Headed by Samir Gandhi, the competition practice at AZB & Partners continues to be a market leader in this area and has a strong regional footprint across Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. The team has an impressive client roster made up of multinational manufacturing corporations, blue-chip companies including Google, and aerospace companies. Bharat Budholia is recommended for merger control matters, having recently advised on Facebook’s acquisition of a 9.9% stake in Jio Platforms. Hemangini Dadwal is also a key partner, focusing on antitrust investigations and representing pharmaceutical companies. Senior associate Gaurav Bansal advises on merger filings.
Firms in the Spotlight Antitrust and competition
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Antitrust and competition in India
AZB & Partners
‘Bharat Budholia has solid experience and a solution-oriented mindset with exceptional capabilities.’
‘Samir Gandhi has been our go-to person when it comes to competition law advisory or litigation. He brings with him a lot of experience in handling and managing complex issues with ease.’
‘The team lead by Samir Gandhi is quick on the uptake and invests considerable time in understanding the client’s business with its unique nuances. This allows their advice and approach to be specifically crafted for the client. The domain expertise they bring to the table is remarkable. What stands out is that the team advises on the strategy as comprehensively as on the law, which provides long-term guidance rather than limiting it to solving only the issue at hand.’
‘Samir stands out as the partner of choice. His functional knowledge is exceptional and he possesses remarkable emotional intelligence to nuance his approach to the client – both legal and business. He invests in a long-term relationship with a client, before and after closing the mandate, which builds a unique brand of trust.’
‘The team has a very good grasp of the business and the surrounding market dynamics.’
Google LLC., Google Ireland Limited and Google India Pvt. Ltd.
Jio Platforms Limited
Tata SIA Airlines Limited
Bombardier Transportation and Bombardier Inc
Saudi Basic Industries Corporation
Board for Cricket Control in India
- Acting for Google in relation to abuse of dominance investigations into Android smartphones.
- Advised Jio Platforms Limited on securing the approval of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in relation to Facebook’s acquisition of a 9.9% stake in JPL.
- Successfully represented Tala Motors and Mercedes Benz India before the Delhi High Court in a case dealing with the constitutional validity of certain key provisions of the Competition Act, 2002.
At Khaitan & Co LLP, the antitrust group continues to have an active practice, handling prominent merger control and leniency applications for large corporates, with practice head Manas Kumar Chaudhuri recently representing Schaeffler India before the CCI. In addition, the team frequently advises domestic and foreign clients on regulatory issues and compliance. In Mumbai, Rahul Singh and Anisha Chand are key names for abuse of dominance matters and transactional mandates, with sector strength across the pharmaceuticals, telecoms, and automotive industries. The department also has a focus on dispute resolution; principal associate Swati Bala is recommended for litigation challenging merger deals. Pranjal Prateek , who was promoted to the partnership in April 2021, is another a core member of the team, as is Sagardeep Rathi.
Reliance Retail Ventures Limited, and Reliance Retail and Fashion Lifestyle Limited
Essity India Private Limited
The Brookfield Group
Hindustan Composites Limited
STX Filmworks, Inc.
Volcan Group (Twin Star Technologies Ltd)
Manipal Health Enterprises Private Limited
M/s. Bundl Technologies Private Limited
MCPI Private Limited
Maruyasu Industries Co., Ltd
Rising Sun Holdings Private Limited
Honda Motor Company Limited
Nissin Kogyo Co. Limited
Berger Paints India Limited, and Berger Nippon PaintAutomotive Coatings Private Limited
Global University Systems
Babasaheb N. Kalyani, and Babasaheb Family Trust
Odisha Hydro Power Corporation Limited
Xiaomi Technology India Private Limited
Colgate Palmolive India Limited
Flipkart Internet Private Limited
Cisco Systems Inc.
Lego Systems A/S
ChrysCapital VIII, LLC
- Assisted Schaeffler India Ltd with filing a leniency application before the CCI to disclose the existence of a cartel and secured a 100% reduction in penalty.
- Successfully secured unconditional Phase I clearance for a global joint venture between Honda and Hitachi which involved multiple group companies of Honda and Hitachi merging across the world.
- Secured an unconditional approval from the CCI without a detailed investigation for Reliance Retail Ventures Limited ,and Reliance Retail and Fashion Lifestyle Limited.
At L&L Partners Law Offices, the competition practice handles cartel investigations and abuse of dominance matters, acting for key clients across regulated industries including aviation and energy. The group is also instructed on merger control and leniency applications, and has experience appearing before the CCI. Key contacts include GR Bhatia, Abdullah Hussain, Kanika Chaudhary Nayar and Rudresh Singh. In addition, in May 2021 the team was joined by Kunal Mehra from Dua Associates.
Other key lawyers:
The leading competition group at Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co continues to be engaged in ‘cutting-edge work’, housing a team of experts with an impressive client roster including Facebook and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. John Handoll oversees the team, which handles merger control work, investigations and cartel proceedings before the CCI and the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT). Senior partner Shweta Shroff Chopra is the key contact for merger control and cartel cases, whilst enforcement matters are dealt with by Naval Chopra and Manika Brar. Harman Singh Sandhu, who has been engaged in various international transactions, advises on obtaining clearance for multi-jurisdictional mergers. Managing partner and dispute resolution head Pallavi Shroff remains a key practitioner in the team, as does Yamam Verma.
‘Sectoral knowledge, strategic thinking, and cutting-edge, innovative work.’
‘Naval Chopra has a deep understanding of the regulatory and legal framework. The team are pioneers in this practice in India. They stand out for their 24/7 availability, bench strength and extremely high-quality, business-friendly advice.’
Facebook, Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary, Jaadhu Holdings LLC
Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) Private Limited
WhatsApp LLC and Facebook, Inc.
Uber India Systems Private Limited
Reliance Retail Ventures Limited
Flipkart Internet Private Limited
Flipkart Investments Private Limited
Metso Oyj and Outotec Oyj
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.
India Ratings and Research Private Limited
Canary Investments Limited and Link Investment Trust II – affiliates of the ChrysCapital group
ZF Friedrichshafen AG
- Obtained CCI clearance of Facebook’s acquisition of a minority non-controlling shareholding in Jio Platforms.
- Secured CCI clearance of the proposed acquisition by Reliance Retail Ventures of Future Group stores across India, along with wholesale, logistics and warehouse businesses.
- Acted for Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) in High Court proceedings against the CCI, and succeeded in having the statements of 40 witnesses whom it had unsuccessfully sought to cross-examine expunged from the CCI’s record.
The competition practice at Trilegal has strength in advising national and multinational clients on obtaining clearance from the CCI in high-value merger control matters. Spanning across Mumbai, New Delhi, and Bengaluru, the team handles the competition aspect of commercial transactions, abuse of dominance cases, and audits. Practice head Nisha Kaur Uberoi in Mumbai is noted for her leniency applications. On the contentious side, new partner Gautam Chawla regularly represents clients before all levels of the judiciary. Associate Simran Kathuria is also recommended.
Groupe Peugeot S.A.
International Flavors and Fragrances Inc.
Schneider Electric SE
WABCO Holdings Inc
Grasim Industries Limited
Qualcomm Asia Pacific Pte Ltd.
ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (Ola)
Medlife International Pvt. Ltd.
API Holdings Pvt. Ltd.
Tata Sons (USD 110 billion conglomerate)
Temasek Holdings Private Limited
Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corporation
GIC (Ventures) Private Limited
SSG Capital Management (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.
Port of Singapore Authority (PSA)
International Spirits and Wines Association of India
Coca Cola Company
Nuvoco Vistas Corp. Ltd.
Ultratech Cement Ltd.
Arcelor Mittal Nippon Steel
Orkla and its subsidiary MTR Foods Private Limited
Glenmark Pharmaceutical Limited
- Acted for Peugeot in the Indian competition law and merger control aspects for its USD 50bn merger with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.
- Advised International Flavors & Fragrance on the competition aspects of its $45bn acquisition of the Nutrition & Biosciences Business of DuPont de Nemours, Inc.
- Assisted WABCO Holdings with the competition aspects of its $7bn acquisition by ZF Friedrichshafen AG.
Mumbai-based Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas handles large merger control matters for clients operating in the aviation, pharmaceuticals, and telecoms sectors, including cross-border matters across Southeast Asia. In addition, the team has seen an increase in instructions relating to investigations and advisory work on mitigating risk. Overseen by Avaantika Kakkar, the group frequently advises global corporates on competition issues in relation to market entry and has extensive experience appearing before the CCI; Anshuman Sakle is a key contact here.
Other key lawyers:
‘Very responsive and knowledgeable.’
‘Anshuman Sakle was a great help in our last major transaction.’
Reliance Industries group
The Blackstone Group Inc.
Warburg Pincus LLC
API Holdings Private Limited
- Advised Adani Airports Holding Limited in relation to the acquisition of GVK Airport Developers Limited.
- Advised APSEZ on its acquisition of a 75% equity shareholding of Krishnapatnam Port Company Limited.
- Advised Spring Canter Investment Limited, an affiliate of Warpurg Pincus LLC, in relation to its increase in shareholding (in two tranches) in Rivigo Services Private Limited.
The competition practice at Economic Laws Practice is jointly overseen by managing partner Suhail Nathani and Ravisekhar Nair, and has a focus on contentious work for both domestic and multinational clients. The group leverages its litigation experience in abuse of dominance and cartel enforcement cases before the CCI, as well as handling matters concerning anti-competitive agreements. Other core team members include Abhay Joshi, who advises clients in the technology, media, and sports sectors on merger control applications. Google and Ericsson form part of the impressive client roster.
Google LLC/Google Ireland Limited/Google India Private Limited
Google International LLC
SKF India Limited
United Breweries Limited
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson
Consortium of M.L. Jalan and Kalrock Capitals Partners Limited
Worldline India Private Limited
Geep Industries (India) Private Limited
J Sagar Associates
At J Sagar Associates, the team is headed by Farhad Sorabjee in Mumbai and handles a significant volume of merger control matters. The group also has a sizeable contentious offering and frequently represents clients before the High Courts and CCI in abuse of dominance cases; New Delhi-based Vaibhav Choukse is the key name here, with support from associate Ela Bali. Energy, pharmaceuticals, and chemical manufacturing remain core areas of activity for the group.
Ford Motor Company
Hyundai Motors India Limited
Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited
Aisan Industry Co., Ltd. (Japan)
Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Investment Pte. Ltd.
DP World (Dubai Ports)
Kubota Corporation, Japan
Mikuni Corporation, Japan
Cinepolis India Private Limited
JSW Steel Limited
Continental India Private Limited
John Deere India Private Limited
Adani Power Limited
Prestige Projects Private Limited
Volvo Group India Private Limited
- Successfully defended Diamond Electric Manufacturing Co. Limited, Mikuni Corporation and Aisan Industry Co. before the CCI in relation to claims of alleged cartelisation among Japanese auto-component manufacturers for the supply of auto-parts to global original equipment/car manufacturers.
- Acted for the Prestige group in seeking CCI approval for the sale of its assets (commercial offices, retail and hotel properties, and its mall management and maintenance business) to the Blackstone Group Inc. in a billion-dollar deal.
- Acted for Goldman Sachs in seeking CCI approval for a business combination involving ReNew Power Private Limited.
Kochhar & Co.
Kochhar & Co.’s competition and antitrust practice has had another strong year handling contentious matters for clients operating in the renewable energy, petroleum, and gas sectors. The group has represented clients in proceedings before the CCI and NCLAT; new partner Kavita Sareen is the key contact for litigation. Practice head Chandrasekhar Tampi handles M&A-related work, with an emphasis on merger control, whilst Gagan Verma focuses on regulatory matters. Telecoms and automotive sector companies also feature in the client roster.
Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited
Indian Oil Corporation Limited
Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited
Lexmark International (India) Private Limited
- Representing a consortium of state-owned oil marketing companies in high-stakes cartelisation cases before the NCLAT.
At Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan, the antitrust practice group has experience acting for domestic and international enterprises on a wide range of matters, but is particularly well known for abuse of dominance cases. Led by Charanya Lakshmikumaran, the team has sector strength across the manufacturing, automotive, and packaging industries, advising clients on matters relating to anti-competitive agreements and representing them in proceedings before the CCI. Neelambera Sandeepan has appeared before the CCI, NCLAT and various High Courts in high-profile cartel cases.
Other key lawyers:
Plasser India Pvt. Limited
Indian Corrugates Case Manufacturers’ Association
Federation of Corrugated Box Manufacturers
Honda Siel Cars Ltd.
Glencore Agriculture India Pvt. Ltd.
- Filed an appeal before the NCLAT on behalf of Plasser contesting an order passed by the CCI dismissing information regarding a bid-rigging arrangement filed by Plasser.
- Defending the Indian Corrugated Case Manufacturers’ Association before the CCI against an allegation by a regional paper mills association of anti-competitive agreements amongst corrugated box manufacturers and their association.
- Representing the Federation of Corrugated Box Manufacturers in bringing a case alleging an all-India cartel amongst kraft paper manufacturers and their associations.
AnantLaw’s practice has been bolstered by several new arrivals, including seasoned competition lawyers Rahul Goel and Anu Monga, who joined from IndusLaw in January 2021. The team has handled a number of high-stakes cases before the Supreme Court, NCLAT and CCI, including constitutional challenges to the Competition Act, 2002, as well as cases relating to anti-competitive agreements. Counsels Neha Mishra and Nitish Sharma, both of whom joined the team from Gaggar & Partners in early 2021, are also of note, handling regulatory issues and litigation.
‘I have worked with Anu Moga and Rahul Goel; both have very good experience and deep knowledge of the subject.’
‘A brilliant law firm for antitrust matters. Great strategic thinking and belief in themselves that sets them apart. Absolutely professional approach towards work and a very detailed, research-oriented working style. Thorough in every aspect of their work and very open to talking clients’ suggestions.’
‘Rahul Goel and Anu Monga are a team that can defeat any opponent. Very prompt and punctual. Very thorough research and paperwork. The best competition team I have ever worked with.’
‘The strength of the team at AnantLaw is its subject knowledge and awareness of day-to-developments in the field nationally and internationally. The team’s key capabilities include excellent coordination with clients, follow-up on the progress of litigation, clear advice in a cost-effective manner and, most of all, reasonable billing for the services compared to other peers.’
‘I worked closely with Rahul Goel and Anu Monga. Both are excellent human beings who inspire great respect and work in the best interests of their clients.’
‘The team is exceptionally good and understands the subject. They consistently challenge the status quo and think beyond the horizon. They are approachable and willing to go the extra mile to deliver results. They don’t aim below perfection and have a desire to be the best, with a relentless focus and passion for solving problems. They live the law.’
‘Rahul Goel and Anu Monga are amazing professionals. Anu brings clarity to situations when none exists. She is a strong lawyer and has a clear vision. She is committed to succeeding in any situation. Rahul is a true professional – committed, passionate and trustworthy.’
‘They do a lot of research work. They show clarity in strategy and planning, and are fearless in terms of approach.’
Cadila Healthcare Ltd
Sumitomo Chemical India Pvt Ltd
Tranter India Pvt Ltd
Forech India Pvt Ltd
Builders Association of India
Sandhya Organics Chemicals Ltd
Hindustan Rubbers Silavassa
- Representing ZydusCadilla before the Supreme Court of India in a case relating to an alleged anti-competitive agreement with Chemicals & Druggists Association of India.
- Representing BAI before the Supreme Court of India and NCLAT in cement cartel matters.
- Advising Sumitomo Chemical India on Competition Act issues.
Chandhiok & Mahajan, Advocates and Solicitors
New Delhi-based Chandhiok & Mahajan, Advocates and Solicitors’ competition team is managed by key practitioner Karan Singh Chandhiok, who advises clients on merger control, abuse of dominance cases and litigation before the High Courts and CCI.
Dua Associates‘ competition team is led by Robin David following the departure of former practice head Kunal Mehra for L&L Partners Law Offices in May 2021. The group advises clients on merger filings and abuse of dominance litigation.
Gaggar & Partners
At Gaggar & Partners, the competition group handles a variety of matters, including cartel cases, abuse of dominance matters, and leniency applications. Senior partner Vaibhav Gaggar remains the key practitioner, handling contentious work across the real estate and engineering sectors.
At IndusLaw, the practice was strengthened with the arrival of new partner Unnati Agrawal, who joined the firm from J Sagar Associates in January 2021 and jointly leads the team with Avimukt Darr. The group handles antitrust litigation before the CCI and merger control matters, with recent highlights including advising energy company Adani Power on an acquisition. The team is also active in cartel investigations and leniency applications.
‘The team is proficient and possesses excellent knowledge in the field of competition law. They provide a holistic competition offering involving merger control advice as well as antitrust advice, including cartel and abuse of dominance cases. The lawyers are intelligent, thorough, and friendly, and provide excellent support even on time-sensitive matters. They have adeptly handled regulatory compliance mandates.’
‘Unnati Agrawal is an excellent up-and-coming partner with a good grasp over procedural as well as substantive law. She has a strong commercial sense and is quick to understand our business needs. She strikes a balance between legal and practical considerations and provides cogent legal solutions to complex business issues. Her vast experience in handling merger control as well as enforcement matters allows her to analyse issues in a holistic manner and advise not only on the issues at hand but also pre-empt and resolve potential future issues.’
Sumitomo Chemical India Pvt. Ltd.
Tranter India Private Limited
- Defended Sumitomo against an application seeking compensation under the Competition Act following the CCI’s finding of an aluminium phosphide cartel.
- Acted for Tranter in a writ petition filed before the High Court of Delhi against the CCI, challenging the constitutional validity of section 48 of the Competition Act relating to the imposition of penalties on directors and officers of the company.
- Advised Tinicum, a global private investment firm, on a merger control analysis under the Competition Act in relation to a proposed acquisition.
The competition team at Link Legal has particular strength in the aviation sector and counts private airline SpiceJet as a key client. Headed by managing partner Atul Sharma, the group handles merger control matters and investigations before the CCI. Core members of the team include Anand Srivastava, who is dual qualified in India and New York, commercial disputes expert Abhishek Sharma and associate Ashly Cherian.
CRCC High-Tech Equipment Corporation Limited
BSN Medical India (now Essity India)
- Acted for SpiceJet in an investigation by the Director General and proceedings brought by the CCI in respect of alleged concerted action by various airlines in fixing the fuel surcharge.
- Acted for CRCC High-Tech Equipment Corporation Limited in an appeal before the competition appellate tribunal concerning allegations of anti-competitive activities by certain Chinese companies in a tender issued by India’s Ministry of Railways.
- Representing SpiceJet in ongoing investigations into various Indian airlines in respect of alleged cartelisation in the fixing of passenger airfares.
Majmudar & Partners‘ competition team is led by Rukshad Davar and advises international manufacturing and healthcare sector clients on merger control. The practice assists clients with obtaining approval from the CCI and ensuring domestic operations are compliant.
P&A Law Offices
P&A Law Offices advises both domestic and multinational companies on competition law matters. The group is jointly led by managing partner Anand Pathak, corporate expert Shashank Gautam and Sreemoyee Deb, who is the name to note for enforcement matters and merger control cases. The team also handles cartel investigations and advises on compliance.
Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson
Sony Pictures Network India Private Limited
SPE Films India Private Limited
Tata Steel Europe
Tata Steel Limited
Tata Steel BSL Limited
Rallis India Limited
General Motors India Private Limited
Amazon Seller Services Private Limited
Schneider Electric Group
Super Cassettes Industries Private Limited
Metropolitan Stock Exchange of India Limited (previously known as MCX-SX Stock Exchange)
Mercedes-Benz India Private Limited
- Represented Tata Steel Limited in a suo motu investigation initiated by the CCI against four automotive and industrial bearings manufacturers.
- Representing Amazon Seller Services Private Limited in a writ petition filed before the Karnataka High Court challenging the prima facie order passed by the CCI directing an investigation against Amazon and Flipkart in relation to the online sales of smartphones.
- Advised and represented Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC in a merger review process before the CCI.
At Samvad Partners, the competition group is led by Arjun Krishnan in New Delhi and is active across the pharmaceuticals, telecoms, and real estate sectors. The team advises on merger control matters and regularly undertakes contentious work, representing clients before the CCI, the NCLAT and the Supreme Court, and acting for the CCI itself. Harish Narasappa is the key contact in Bengaluru. Savani Gupte joined the firm’s Mumbai office from Khaitan & Co LLP in March 2021, and has enhanced the group’s competition litigation offering.
Competition Commission of India
- Acted for the CCI in a case before the Supreme Court on the ability of informants and whistleblowers to bring information about anti-competitive conduct to the CCI.
- Acting for the CCI in a challenge to the investigation into e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart before the Karnataka High Court and the Supreme Court of India.
- Acting for the CCI in a case concerning the constitutional validity of the Competition Act and the composition and qualifications of the CCI before the Supreme Court of India.
Led by Abir Roy, the team at Sarvada Legal advises on both contentious and non-contentious competition matters. The group handles enforcement cases and investigations for clients in the e-commerce, digital markets, and consumer goods sectors. T Sundar Ramanathan is also a name to note, advising on the regulatory components of competition matters.
Other key lawyers:
The competition group at Talwar Thakore & Associates has strength across the pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, and media sectors, advising domestic and multinational clients on merger control and compliance issues. Rahat Dhawan is the key contact following the departure of Ram Kumar Poornachandran in November 2021.
Other key lawyers:
‘TT&A’s competition team are young, but I have found them to be highly motivated and able to deliver results.’
Star India Private Limited (Walt Disney group company)
Reliance Industries Limited
Saint Gobain Glass India Limited
At Veritas Legal, the competition practice is active in merger filings before the CCI. The team is frequently engaged by multinationals operating across the real estate and pharmaceutical sectors, among others, to advise on the competition aspects of corporate acquisitions and large-scale mergers. Associate Zenia Cassinath is also a key team member, and advises on competition law for domestic and international clients. Former practice head Nandish Vyas departed in February 2022.
Other key lawyers:
‘A very commercial and solution-oriented team.’
‘Zenia Cassinath is an antitrust expert and has helped us obtain approvals in a timely manner across several transactions.’
Upjohn Inc./ Pfizer Limited
- Represented KedaaraCapital in its acquisition of a stake in ReligareHealth Insurance Company Limited.
- Represented Partners Group in its acquisition of E-commerce Express Private Limited.
- Represented Pfizer Limited in the Indian leg of the local separation of Upjohn branded products from Pfizer Inc. into Upjohn Inc.