarian telecoms and info-communications market, as a plaintiff before the court in several procedures aimed at challenging the legality of the so-called telecom tax, a sector specific duty imposed on telecommunications providers.

DLA Piper Posztl, Nemescsói, Györfi-Tóth and Partners Law Firm in cooperation with DLA Piper UK LLP

DLA Piper‘s competition law practice is a core part of the work undertaken by the litigation and regulatory group, which is led by András Nemescsói. It provides full service support to clients on their most complex and strategically-significant issues. Areas of expertise include merger control, behavioural investigations, state aid matters and competition compliance advice. Nemescsói works with senior associate Péter Virág, a Hungarian and EU competition law specialist who has expertise in cartel cases and antitrust proceedings, merger clearance, unfair commercial practices and state aid matters. Clients hailing from the TMT, energy and consumer goods sectors are particularly well-represented. In early 2022, the practice recruited  Gábor Fejes and Zoltán Marosi from Oppenheim Ugyvedi Iroda, to lead its growing competition practice.

Practice head(s):

Gábor Fejes; Zoltán Marosi

Other key lawyers:

András Nemescsói; Péter Virág

Testimonials

‘Good team, fair billing. What exceeded our expectations was the availability to work during the weekend or after working hours due to the urgency of the matter.’

‘Peter Virag – very calm and available all the time. Incredible ability to find precedents of the competition authority.’

‘The team is commercially focussed, well understands the commercial context of our operation and is able to build in the commercial aspects into its advice.’

‘Professionalism. Good atmosphere. Kind people.’

‘Giving proper advice on time. Commercial approach.’

Key clients

Budapest Bank

MKB Bank

Takarekbank

BorsodChem Zrt.

Dante International SA

Extreme Digital-eMAG Kft.

The Hut Group Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Dante International SA/ Extreme Digital-eMAG Kft. in the investigation initiated by the Hungarian Competition Authority in connection with its Black Friday promotional campaign conducted in November 2018. The investigation was based on the allegation that the Company infringed the Hungarian Unfair Commercial Practices Act.
  • Representing BorsodChem, one of the leading producers of MDI, TDI, PVC resin and chlor-alkali chemicals in Europe before the Hungarian Competition Authority in a merger clearance procedure in the matter of the acquisition of Alteo Nyrt.’s 100 % quota in BC-Therm Kft.
  • Providing state aid advice to Hiventures Kockázati Tőkealap-kezelő Zrt. (Hiventures Venture Capital Fund Management Ltd.) member of the MFB Group for setting up the capital funds in order to help undertakings hit by the COVID-19.

Hegymegi-Barakonyi and Partner Baker & McKenzie Attorneys-at-Law

Hegymegi-Barakonyi and Partner Baker & McKenzie Attorneys-at-Law‘s sizeable competition team garners praise for its market-leading expertise’ and ‘outstanding professional knowledge’.  It is jointly led by Zoltán Hegymegi-Barakonyi and Márton Horányi, and benefits from support from counsel András Horváth and senior associate Péter Mezei. Collectively, the group has extensive experience of representing clients in major abuse of dominance investigations before the Hungarian Competition Authority, as well as several new high-profile Hungarian and EU cartel investigations, and cases pending before the European Court of Justice. The practice is also known for its CEE geographic coverage and attracts instructions involving the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania. Hegymegi-Barakonyi is a well-respected figure in cartel, dominant position and merger control cases. Horányi regularly advises on distribution issues, state aid matters, unfair competition and consumer protection cases.

Practice head(s):

Zoltán Hegymegi-Barakonyi; Márton Horányi

Other key lawyers:

András Horváth; Péter Mezei

Testimonials

‘Competition law practice with market leading expertise in Hungary.’

‘Zoltan Barakonyi knows everything about competition law risk in Hungary and can convey this understanding to clients well.’

‘This team has outstanding professional knowledge and experience in the field of competition law. Their client management is really good, which means that they are always available and very supportive.’

‘Their collaboration is excellent: client focused, very professional. The team can involve other departments, eg. data protection, labour law experts, when needed, who also provide a very high quality advise.’

‘The individuals possess an excellent knowledge about the recent legal developments in Hungary and abroad.’

‘Very skilful team with great understanding of retail business. Highly recommended.’

‘Marton Horanyi-great lawyer with detailed understanding of retail business needs. Tivadar Otvos-very flexible and reliable partner, we highly appreciate his multilingual expertise.’

‘Hegymegi-Barakonyi and Partner Baker & McKenzie Attorneys-at-Law has the knowledge, experience and manpower to tackle competition law matters of a company having significant market power.’

Key clients

Booking.com

K&H Bank

Alcufer

FGSZ

Adecco

Tesco

Grafton / GI International

Work highlights

  • Advised and represented Booking.com in its court challenge against the at the time largest ever fine imposed in Hungary for unfair commercial practices.
  • Successfully represented K&H Bank before the Supreme Court of Hungary and the European Court of Justice in its challenge against the MIF decision of the Hungarian Competition Authority.
  • Advised and represented Tesco in an investigation by the Hungarian Competition Authority against its online shopping service. The case has been successfully closed by commitments.

Lakatos, Köves and Partners

Clients note that Lakatos, Köves and Partners‘ team has ‘a professional and practical approach with many years worth of experience’. The practice has taken steps to diversify and expand its portfolio of international clients by adding multilingual specialists (working across several departments) with Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Spanish language abilities, to complement its existing English, French, Italian and German-speaking capabilities. The full-service practice handles high-end mandates across the whole range of competition law issues, with a notable specialisation in the financial services, technology and telecoms, life science and construction sectors. Eszter Ritter and Iván Sólyom co-head the group, whose expertise includes merger control, unfair competition practices and competition litigation. Ádám Máttyus is another key figure for competition law in relation to M&A. Senior associate Adrienn Mándoki is recommended for merger filings.

Practice head(s):

Eszter Ritter; Iván Sólyom

Other key lawyers:

Adam Mattyus; Adrienn Mándoki

Testimonials

‘Lakatos, Köves & Partners has a professional and practical approach with long years of experience. They work collaboratively and offer a good service to the clients.’

‘Dr. Iván Sólyom, Partner: Perfect at providing clear advice, flexible and practical-minded.’

Key clients

Facebook Ireland

VODAFONE

Smithfield Group Ltd.

Mastercard Europe SA

Mattoni Group

Spectrum Brands

Indotek

COLAS S.A.

GE Hungary

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented Facebook Ireland before the courts of Hungary on appeal against the Hungarian Competition Authority (HCA) in an unfair commercial practices matter, resulting that the HCA’s infringement decision was fully annulled.
  • Advising COLAS S.A.’s Hungarian subsidiaries in private enforcement civil litigations launched by the Hungarian State and the Municipality of Budapest respectively relating to the cartel activities of these subsidiaries with respect various roadwork constructions in Hungary. The Supreme Court  rejected the high claim of the Hungarian State of approx. €10m in relation to the project in which the client was involved.
  • Representing the Smithfield Group in merger control proceedings before the HCA in their acquisition of MECOM Group, the largest processed meat producer in Slovakia and the second largest processed meat producer in Hungary.

Allen & Overy

Allen & Overy‘s Budapest is nationally recognised for its consistent activity in high-profile cartel investigations, often within the banking and telecoms sectors, and representation in abuse of dominance investigations and complaints. In a recent highlight, lead partner Attila Kőmíves represented ING Bank Hungary before the Supreme Court in relation to the Hungarian Competition Authority’s multilateral interchange fees case, where the Supreme Court annulled the Authority’s decision and instructed it to repeat the proceedings. Tibor Szántó left to establish his own practice, Szántó Tibor Law Firm.

Practice head(s):

Attila Kőmíves

Key clients

Scania CV AB

ING Bank N.V. Hungary Branch

Hungaropharma Zrt.

Work highlights

  • Represented Scania in multiple follow-on damages claims in Hungary related to the EU Commission’s cartel decision related to medium and heavy duty trucks.
  • Advised Hungaropharma on challenging the decision of the Hungarian Competition Authority concerning a cartel inquiry.

Bassola Law Firm

Led by Balint Bassola, whose ‘personal capabilities are astonishing’, Bassola Law Firm remains in demand for its strong competition offering. It has a strong pedigree for handling cartel proceedings, merger clearances and regulatory compliance matters. On the contentious side, the firm represents clients in proceedings before the Hungarian Competition Authority, as well as other levels of Hungarian and international courts.

Practice head(s):

Bálint Bassola

Testimonials

‘Balint Bassola is a very knowledgeable, diligent lawyer providing helpful advice.’

‘Balint Bassola is the key person; he is a true professional with outstanding knowledge.’

‘Bálint’s personal capabilities are astonishing.’

‘A professional team with a good leader: Dr Balint Bassola. Great flexibility on the billing part and a high level of professionalism describe the firm.’

‘Dr Balint Bassola is very enthusiastic in his profession, he is capable to find the last missing part for the case and write clear, professional, unflappable and strong negotiator in court.’

Key clients

Révész Trans LLC

Lerton Trans LLC

Active Plus LLC

Euro-Silo LLC

Ferrocar LLC

Galambos Trans LLC

ALZA Hungary

ALZA International

Zeneszöveg.hu Kft.

Imperial Tobacco

Association of Medical Devices Manufacturers / Merger

AAA Auto International

AAA Auto Hungary

Power Plate Hungary

Work highlights

  • Representation in follow-on cartel damages litigations on the basis of the European Commission’s decision that imposed €2,9bn fine onto major truck cartel producers. Bassola is heading the legal team which was the first to launch cartel damages actions before a Hungarian judicial court on the basis of a cartel decision of the European Commission (European truck cartel)].
  • Acted for Zeneszöveg.hu Kft. in competition proceedings against Google before the Hungarian Competition Authority, the European Commission, the Constitutional Court of Hungary and the European Court of Human Rights (Strasbourg).
  • Representing Alza Hungary and Alza International in several complex competition proceedings before the Hungarian Competition Authority and the judicial courts.

CERHA HEMPEL Dezso & Partners

In late 2020, CERHA HEMPEL Dezső & Partners made a significant investment in its competition practice by hiring senior attorney (and unfair trade practices specialist) Boglárka Priskin from the Hungarian Competition Authority. Running parallel to its strong capability in contentious matters before the Hungarian Competition Authority, the firm is also handling more non-contentious instructions and expanding its capabilities in merger filing and clearances, state aid and consumer protection. Tamàs Polauf  and Márton Kocsis co-head the practice, which is praised for its ‘outstanding knowledge of local law, great local relationships and client management skills’.

Practice head(s):

Tamás Polauf; Márton Kocsis

Other key lawyers:

Boglárka Priskin

Testimonials

‘Excellent knowledge. Reliable. Professional.’

‘Outstanding knowledge of local law, with great local relationships and client management skills.’

‘Márton Kocsis and Tamás Polauf – both outstanding lawyers from a competition law and FDI perspective.’

‘Availability and diversity of professional knowledge are Cerha Hempel’s greatest advantages.’

‘Tamás Polauf, Márton Kocsis and Boglárka Priskin all have impressive knowledge of their field.’

‘The competition branch of Cerha Hempel is exceptional. It contains an adequate number of experts coming from several fields. This diversity greatly helps in solving difficult problems, this is Cerha Hempel’s main highlight.’

‘It is hard to choose, but maybe Tamás Polauf, Márton Kocsis and Boglárka Priskin are the three colleagues who impress me the most. They have a very practical knowledge of the actual practice of the local competition authority.’

‘Both Márton Kocsis and Boglárka Priskin are good experts and it is nice to work with them.’

Key clients

Vagyonvédelem 2000 Kft.

PHOENIX Group Hungary

MKB Bank Nyrt.

METRANS Hungary

Sonepar Magyarország Kft.

Bauhaus Szakáruházak Bt.

CISCO Systems Inc.

Alza.cz a.s. and Alza.hu Kft. (Alza Group)

SPAR Hungary

Work highlights

  • Advising Phoenix Group on various competition law issues during its daily operation and representing PHOENIX in an over-all sectoral competition supervision proceeding before the Hungarian Competition Authority.
  • Introducing and maintaining a complete compliance system for METRANS Hungary.
  • Advising MKB Bank on several competition law related matters.

Oppenheim Ugyvedi Iroda

Oppenheim Ugyvedi Iroda is known for its experience representing clients in judicial reviews and follow-on damages claims. Other core areas of activity include abuses of dominance, merger control and state aid matters. Clients hail from the retail, telecoms, pharmaceutical and financial services sectors.

Key clients

OTP Bank

szallas.hu

Telenor

Borsodi Sörgyár

Wizz Air

be2

Siemens

Hell Energy

4iG

Pannonwork

Work highlights

  • Representing Telenor, Hungary’s second largest mobile telecommunications company in a very high profile consumer protection case before the Hungarian Competition Authority and courts, as a result of which, the court annulled the fine imposed.
  • Advising Pannonwork, the major Hungarian HR services company in one of the largest antitrust investigations in recent years into the HR services market by the Hungarian Competition Authority.
  • Advising OTP Bank’s investment banking arm in the merger control aspects of an acquisition of a major agricultural conglomerate: the Hungarian Competition Authority cleared the transaction with information exchange related commitments.

Schoenherr Hetényi Ügyvédi Iroda

Schoenherr Hetényi Ügyvédi Iroda is highlighted for its ‘extremely rich experience in all areas of competition law, ranging from merger control to competition damages cases’. It is further praised for its ability to ‘deliver outstanding results for a very competitive price’.  The firm is distinguished for its CEE reach, with it being able to draw on its network of offices in the region. It also has a notably strong follow-on damages practice, one of the few in the Hungarian market. The main figures at the firm are Anna Turi and András Nagy, who are increasingly active in competition-related screenings that interface with foreign direct investments.

Practice head(s):

Anna Turi; András Nagy

Testimonials

‘Schönherr Hungary has extremely rich experience in all areas of competition law, ranging from merger control to competition damages cases. The whole team is a compact, reliable and capable of delivering outstanding results for a very competitive price. It belongs to a law firm covering virtually the whole CEE region, and with the support of their colleagues, its members are able to effectively represent our interests on the most diverse and challenging cross-border matters.’

‘Anna Turi is a highly skilled legal professional with an amazing strategic outlook, whose competence will never let you down. She has the knowledge and persistence to smoothly finalize complex transactions and prevail in difficult litigations. Apart from that, she is a patient negotiator able to work in both English and German.

‘I worked closely with Andras Nagy. I highly value that we could openly discuss the issue and the potential implications, and got clear instructions on what kind of supporting documentation we need. The team delivered what was agreed on the meetings both timing as well as quality wise. Throughout the case I felt that they focus on solving the case for our benefit.’

‘The firm has an excellent and up-to-date knowledge about the industry and its challenges. The people with whom we worked were highly enthusiastic in the topic/matter and helped us to build high awareness and knowledge of competition law.’

‘Ms. Anna Turi is a solid lawyer, with the ability to lead and design the best strategy.’

‘The team has a good and reliable technical knowledge of the area of law they work in and has wide experience in court cases in our jurisdiction.’

‘The individuals have considerable experience in conducting court cases in the field of competition law and are aware of the governing principles of case law.’

Key clients

Daimler AG

Robert Bosch Kft.

Mondi AG

Rewe Group – Penny Kft.

Fressnapf Hungária Kft.

Husqvarna Group

Manpower Kft.

Pipelife Hungária Kft.

Work highlights

  • Advised Husqvarna in a large-scale antitrust proceeding before the Hungarian Competition Authority. As a result of a novel cooperation strategy (a combination of leniency and settlement). The firm achieved a significant reduction of the fine (75% reduction).
  • Representing a high-profile automotive industry player in numerous antitrust damages litigation proceedings as defendant.
  • Represented Manpower Hungary in a competition proceeding in Hungary against the Hungarian Association of Personnel Consultants and all its members, including Manpower Hungary, due to suspected infringement of competition law.

Szecskay Attorneys at Law

Szecskay Attorneys at Law‘s ‘individuals have a high level of knowledge, fast response times and work as a strong collective team’ to deliver ‘excellent service’. Highly active across a wide range of sectors, the practice excels in cartel and abuse of dominance investigations, as well as appeals against decisions made by the HCA and follow-on damages proceedings. Merger control mandates are a growing area of activity, handled by Bence Molnár. Other key lawyers include Gusztáv Bacher, whose practice straddles IP and competition law, and litigators János Vajda and Miklós Boronkay. Anikó Keller heads up the practice.

Practice head(s):

Anikó Keller

Other key lawyers:

János Vajda; Gusztáv Bacher; Bence Molnár; Miklós Boronkay

Testimonials

‘All the team members are very well educated, trained and have specialised experience and knowledge’.

‘The individuals have high level of knowledge, fast response times and work as a strong collective team. You feel their dedication to the firm and to their clients.’

‘This small law firm delivers excellent services. The level of their advice is up to international standards.’

‘Newly appointed Miklos Boronkay is extremely sharp, has in international orientation and is very pragmatic.’

 

Key clients

DIGI Hungary

DAF Trucks NV

Master Good Kft.

DIGI Communications N.V.

Greiner Group

Emporia Style Kft.

Oney Bank

Magyar Éremkibocsátó LLC

Kifli.hu

PPG Industries Inc

Work highlights

  • Defending DAF Trucks in 26 court proceedings throughout Hungary against claims for follow-on damages on the back of the European Commission’s decision in case AT.39824 -Trucks and representing DAF at the EU Court of Justice in the landmark case C-451/18, Tibor Trans.
  • Advising and representing DIGI before the Hungarian Competition Authority before the HCA and courts in connection with cases relating to unfair commercial practices.
  • Representing the Hungarian leading poultry breeder and meat producer, Master Good before the Competition Authority in successfully obtaining a merger control approval for Master Good’s acquisition of turkey meat processor SáGa Foods from the UK-based Bernard Matthews Group. The case also included successfully defending Master Good in an unexpected post-clearance review of the concentration, initiated by the HCA due to misleading press articles. The HCA finally established that there was no infringement by Master Good.

Siegler Bird & Bird Ügyvédi Iroda

Siegler Bird & Bird Ügyvédi Iroda‘s team, which is led by special counsel László Zlatarov, has a strong track record in merger investigations by the Hungarian Competition Office. It also handles merger filings throughout the SEE region. Elsewhere, on the behavioural side, other areas of strength include HCO investigations into cartels, vertical restraints and abuses of dominance. The firm also advises on matters such as exclusivity arrangements and pricing practices, as well as state aid issues.

Practice head(s):

László Zlatarov

Key clients

Heineken Hungaria Breweries Plc

Sió-Eckes (Eckes-Granini Group)

RECASH Kft.

be2 s.á.r.l.

Work highlights

  • Represented Heineken Hungária Zrt. in the investigation of the Hungarian Competition Office against the three largest breweries in Hungary for alleged foreclosure practices on the Hungarian HoReCa beer market.
  • Advising Sió-Eckes on competition law aspects of its day-to-day operations in respect of its commercial contracts and market practice with resellers, and marketing.
  • Represented be2 s.á.r.l. before the Hungarian Competition Office in the investigation into alleged unfair commercial practices in connection with two Hungarian online-dating websites operated by the client (be2.hu and academicsingles.hu).

Szabó Kelemen & Partners Andersen Attorneys

Laszlo Kelemen leads the practice at Szabó Kelemen & Partners Andersen Attorneys, which is a reputable name for all areas of Hungarian and EU competition law. It has a strong following among clients such as commodity traders, logistics service providers, building societies, insurance companies and manufacturers. Balázs Dominek and Áron Somogyi also play pivotal roles in the team.

Practice head(s):

László Kelemen

Other key lawyers:

Balázs Dominek; Áron Somogyi

Key clients

Lightware

Deloitte Legal Göndöcz and Partners Law Firm

Deloitte Legal Göndöcz and Partners Law Firm has a strong track record securing clearances of complex mergers and acquisitions, and in addition, it is also highly reputed for acting as defence counsel in competition authority proceedings. Corporate partner Péter Göndöcz is the main contact.

Practice head(s):

Péter Göndöcz

Other key lawyers:

Anna Miks

Testimonials

‘They are a strong and experienced team with individuals who have worked in the top ranks of the Hungarian Competition Authority.’

‘Anna Miks – She is a very business-oriented lawyer and has a great insight into the practice of the local and European competition authorities. Peter Gondocz – Provides exceptional client support and hands-on approach.’

Key clients

Indotek Group

Veolia Group

TRESZNER Villamosipari, Szolgáltató Kft.

Work Force Személyzeti Tanácsadó és Szolgáltató Kft.

Work highlights

  • Acted for Indotek Group before the Hungarian Competition Authority during the notification of the transaction in connection with the acquisition of an 89.86% shareholding in a market leader Hungarian fund management company, Diófa Alapkezelő Zrt.
  • Represented Work Force Személyzeti Tanácsadó és Szolgáltató Kft, a recruitment company,  before the Hungarian Competition Authority in a cartel proceeding that regards alleged anticompetitive decisions – e.g. minimum price recommendation, and no-poaching decision – of the Hungarian Association of Recruitment Agencies.

Forgó, Damjanovic & Partners Law Firm

Forgó, Damjanovic & Partners Law Firm is regularly instructed to handle the merger control aspects of corporate transactions, particularly by clients in the pharmaceutical, telecoms, logistics and energy sectors. It also advises on restrictive agreements, unfair trade practice cases and cartel investigations before the Competition Authority and the Consumer Protection Authority. Zoltán Forgó and Zsófia Füzi are the lead lawyers.

Practice head(s):

Zoltán Forgó

Other key lawyers:

Zsófia Füzi

Testimonials

‘The team has a practical approach, which is important for the clients. It comes together with efficient service.’

‘Experience in the field of competition law and M&A. High level of understanding and knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry and legislation.’

Key clients

Novell Hungary

KPMG Legal Tóásó Law Firm

The team at KPMG Legal Tóásó Law Firm advises on anti-cartel procedures, merger clearance and abuse of dominance issues. The group also makes use of AI technology to handle competition law due diligence. Ákos Krénusz is the key name.

Practice head(s):

Ákos Krénusz

Testimonials

Individuals in the team are helpful, hands on and problem solving: looking for and helping to find solutions, forcing and helping all stakeholders to move forward.

Key clients

KOMETA 99 Élelmiszeripari Zrt.

MFB Invest Befektetési és Vagyonkezelő Zrt.

Trenkwalder Leasing Korlátolt Felelősségű Társasá

Trenkwalder HR Solution Korlátolt Felelősségű Társaság

Trenkwalder Recruitment Korlátolt Felelősségű Társaság

Work highlights

  • Represented Kometa 99 Élelmiszeripari Zártkörűen működő Részvénytársaság and MFB Invest Befektetési és Vagyonkezelő Zrt during a pre-notification and a merger control procedure, which saw the authority give green light to the transaction.
  • Advised Trenkwalder Leasing Korlátolt Felelősségű Társaság, Trenkwalder HR Solution Korlátolt Felelősségű Társaság and Trenkwalder HR Solution Korlátolt Felelősségű Társaság on a major investigation by the Hungarian Competition Authority into alleged price fixing and other competition law infringements in connection with the staffing market (with total fines of approx. €3m).

Partos & Noblet in co-operation with Hogan Lovells International LLP

Partos & Noblet in co-operation with Hogan Lovells International LLP's 'highly trained team' covers a broad cross-section of competition work for clients, including merger investigations, cartel cases and compliance matters. Akos Kovách has a strong client following among international companies from a wide range of industries. Senior associate András Multas is another central figure.

Practice head(s):

Ákos Kovách

Other key lawyers:

András Multas

Testimonials

‘Highly trained, caring and responsive team. It is very pleasant and easy to work with them.’

‘Vast professional knowledge, people-oriented customer relationship’

‘Forward-looking and experienced team.’

‘Ákos Kovách is an experienced competition lawyer and great professional.’

‘Ákos Kovách has thorough knowledge of legislation and case law.’

Key clients

MEDIREX

BioTech USA

Magyar Cetelem

AMC Networks

ContiTech GmbH

Illés Holding

Work highlights

  • Advising Medirex, a Hungarian medical device distributor company in an ongoing court procedure initiated based on the judicial review request submitted against the decision adopted by the Hungarian Competition Authority for alleged restrictive behaviours in public procurement procedures.
  • Advising and representing Continental Group and AFT Group in relation to the merger control proceedings initiated before the HCA for the establishment of a joint venture company. The merger control aspects of the transaction were mainly around the full-functionality criteria of the joint venture which were thoroughly discussed with the authority.
  • Advising and representing Illés Holding (a Hungarian transporting company) in relation to the merger control proceedings initiated before the HCA for the acquisition of sole control over MMV, a rail transport company.

Réti, Várszegi and Partners PwC Legal

Réti, Várszegi and Partners PwC Legal's group of ‘experienced individuals’ has 'a very good reputation in the Hungarian market’, and maintains consistent involvement in a wide range of competition mandates, from unfair commercial practices, complex merger cases and cartels. Name partner László Réti heads up the practice, which also includes Peter Zalai, Zsófia Straubinger and senior associate Márk Péter Baksa, all of whom have solid transactional, regulatory and contentious experience.

Practice head(s):

László Réti

Other key lawyers:

Péter Zalai; Zsófia Straubinger; Márk Péter Baksa

Testimonials

‘The competition team at Réti, Várszegi and Partners Law Firm consists of well-prepared and highly experienced individuals, and they have very good reputation in the Hungarian market.’

‘The team members we worked with were solution-driven, always focusing on the client’s needs and interests. We were happy with the project team.’

Key clients

OTP Bank Nyrt.

Jász-Plasztik Kft.

ROSSMANN Magyarország Kft.

Work highlights

  • Advising and representing OTP Bank Nyrt. in the judicial review phase of the renowned interchange fee cartel case before Hungarian courts and the European Court of Justice. The firm also successfully represented OTP Bank Nyrt. in a series of follow-on lawsuits against the HCA claiming a significant additional amount of interest related to the fine reimbursed by the HCA.
  • Advising Jász-Plasztik Kft., active in the waste management industry and adjacent sectors, in a competition investigation conducted by the HCA and its follow-up procedures, including the court procedure. The firm has also representing the client in a constitutional complaint procedure before the Hungarian Constitutional Court.
  • Continuing to support long-time client, ROSSMANN Magyarország Kft, on various competition law matters.

VJT & Partners

Owing to its ‘familiarity with the practice and procedures of the competition regulator’, VJT & Partners is often instructed to represent clients in merger control proceedings, cartel investigations and unfair commercial practice investigations. On the non-contentious side, the Andrea Belényi–led team is also experienced in drafting agreements restricting competition and commercial contracts with non-compete clauses in line with the Hungarian and European competition regulation and requirements.

Practice head(s):

Andrea Belényi

Testimonials

‘The team functions well as a team, which is rare amongst legal offices. They are passing tasks between them according to their knowledge, but I as a client do not suffer from that as the answer is coming in timely manner.’

‘I work closely with Andrea and Eszter, both has very good personalities and and utmost respect towards me, even though my legal knowledge is very little, I always understand their explanation.’

‘The VJT team is familiar with the practice and procedures of the competition regulator.’

‘Andrea Belenyi has experience also as an official at the competition regulator, Andrea advises us about practicalities and supports our regulatory readiness.’

‘Deep knowledge of legal environment. Good personal contacts within their team.’

‘Focusing on providing solutions, instead of highlighting barriers and challenges. Openness towards industry specifics.’

Key clients

Google

Prohumán

4Life Direct

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented Prohumán in proceeding before the Hungarian Competition Authority, which was started by a dawn raid and against the Association of Hungarian HR Consulting Agencies. The scale of the proceedings was huge, there were more than 20 defendants in the case.