Antitrust and competition in India
Domestic clients and multinational corporations regularly approach Khaitan & Co LLP for its market-leading competition and antitrust practice, which covers the full range of transactional and contentious issues. Manas Kumar Chaudhuri is the go-to name for defending anti-competition and abuse of dominance claims, while he and Sagardeep Rathi have recently guided clients through a large number of leniency applications. The practice has recently expanded with the addition of Rahul Singh and the promotion of Anisha Chand to the partnership, which has bolstered the merger control offering. The client list is wide-ranging, though a particular expertise in the complex field of pharmaceuticals is cited.
Manas Kumar Chaudhuri; Arshad (Paku) Khan
Other key lawyers:
Air Cargo Agents Association of India
Apax Global Alpha
BNB Coatings India
Cadila Healthcare Limited and Zydus Wellness
Eli Lilly and Company
Eveready Industries India
Genesis Luxury Fashion
Haryana Urban Development Authority
IHH Healthcare Berhad
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (Ministry of Railways)
J.C. Bamford Excavators
Kia Motors India
Liberty House Group
Mahindra & Mahindra
Hardcastle Restaurants (McDonalds)
Nippon Life Insurance Company
Royal Dutch Shell
TVS Motor Company
Xiaomi Technology India
- Gained CCI approval on behalf of Pfizer for its joint merger with GlaxoSmithKline.
- Secured CCI clearance for IHH Healthcare Berhad’s $560m share acquisition of Foris Healthcare.
- Represented GAIL (India) before the CCI against allegations of abuse of dominance.
- Filed a leniency application on behalf of Eveready Industries India disclosing the operation of a cartel in the flashlight market.
- Assisted India Glycols with filing information against 18 sugar mills and numerous industry associations and oil marketing companies accused of fixing the price of ethanol.
Key fields of expertise for L&L Partners Law Offices’s 'dependable' antitrust and competition practice include acting on abuse of dominance and cartelisation disputes for clients in a diverse range of sectors including pharmaceuticals, shipping, food, auto parts and construction. GR Bhatia and Abdullah Hussain regularly appear before the CCI on matters pertaining to the developing legal field of leniency applications. Kanika Chaudhary Nayar is noted for her expertise in developing competition compliance frameworks — including preparations for dawn raids — for clients in sectors such as steel, cement, broadcasting and film distribution.
G.R. Bhatia; Abdullah Hussain; Kanika Chaudhary Nayar
‘A well-balanced, highly experienced team that provides good solutions to competition matters.‘
‘Very solutions oriented.‘
‘Enthusiastic, knowledgeable and efficient.‘
‘The senior partners have a good interpersonal relationship with the regulatory authorities.‘
‘G.R. Bhatia is an outstanding lawyer, as are the members of his team including Kanika Chaudhari Nayar and Abdullah Hussain. They are clearly very knowledgeable, have outstanding judgement, and are very responsive.‘
- Represented the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India in abuse of dominant position proceedings against the Department of Town & Country Planning.
- Obtained CCI approval for JSW Steel’s contested acquisition of Bhushan Power & Steel under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code process.
- Initiated abuse of dominant position proceedings on behalf of pharmaceuticals companies Biocon and Mylan against Roche, and acted for the client in subsequent appeal proceedings in the High Court.
- Represented Dhampur Sugar Mills in a CCI investigation regarding alleged cartelisation in the sugar manufacturing industry.
- Defended excavation machine company JCB in the High Court on abuse of dominant position claims.
Owing to Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co being involved with the Indian leg of some of the most significant recent global deals (for the likes of Walmart and Monsanto), the firm’s competition lawyers handled some of the most complex and strategically important Phase I and Phase II merger filings before the CCI. Go-to names in this field include Shweta Shroff Chopra and Aparna Mehra. Alongside stand-out merger control work, professionals such as Harman Singh Sandhu and Naval Chopra regularly handle high-profile litigation involving abuse of dominance, anti-competitiveness and cartelisation (and the related leniency applications). Managing partner Pallavi Shroff regularly contributes to the development of national competition policy.
John Handoll; Pallavi Shroff
IOCL, BPCL and HPCL
Coal India Limited
National Stock Exchange
Brookfield Asset Management
Larsen & Toubro
- Represented Walmart in relation to drafting and filing the notification, responding to information requests from the CCI and obtaining unconditional approval for the $16bn acquisition of Flipkart.
- Acted for Indo National as defendant in the cartelisation case in the flashlight industry.
- Obtained Phase II clearance from the CCI for Monsanto’s acquisition of Bayer.
- Represented Uber before the CCI on anti-competitive allegations initiated by Meru Travels.
- Handled Praxair’s CCI representation concerning the client’s merger with Linde.
Trilegal’s competition team counts a number of landmark cases to its portfolio, having defended big-ticket clients against contested merger applications, predatory pricing claims and $1bn+ cartelisation claims imposed by the CCI. Practice head Nisha Uberoi is regularly instructed by an extensive list of multinational clients on high-value abuse of dominance matters before all levels of judicial fora as well as assisting with investigations conducted by the Director General. The team also has a robust offering for handling Phase I and Phase II merger control clearance on corporate transactions.
Nisha Kaur Uberoi
Nuvoco Vistas Corp.
International Spirits and Wines Association of India
Port of Singapore Authority
- Representing multiple clients —Ambuja Cements, ACC and Nuvoco Vistas Corp. — before the Supreme Court in the $1.6bn cement cartel case.
- Defended ANI Technologies — owner of taxi hailing company Ola — against a suite of allegations concerning abuse of dominance and predatory pricing.
- Representing Grasim Industries in abuse of dominance proceedings before the CCI and the Director General.
- Obtained unconditional approval for UltraTech Cement’s acquisition of Binani Cement. The CCI merger approval was contested under the nascent Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.
- Assisted the International Spirits and Wine Association with its landmark complaint filed with respect to the procurement and distribution of alcohol controlled by companies owned by the State Government.
AZB & Partners provides cross-practice support to a roster of domestic and multinational clients when competition and antitrust issues arise. On the merger control front, the firm successfully obtained Phase I clearance from the CCI for a number of significant transactions across a breadth of industries form telecoms, steel, IT and energy to emerging sectors such as new media and digital payments. Of particular note is Samir Gandhi and of counsel Rahul Rai’s successful handling of Tata Steel’s acquisition of Bhushan Steel under the nascent Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. The team provides advice on potential CCI and Director General investigations and also acts on litigation concerning abuse of dominance and cartelisation claims. The practice was strengthened by the arrival of competition lawyer Bharat Budholia, who was previously at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas.
Samir Gandhi; Hemangini Dadwal; Aditi Gopalakrishnan
Tata Steel Limited
F Hoffman La Roche AG, Genentech, Inc
Tata Motors Limited
Warner Bros Pictures (India
- Representing Google in two ongoing behavioural litigation matters concerning allegations of abuse of dominant position and infringement.
- Representing Roche Products India before the Delhi High Court on a challenge to the Competition Commission of India’s decision to investigate an antitrust complaint.
- Represented Visa on the merger control aspects of its minority acquisition of Indiaideas.com, successfully obtaining Phase I clearance by the Competition Commission of India.
- Defended Mondelez India Foods against allegations of abuse of dominant position.
- Engaged by Indus Towers on a potential investigation by the Competition Commission of India regarding the merger filing made on behalf of the client’s parent company Bharti Infratel.
Chandhiok & Associates, Advocates & Solicitors
Competition law is one of the primary verticals for Chandhiok & Mahajan, Advocates and Solicitors and as such is well placed to provide the full range of legal expertise to a fast-growing client list of multinational and domestic corporates. Professionals such as Karan Chandhiok and Kalyani Singh acted before the CCI and NCLAT in a number of landmark cases involving immunity in a leniency case, CCI penalty set-aside claims and big-ticket abuse of dominance and cartelisation disputes. The firm provides a robust merger control offering, including representing clients in challenges to merger control approvals filed by third parties.
Karan Singh Chandhiok
Other key lawyers:
BigTree Entertainment (BookMyShow)
Dalmia Bharat Group
Indo Rama Synthetics
Planetcast Media Services Limited (formerly, Essel Shyam Communications Limited)
Hyundai Motor India
- Successfully represented Panasonic in obtaining 100% immunity in leniency hearings relating to the flashlight battery cartel case.
- Represented Hyundai Motor India in an appeal before the NCLAT of a $14m vertical restraints fine imposed by the CCI.
- Assisting Intel with an ongoing investigation into abuse of dominance allegations.
- Representing Planetcast Media Services in leniency filings before the NCLAT.
- Challenged the merger control approval by the CCI of Binani Cement’s acquisition of Ultratech Cement on grounds of anti-competitiveness.
The merger control expertise of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas’ competition practice significantly bolsters the firm’s market-leading transactional presence; professionals such as Avaantika Kakkar and Anshuman Sakle regularly appear before the CCI on complex merger filings including Phase II applications for multinationals in sectors such as retail, FMCG, telecoms, e-commerce, pharmaceuticals and energy. Enforcement instructions comprise abuse of dominance and cartelisation investigations and relevant turnover applications in the upper courts. The firm is also known for assisting clients during dawn raids by the CCI.
Cyril Shroff; Avaantika Kakkar
‘A top-tier competition practice with good ties to the authorities.‘
‘An excellent team with deep knowledge of the law.‘
‘Has a good grasp of the issues and provides a holistic approach.‘
‘Avaantika Kakkar is an excellent lawyer with a great team around her. She is one of the preeminent competition practitioners in India.‘
‘Avaantika Kakkar is practical, pragmatic and great with clients.‘
Kraft Heinz India
Proctor & Gamble Company
Karam Chand Thapar & Bros. (Coal Sales)
- Drafted the merger notification and undertook a comprehensive competition impact assessment for Reliance Industries’ acquisition of Hathway Cable and Datacom.
- Addressed the competition law complexities involved with Hindustan Unilever’s merger with GlaxoSmithKine Consumer Healthcare.
- Obtained approval from the CCI for Samara Alternate Investment Fund’s acquisition of Aditya Birla Retail.
- Defended Flipkart in abuse of dominance proceedings filed by the All India Online Vendors Association.
- Handling the competition law requirements for the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
The significant bench strength of Economic Laws Practice (including noted individuals Suhail Nathani and Ravisekhar Nair) is well placed to act on high-profile competition disputes before the CCI, COMPAT and NCLAT. Multinational and domestic clients in sectors such as IT, pharmaceuticals, energy, media and automobiles frequently instruct the team on disputes concerning anti-competitive breaches, abuse of dominance and cartelisation, in both defence and initiation proceedings. The team also provides expertise on the merger control side (including Phase II applications) as well as advising on competition compliance audits.
Suhail Nathani; Ravisekhar Nair
APM Terminals Management
Gateway Terminals India
Dalmia Bharat Sugar & Industries
National Egg Co-ordination Committee
Dell International Services
- Defended Mankind Pharma before the CCI and the Director General on an allegation of an anti-competitive agreement with the Federation of Gujarat State Chemists and Druggists Association.
- Representing Google before the NCLAT, the CCI and the High Court of Delhi on complaints of an abuse of dominant position.
- Represented Ericsson before the CCI and the Director General in an investigation into abuse of dominant position allegations.
- Represented Pan India Infraprojects before the CCI as an interested party in the investigation into the alleged exclusionary activities of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
- Represented Eris Lifesciences before the CCI and the Director General in an investigation into allegations of an anti-competitive agreement with Madhya Pradesh Chemists and Druggists Association.
IndusLaw has bolstered its antitrust and competition offering with the recruitment of Rahul Goel and Anu Monga from Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, who together are go-to names in the nascent field of relevant turnover applications. Current mandates for the competition team include representation before the CCI, NCLAT and upper courts on matters relating to abuse of dominance, cartelisation and anti-competitive allegations. The firm handles merger control matters for a range of clients in the e-commerce, tech, telecoms, pharmaceuticals and financial services industries, among others.
Avimukt Dar; Rahul Goel; Anu Monga
Ujjivan Financial Services
Builders Association of India
Schott Glass Excel Crop Care
Hindustan Rubbers Silvasa
- Defended Cadila Healthcare before the Supreme Court against allegations of an anti-competitive agreement with the Chemists & Druggists Association of India.
- Representing the Builders Association of India as an informant before the Supreme Court evidencing cartelisation among a number of cement companies.
- Handling Schott Glass’ appeal before the Supreme Court against a ruling in the CCI concerning abuse of dominance.
- Representing Forech before the CCI on alleged cartelisation in the conveyor belt sector.
- Represented Betul Oils in an alleged cartel matter before the High Court of Delhi.
J Sagar Associates
J Sagar Associates’ competition team offers a particularly strong merger control skill set, often assisting multinationals across all major sectors with Phase I and Phase II filings as part of global transactions. The team has experience in litigation involving abuse of dominance, cartelisation and leniency applications in both a claimant and defendant context. Former practice leader Amitabh Kumar retired in October 2019.
Ford Motor India
Hyundai Motors India
PepsiCo (India) Holdings
Becton Dickinson India
Baring Private Equity Asia
No Suretex Prophylactics (India)
Mikuni Corporation, Japan
- Representing Nuziveedu Seeds Limited and its group companies before the CCI and the High Court in abuse of dominance proceedings against Monsanto.
- Representing Hyundai in various proceedings before the NCLAT and the Supreme Court concerning, among others, relevant turnover.
- Acted for French multinational Teleperformance in successfully securing the CCI’s approval for the acquisition of Intelenet group of companies from Blackstone.
- Acted for Claymore Investments in successfully securing the CCI’s approval for the subscription of newly issued equity shares issued by IndiaIdeas.com.
- Representing the Indian National Shipping Association in proceedings before the CCI and Director General concerning abuse of dominance allegations against the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation.
Kochhar & Co.’s antitrust and competition team provides merger control and compliance advice to a roster of multinational clients in the (among others) oil and gas, automotive, financial services and electronics sectors. The firm makes regular appearances before the CCI and upper courts to defend clients on allegations of cartelisation, abuse of dominance, collusive bidding and anti-competitiveness. Practice head Piyush Gupta also helps with establishing dawn raid and whistleblower programmes.
‘Piyush Gupta gives it his all and is a pleasure to deal with.‘
Bharat Petroleum Corporation
Indian Oil Corporation
Hindustan Petroleum Corporation
Toyota Motor Company
HUAYU Automotive Systems
- Successfully represented a host of Oil Marketing Companies (including Indian Oil Corporation) before the Competition Commission of India involving allegations of anti-competitiveness and abuse of dominant position.
- Engaged by ExxonMobil to handle a competition compliance audit of numerous agreements and transactions.
- Engaged by Lutron Electronics for an assessment of a proposed distribution agreement between the client and a large distributor in India.
- Representing HUAYU Automotive Systems before the Competition Commission of India concerning a merger which had taken place outside of India with another Shanghai based automotive company.
- Retained by Albemarle Europe to advise on and assist with preparing customised guidelines concerning dawn raids and other critical situations.
Advaita Legal advises clients on issues such as pre-merger notifications, anti-competitive agreements and exclusive supply and distribution agreements. Prior contentious instructions involved cartelisation, price fixing, abuse of dominance and bid rigging.
Dua Associates has worked on matters including merger controls, abuse of dominance and allegations of cartelisation. Clients include Dow Chemical Company and Power Grid Corporation of India.
Disputes firm Gaggar & Partners is retained by the CCI to prosecute competition matters before the Directorate General; recent issues involved representation before the NCLAT on cartelisation and retail price maintenance issues. Vaibhav Gaggar is also instructed to defend constitutional challenges to the competition regime. On the other side, the firm represents a range of clients — from sectors such as automotive, pharmaceuticals and real estate — before the CCI on anti-competitive matters, leniency applications, abuse of dominance and collusive bidding cases.
Vaibhav Gaggar; Neha Mishra; Nitish Sharma
Competition Commission of India
Tamil Nadu Film Producers Council
Ghaziabad Development Authority
Haicheng Vivo Mobile
B.M. Thakkar & Co.
Department of Town and Country Planning
SAAR IT Resources
- Successfully represented the CCI before the NCLAT regarding the landmark cement cartelisation case.
- Successfully represented Fangs Technology before the CCI in a matter concerning anti-competitive allegations.
- Represented Haicheng Vivo Mobile against anti-competitive allegations.
- Represented players registered with the Chess Association of India before the CCI in matters concerning alleged anti-competitive conduct of the All India Chess Federation.
- Successfully represented the CCI before the High Court in respect to the expansion of the investigatory powers of the CCI.
The corporate lawyers at Gagrats are able to advise on general antitrust and competition matters arising from M&A transactions and distribution and licensing agreements in sectors including FMCG, engineering, pharmaceuticals, energy and aviation.
Link Legal - India Law Services leverages its market-leading aviation expertise to act on some of the leading competition matters in that sector. Ongoing cases involve Director General investigations and CCI proceedings concerning price fixing and cartelisation.
- Representing SpiceJet in an investigations by the Director General and proceedings before the CCI concerning alleged price fixing of fuel.
- Representing SpiceJet before the Director General and the CCI in an investigation of alleged cartelisation of passenger airfares.
Majmudar & Partners
The core of Majmudar & Partners’ competition offering involves assisting corporate clients with merger control advice and clearances before the CCI. Further advisory mandates involve pre-merger notification advice on M&A transactions.
Intertape Polymer Group
- Provided Chart Industries with pre-merger notification advice, assessing whether a CCI application would need to be made on its acquisition of VRV.
- Provided competition law advice to Intertape Polymer Group on its 26% acquisition of Powerband Industries.
- Provided merger control advice to Avanos Medical regarding the sale of its surgical and infection prevention subsidiary to Owens & Minor.
Phoenix Legal ’s antitrust and competition offering provides merger control advise to corporate clients for M&A transactions, joint ventures, distribution and supply arrangements and asset-purchase transactions.