Antitrust and competition in India
The antitrust and competition team at AZB & Partners had a strong year in the automotives sector, with multinational manufacturers engaging practice head Samir Gandhi, Hemangini Dadwal and Aditi Gopalakrishnan - with assistance from senior associates Gaurav Bansal and Akshat Kulshrestha - on a raft of proceedings before the CCI. Of particular note, the team secured successful non-infringement orders in cartelisation disputes, and extensive penalty reductions via leniency applications. Bharat Budholia leads on merger control matters, most recently for acquisitions in the pharmaceuticals sector. The team fields extensive experience in the digital and disruptive technologies space, with sports, oil and gas and aerospace clients also cited.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team at AZB & Partners is mix of competent people who have good commercial understanding on competition law.‘
‘Bharat Budholia is suave, pleasant and confident which gives client assurance. He has good understanding and is updated on latest trends in competition issues.‘
‘The antitrust team headed by Samir Gandhi has great commercial insights and the ability to provide a nuanced, practical picture of events. The team is a fine balance of solution-oriented professionals.‘
‘Samir Gandhi is one of those rare and exceptional counsels who works towards finding a solution and balancing the needs of both business and legal aspects.‘
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)
GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Limited
Larsen & Toubro
BACQ, Muthoot and QIA
- Assisted JTEKT Corporation with its CCI leniency application, obtaining a full reduction.
- Filed a writ petition before the High Court on behalf of the Board of Control for Cricket in India involving a jurisdictional challenge against CCI’s decision to investigate the client.
- Represented Bridgestone Corporation in a cartelisation investigation.
Khaitan & Co LLP’s competition and antitrust team stands out for its expertise in handling leniency applications, with recent successes seeing practice head Manas Kumar Chaudhuri, Sagardeep Rathi and principle associate Pranjal Prateek securing impressive 100% penalty waivers from the CCI. Anisha Chand and Rahul Singh led the team on numerous merger control approvals for high-value M&A transactions and joint ventures, across sectors including automotives, construction, natural resources and asset management. The team often represents clients in enforcement matters concerning unfair pricing, abuse of dominance and cartelisation. The highly regulated pharmaceuticals sector is also a point of focus.
‘Manas Kumar Chaudhuri is an expert in this field. We are very happy with his practice.‘
‘Profund understanding of the law and the authority’s way of thinking while at the same time able to adopt a practical approach.‘
‘Manas Kumar Chaudhuri has a deep understanding of the law and has the ability to adapt to business needs.‘
Nuvoco Vistas Corporation
Toyota Motor Corporation
Intas Pharmaceuticals Limited
Alkem Laboratories Limited
Ministry of Railways, Union of India and Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited
InterGlobe Aviation Limited
Nippon Express (South Asia & Oceania) Pte. Ltd.
Advent International Corporation
Nippon Life Insurance Company
India Glycols Limited
Eveready Industries India Limited
Shree Cement Limited
JKB Gas Private Limited
GAIL (India) Limited
Eli Lilly and Company
TVS Motor Company Limited
British Columbia Investment Management Corporation
BNB Coatings India Private Limited
Booking.com (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.
FedEx Express Transportation and Supply Chain Services (India) Private Limited
Hoegh Autoliners A.S.
Moët Hennessy India Private Limited
Plasser & Theurer, Export von Bahnbaumaschinen, G. m.b.H.
STX Filmworks, Inc
- Represented Schaeffler India Limited, filed a leniency application on its behalf and secured a zero-penalty decision.
- Successfully appealed a gun-jumping order against Eli Lilly and Company.
- Advised Nuvoco Vistas Corporation on obtaining a merger control clearance for its acquisition of Emami Cements Limited.
Cartel investigations and abuse of dominance matters are points of focus of the antitrust and competition practice at L&L Partners Law Offices. Recent highlights for the team - which is co-led by GR Bhatia, Abdullah Hussain, Kanika Chaudhary Nayar and Rudresh Singh - involved extensive representations before the CCI, securing successful leniency applications for food and drink and insurance companies. Engagements are received from diverse, highly regulated sectors ranging from aviation, energy and auto parts to healthcare and pharmaceuticals. Merger control applications on high-value M&A deals and joint ventures are regularly referred to the practice, notably for a roster of global private equity funds, asset managers and public sector utilities. Clients’ interests are also represented during CCI investigations into abusive market practices.
Hero Enterprises Private Limited
ArcelorMittal Societe Anonyme
Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Ltd
Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India-NCR Chapter (CREDAI)
Dhampur Sugar Mills
Edelweiss Financial Services Ltd.
Fortis Healthcare Limited
Food Corporation of India
Jaiprakash Associates Limited
JK Ansell / Raymond Group
JSW Steel Limited
Laptev Finance Private Limited
Multiplex Association of India
Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Corporation
Power Finance Corporation
United Breweries Limited
UV Asset Reconstruction Company
Shipping Corporation of India Limited
Automobiles Tyre Manufactures Association (ATMA)
Explosives Mining Welfare Association
Dr Lal Path Labs
- Advised GMR Airports on a merger control filing before the CCI regarding Tata Sons, Valkyrie Investment and Solis Capital’s 44% equity stake acquisition.
- Advised Carlyle on acquiring a significant minority stake in Delhivery Private Limited, an e-commerce logistics firm which facilitates the delivery of goods for online retailers like Flipkart, Amazon, Paytm, amongst others.
- Represented GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited and GMR Aero Technic Limited in a proceeding initiated by Air Works India (Engineering) Private Limited alleging abusive practices against GMR.
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co fields an extensive bench of antitrust and competition experts covering the breadth of knowledge for a client roster of multinational clients. On the merger control front, practice head Pallavi Shroff, Shweta Shroff Chopra and Aparna Mehra are advising on high-profile M&A reviews including Phase II clearances before the CCI for agriculture, manufacturing and private equity clients. Stand-out names on the enforcement side include Naval Chopra, Harman Singh Sandhu and Manika Brar. Highlights saw the team obtaining favourable penalty waivers in cartel proceedings before the CCI and NCLAT, while ongoing abuse of dominance proceedings are being handled by clients in the auto parts, chemicals, food and drink and oil and gas sectors.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team has very good knowledge in the field of competition law and is quite experienced in dealing and negotiating with the CCI.‘
‘Aparna Mehra is a very experienced competition lawyer, has very good contacts to the authorities and strongly argues for the client’s position.‘
Oravel Stays (OYO)
Larsen & Toubro Limited
Uber India Systems
Saudi Arabian Oil Company
Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation
Suzuki Motor Corporation
- Advised Ctrip.com International on the merger filing for its 42% shareholding acquisition of MakeMyTrip from Naspers Limited.
- Defended budget hotel company Oravel Stays Private Limited before the CCI on unfair and discriminatory practices allegations.
- Obtained CCI approval for ZF Friedrichshafen’s 100% acquisition of WABCO Holdings.
Trilegal’s antitrust and competition team obtained a suite of complex, high-value merger clearances before the CCI for clients in the consumer electronics, heavy industry and e-commerce sectors. Practice head Nisha Kaur Uberoi successfully guided clients through Phase II investigations using novel implementation of behavioural remedies. Multinational clients instruct the team on cartelisation disputes and leniency applications; successful reliefs were granted for clients in the auto parts and maritime industries. Counsels Gautam Chawla and Shravani Shekhar add strength across the breadth of contentious and non-contentious matters.
‘This is a unique all-specialised and focused team that concentrates on competition law in India – both in relation to combinations as well as market abuse.‘
‘Led by Nisha Kaur Uberoi, the team in Trilegal has clarity of thought on current and live issues in the field and has the confidence of the market.‘
‘Nisha Kaur Uberoi stands out being light years ahead of her peers in the field. The Competition Commission of India too respects her enormously and she stands strong for her clients’ interests.’
‘Shravani Shekhar has been handling complex matters.’
‘Gautam Chawla is an excellent resource with clarity of thought.‘
International Flavors & Fragrance
Temasek Holdings Private Limited
LafargeHolcim subsidiary, Ambuja Cements Limited
Schneider Electric SE
Groupe Peugeot S.A.
WABCO Holdings Inc
Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors Corporation
GIC (Ventures) Private Limited
SSG Capital Management (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.
Port of Singapore Authority
Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System
International Spirits and Wines Association of India
Grasim Industries Limited
Coca Cola Company
- Advised Schneider Electric SE and Temasek Holdings on its acquisition of Larsen & Toubro’s electric and automation business.
- Obtained approval for the global merger of Groupe Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
- Advised Tata Sons, GIC and SSG Capital Management on its acquisition of a stake in GMR Airports Limited.
Under the leadership of competition practice head Avaantika Kakkar, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas is a notable name for large-value merger control procedures. Recent team highlights saw Kakkar, Anshuman Sakle and principle associates Kirthi Srinivas and Dhruv Rajain obtaining CCI approvals for market-entry exercises and global M&A deals. The client roster comprises multinational corporates and private equity funds spanning the retail, pharmaceuticals, heavy industry, media and entertainment, investment management and IT sectors. Extensive competition analysis for joint ventures are also handled, with ongoing engagements being handled for automotive and auto-components clients.
Mahindra & Mahindra Limited
Reliance Industries group
Cap Gemini S.A.
Inox Leisure Limited
Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha Ltd.
Brookfield Capital Partners
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
Warburg Pincus LLC
- Undertook a comprehensive competition analysis for Mahindra & Mahindra on the overlapping markets and engaged in extensive consultations with the CCI on drafting and filing of a detailed merger notification for its joint venture with Ford Motor Company.
- Advising Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited on its acquisition of Krishnapatnam Port Company Limited, the entity operating Krishnapatnam port in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
- Successfully defended Inox Leisure Limited against allegations of cartelisation filed by Unilazer Ventures.
Economic Laws Practice
The antitrust and competition vertical at Economic Laws Practice has a strong contentious offering through practice heads Suhail Nathani and Ravisekhar Nair. Ongoing engagements include CCI investigations into price coordination allegations, abuse of dominance proceedings, and cartelisation disputes. The team also represents clients’ interests in search and seizure operations. Abhay Joshi regularly assists with merger control applications and anti-competitive agreements, while Parthsarathi Jha is noted for his international trade law knowledge. Multinational clients are sourced from the IT, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, oil and gas and entertainment industries.
Google Ireland Limited
Google India Private Limited
SKF India Ltd
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson (Ericsson)
PVR Limited (PVR)
- Represented SKF India in a CCI investigation into price coordination among bearing manufacturers in the automotive and industrial markets.
- Defending Google in the high profile abuse of dominance dispute concerning its termination of the AdWords accounts of Albion InfoTel and Audney Inc.
- Defending Ericsson before the CCI, the DG and the Delhi High Court against allegations it abused its position dominance by imposition of an excessive royalty rate, an inappropriate royalty base, seeking of injunction, and reneging on its obligation to license its Standard Essential Patents on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.
J Sagar Associates
On the contentious side of J Sagar Associates’ antitrust and competition practice, Vaibhav Choukse, practice head Farhad Sorabjee and principle associate Ela Bali regularly represent clients before the High Court and CCI on disputes concerning abuse of dominance, cartelisation and related leniency applications. Merger control filings are routinely handled by the team, with assistance from key principle associate Unnati Agrawal. Recent advice was given on the M&A activity of car manufacturers, financial institutions, energy companies, chemical manufacturers and online retailers.
Ford Motor Company
Hyundai Motors India Limited
Nuziveedu Seeds Limited
PepsiCo (India) Holdings Private Limited
Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited
Aisan Industry Co., Ltd (Japan)
Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Fund
DP World (Dubai Ports)
Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited
Kubota Corporation, Japan
Cinepolis India Private Limited
SSG Capital Management (Singapore) Pte Ltd
JSW Steel Limited
Sanaka Capital Partners Limited
Continental India Private Limited
John Deere India Private Limited
South Asia LPG Company Limited
Oriental Rubber Industries Private Limited
Adani Power Limited
- Advised Nuziveedu Seeds Limited and its group companies before the Delhi High Court in a writ petition filed by Monsanto challenging CCI’s jurisdiction in relation to patent matters.
- Acted as the legal advisor to Cinepolis India, a leading multiplex operator, in relation to the complaint filed by Unilazer Ventures Private Limited before the CCI alleging cartelisation by multiplex operators. The CCI dismissed the complaint.
- Acted for Ford Motor Corporation in relation to the sale of the automotive business of Ford India Private Limited to a joint venture company to be jointly controlled by Mahindra & Mahindra Limited and the client.
In a strong year for the contentious side of Kochhar & Co.’s competition and antitrust practice, Reeta Mishra represented a raft of multinational names in proceedings before the CCI and NCLAT concerning cartelisation and abuse of dominance claims. Furthermore, an extensive number of OMCs is engaging the team to defend allegations of cartelisation and collusive bidding. Chandrasekhar Tampi (who took over as practice head from the outgoing Piyush Gupta) leads on merger control instructions for big-name corporates in the shipping, transport, manufacturing, automotives and technology sectors.
Other key lawyers:
‘Kochhar & Co. is an entity consisting of individuals who are excellent in their own fields.‘
‘Reeta Mishra is punctual and her competency instils the confidence in the mind of the client that the case is in safe hand. Very prompt and thorough.‘
‘Knowledgeable and forthright in giving practical advice.‘
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan is steadily growing its antitrust and competition practice under the leadership of Charanya Lakshmikumaran, who leads on cartelisation and abuse of dominance disputes, CCI investigations, and advice on government tenders. Notable engagements for the latter come from pharmaceuticals and healthcare suppliers, while other sectors of strength include automotives, e-commerce, online retail, packaging, and manufacturing. Neelambera Sandeepan brings international trade knowledge to the team, as well as expertise in handling the breadth of merger control issues applicable to M&A transactions.
Other key lawyers:
Honda Cars India
Glencore Agriculture India Pvt. Ltd.
Industry Association of Packaging Manufacturers
- Representing Honda Cars India by challenging the penalties imposed by the CCI on automobile manufacturers over allegations of abuse of dominance in the secondary market for spares and after-sales services.
- Representing Glencore before the office of the Director General, CCI in an investigation into allegations of cartelisation in the agricultural commodities markets.
- Representing the Industry Association of Packaging Manufacturers to pursue allegations of cartelisation by paper producers providing inputs to them.
Chandhiok & Mahajan, Advocates and Solicitors
Chandhiok & Mahajan, Advocates and Solicitors provides the full range of antitrust and competition services to multinational and domestic corporates. Karan Chandhiok acts before the CCI and NCLAT on leniency applications, CCI penalty set-aside claims and big-ticket abuse of dominance and cartelisation disputes.
Dua Associates provides advice on antitrust and competition compliance initiatives, anti-competitive agreements, merger control filings for corporate transactions and restrictive trade practices. Kunal Mehra (who co-heads the practice with Robin David) is handling long-running abuse of dominance litigation in the oil and gas sector, involving appeals before the NCLAT against fines imposed by the CCI.
East India Petroleum Private Limited
Suzuki Motorcycle India Private Limited
- Successfully represented EIPL before the NCLAT in relation to its abuse of dominance case against SALPG.
Gaggar & Partners
Gaggar & Partners is a go-to firm for regulatory bodies and prosecutors for high-stakes antitrust and competition litigation. Typical instructions concern cartelisation, abuse of dominance and multijurisdictional penalties which involve representation of the CCI before the NCLAT and apex courts. Name partner Vaibhav Gaggar, Neha Mishra and Nitish Sharma also represent defendants across the engineering, heavy industry and real estate sectors on regulatory investigations and litigation proceedings.
Competition Commission of India
National Engineering Industries Limited
Tamil Nadu Film Producers Council
Ghaziabad Development Authority
Haicheng Vivo Mobile (India) Private Limited
B.M. Thakkar & Co.
Kaveri Seeds Co. Ltd.
Department of Town & Country Planning (Haryana)
Toyo Tire Corporation (Japan)
SAAR IT Resourses Private Limited
- Successfully managed to procure a stay from the High Court of Delhi for National Engineering Industries Limited with respect to an investigation before the CCI in which the client was wrongly impleaded as an opposite party.
- Successfully procured a stay from the High Court of Delhi for Department of Town and Country Planning (Haryana) on the final order to be passed by the CCI on the ground of lack of jurisdiction with the CCI to investigate statutory authorities engaged in discharge of sovereign function.
- Successfully represented the CCI in a matter wherein the constitutional validity of the Competition Act, 2002 was upheld by a division bench of the High Court of Delhi.
IndusLaw provides a full-service antitrust and competition practice for a broad corporate client roster which includes names in telecoms, e-commerce, healthcare, media and entertainment, manufacturing, and agriculture. Avimukt Dar is the key name for non-contentious engagements. Ongoing work in this space includes merger control applications for M&A transactions and equity investments, advice on business competition practices, and risk management advice. Rahul Goel and Anu Monga left the firm in December 2020.
Cadila Healthcare Ltd.
Sumitomo Chemical India Pvt. Ltd.
Tranter India Pvt. Ltd.
Builders Association of India
Forech India Ltd.
Hindustan Rubbers Silvasa
- Advised WIPRO Limited on its merger control filing made before the Competition Commission of India in relation to its acquisition of Alight HR Services India Private Limited.
- Representing Zydus Cadila before the Supreme Court of India on alleged anti-competitive agreements with the Chemists & Druggists Association of India.
- Assisting and representing Schott Glass before the Supreme Court of India in a matter relating to abuse of dominance concerning loyalty discounts, volume discounts and discriminatory pricing.
Atul Sharma leads the competition department at Link Legal with a focus on the aviation sector. Ongoing work highlights include Sharma and Abhishek Sharma’s representation of clients’ interests in Director General and CCI investigations into alleged price fixing and cartelisation. Further cited fields of expertise include merger control filings and issues pertaining to dominant company conduct.
Other key lawyers:
- Representing SpiceJet in an investigation by the Director General and proceedings by CCI in respect to alleged concerted action by various airlines in the fixing of fuel surcharges.
- Representing SpiceJet in an investigation by Director General in respect to alleged cartelisation by various airlines in the fixation of passenger airfares.
The competition practice at Majmudar & Partners is focused on handling transactional issues for a global client roster of financial services, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and FMCG businesses. Ongoing instructions for practice head Rukshad Davar involving advising on pre-merger notifications, merger control filings, compliance with cartel legislation and pricing arrangements.
United Retirement Plan Consultants
- Advised Bertram Capital on the acquisition of Perennials and Sutherland.
- Acted for Korn Ferry on the acquisition of ESI Performance India Private Limited.
- Assisted United Retirement Plan Consultants on the sale of its Indian subsidiary to Ascensus.
P&A Law Offices
P&A Law Offices has a highly experienced team of antitrust and competition experts led by Anand Pathak and Shashank Gautam. Multinational clients in the e-commerce, automotives, and financial services sectors recently engaged the team on merger control filings before the CCI, regulatory investigations into anti-competitive practices, and abuse of dominance litigation. The team is also representing the CCI in Supreme Court litigation in appeals to former setting aside orders.
Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC
Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson
Amazon Seller Services Private Limited
Metropolitan Stock Exchange of India Limited
Competition Commission of India
General Motors India Private Limited
SPE Films India Private Limited
Super Cassettes Industries Private Limited
MakeMyTrip India Private Limited
TransUnion CIBIL Limited
TATA Capital Financial Services Limited
TATA Motors Limited
- Advising and representing the CCI before the Supreme Court in an appeal against the decision of the erstwhile COMPAT setting aside the order passed by the CCI penalising Schott Glass for abuse of dominance.
- Advised and represented Amazon.com NV Investment Holdings LLC in a merger review process before the CCI.
- Representing Ericsson in the ongoing investigation conducted by the DG into Ericsson’s practices pertaining to the licensing of standard essential patents to the Indian companies.
Samvad Partners’ competition lawyers regularly handle cartelisation and abuse of dominance disputes before the upper courts for clients in sectors such as agriculture, tourism, telecoms and manufacturing. The CCI also engages practice heads Arjun Krishnan and Harish Narasappa on High Court interventions and challenges to its jurisdiction. Merger control filings are also handled, including in regards to high-value takeovers acquisitions, and competition compliance programmes are routinely implemented for corporate clients.
Competition Commission of India
- Successfully represented India’s Competition Commission in the Karnataka High Court in a case relating to the screening and access to non-regional films in Bangalore.
- Successfully represented the CCI before the Supreme Court in a challenge to its jurisdiction to investigate a potential cartel amongst automobile tyre manufacturers.
- Advised a leading food delivery aggregator service on the acquisition of a business unit.
Sarvada Legal is carving out a reputation for handling antitrust and competition investigations and litigation in the e-commerce sector. Practice head Abir Roy is representing a suite of online marketplaces in actions against the likes of Uber and Amazon in arguments concerning unfair pricing abuse and anti-competitive conduct. Additionally, the team is engaged by numerous international auto parts manufacturers in jurisdictional challenges to the CCI’s merger control regime.
Honda Cars India Ltd
Meru Travel Solutions Private Limited
Ruptub Solution (Treebo Hotels)
Confederation of All India Traders (v. Amazon and Flipkart)
Macleods Pharmaceuticals Ltd
- Spearheaded the litigation strategy on behalf of Meru Travel Solutions in its dispute with Uber and Ola.
- Represented the Confederation of All India Traders in litigation against Flipkart and Amazon into anti-competitive conduct.
- The CCI initiated an investigation into the global auto parts cartel. Sarvada Legal represented NOK Corporation and Miyamoto Electric Horn Co. as the defendants before the CCI. The investigation was challenged by the firm before the High Court.