Competition/antitrust in Israel
Agmon & Co. Rosenberg Hacohen & Co.'s antitrust department is recognised by clients and peers as one of the leaders in the Israeli market. Headed by Zvi Agmon, the team regularly advises on complex regulatory procedures, high-stakes antitrust litigation, and merger control often involving heavily regulated industries. Agmon provides comprehensive antitrust advice to clients such as Delek Group, and recently assisted Bank Hapoalim with the formation of an antitrust compliance programme. In 2018, the department added to its antitrust prowess with the addition of Mattan Meridor, who rejoined after a short while operating as a sole practitioner due to certain conflicts of interest. Meridor is helping to represent Sonol in a public hearing before the Israel Antitrust Authority (IAA), and is also representing one of the world's most prominent tech companies in sensitive investigations before the IAA and legislative bodies. Further, the team has handled follow-on class action litigation in connection with a number of global cartels, including the international refrigeration compressor cartel. In the merger control space, the team assisted Frutarom with the merger filing for what was the largest Israeli M&A transaction in 2018.
Fischer Behar Chen Well Orion & Co represents prominent domestic companies and multinationals in complex regulatory proceedings, global follow-on claims and class actions, merger filings in heavily regulated sectors, and criminal antitrust matters. The team provides comprehensive contentious and non-contentious antitrust advice to clients including Tnuva, Google and Bezeq. Standout work included Tal Eyal-Boger representing Volvo and Renault in a class action following the EU Commission's multibillion-euro fine in response to a global cartel. Eyal-Boger is also acting for Haifa Port Company in relation to Israel's first-ever oligopoly case. Reuven Behar represented Delek Drilling in High Court and legislative procedures concerning the adoption of legislation dealing with restrictive trade in the natural gas sector. Another key figure is Ziv Schwartz, who assisted New Channel 10 with the merger filing for its high-profile merger transaction with Reshet Media. Similarly, the team acted for ABB in the merger notification for the client's acquisition of certain business operations of General Electric.
Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal Law Offices is 'consistently excellent' for M&A and complex litigation, which extends to the gamut of contentious and non-contentious antitrust matters. Merger control work included assisting BMW and Daimler with the notification process of a recent joint venture, acting for KLA-Tencor in relation to the Israeli antitrust aspects of its merger with Orbotech, and advising the controlling shareholders of Union Bank of Israel on its proposed merger with Mizrahi-Tefahot Bank. Led by Niva Barg Livnat, the team represents MAN Truck and Bus and Siemens in cartel-related follow-on litigation, and also acted for Yenot Bitan in relation to the imposition of administrative fines following alleged violations in the terms of a merger approval. Other key clients include Energean and Nesher Israeli Cement Industries.
Leveraging its market-leading litigation group, S. Horowitz & Co is regularly involved in high-profile antitrust litigation and regulatory proceedings. Led by Hagai Doron, the antitrust team represents clients such as Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Danfoss and Nippon Yusen Kabshiki Kaisha in price-fixing and cartel-related litigation in Israel. In recent matters, Gitit Levin Grinberg has handled antitrust litigation for British Airways and Israel Electric Corporation, and she and Doron have also continued to represent Barclays Bank in a class action concerning the manipulation of Libor rates over a period of six years. Working in conjunction with the corporate department, the team also files a litany of notifications for high-value cross-border M&A, which recently included assisting General Electric with the merger filing for its sale of certain business operations to ABB. The group provides ongoing antitrust advice to clients such as Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries and Procter & Gamble.
By some clients' reckoning, Tadmor Levy & Co. is 'one of the very best antitrust teams in Israel'. Led by David Tadmor, 'a gifted antitrust lawyer', who formerly served as the country's Antitrust Commissioner, the firm is highly sought after by international corporates facing enforcement procedures, regulatory investigations, and follow-on claims in Israel. In this regard, Shai Bakal is representing clients such as Siemens and Daimler in proceedings following determinations concerning the existence of various global cartels. Similarly, the team is representing Nespresso Israel and Nestlé Nespresso in a class action claim concerning alleged monopolistic behaviour and unfair pricing. Bakal is also representing El Al Airlines in an appeal against the decision not to approve a merger between El Al and Israir Airlines. Additionally, the team, which includes Ayal Hacohen, regularly advises major multinationals on antitrust issues associated with their M&A activities in Israel.
In 2019, Yigal Arnon & Co significantly strengthened its antitrust capabilities through its merger with Weinstock-Zecler & Co, which brings to the team Niv Zecler, a stalwart of the Israeli antitrust market. Zecler's team successfully represented Super-Pharm before an antitrust tribunal in proceedings that followed an investigation of certain exclusivity clauses in the client’s commercial contracts, and also jointly representing a client in relation to unprecedented fines being imposed by the Israel Antitrust Authority (IAA) concerning the client’s alleged abuse of market position. A key figure in the team is Ronit Amir-Yaniv, who is representing Minrav Group and its CEO in criminal proceedings for alleged restrictive trade practices that took place during the Gaza War of 2008. In addition, the team is acting for Ashdod Port Company in proceedings arising out of the regulator's decision to declare the client a monopoly and impose administrative fines upon the company and its directors. Also recommended is Shani Rapoport, who advised CVC Group on its merger notice and request for exemption of a restrictive arrangement in relation to its acquisition of Teva's worldwide portfolio of women's health products. The team is also representing a number of Israeli bakers in a class action suit for an alleged restrictive arrangement following an investigation by the IAA.
With an enviable client base that includes companies in highly regulated sectors such as financial services and telecoms, Erdinast, Ben Nathan, Toledano & Co. is regularly involved in complex antitrust litigation and merger control mandates. Demonstrating the department's comprehensive capabilities, Michal Rothschild is representing yes, one of Israel's leading telecoms companies, in multiple cases before the IAA concerning licensing rights and royalties, and is also assisting the company with various obligations arising from its status as a concentrated entity under the Anti-Concentration Law. Acting alongside the litigation group, Rothschild is also acting for Nesher Israel Cement Enterprises in relation to a class action for abuse of dominant position; this is one of the largest class actions ever filed in Israel. Moreover, the team has handled merger control for clients including Bank Mizrahi-Tefahot, Israel Aerospace Industries, TMF Media, Yehshoua/TBWA, and Gitam BBDO.
The antitrust team at Eshel, Ashlagi, Rozent - Law Offices is engaged by plaintiffs in a range of complex antitrust litigation, but perhaps the best illustration of its market recognition comes in area of merger control, where the team is often approached specifically for its expertise in handling merger filings for high-value deals in heavily regulated industries. In one recent example, the group assisted Orbotech with the regulatory negotiations surrounding its $3.4bn acquisition by KLA-Tencor. Clients particularly single out Gal Rozent, whose 'experience as a former regulator provides clients with unique insight into IAA enforcement matters'. In the contentious space, Rozent is representing Israel Electric Corporation in a NIS3.8bn claim against Siemens, ABB and Alstom concerning the gas-insulated switchgear cartel; this is the largest single antitrust claim ever submitted in Israel. On the defence side, Rozent is acting for Galed - Journey to Remember Forever, a travel agency that arranges guided tours to concentration camps in Poland, in relation to a class action filed against it and other specialty travel agencies involving allegations of price fixing. The team also handles criminal cases brought by the antitrust authorities.
With particular strengths in merger control and complex regulatory issues, Goldfarb Seligman & Co.'s antitrust department has been involved in many of the market's largest deals, especially within heavily regulated sectors such as banking and telecoms. The department is led by Boaz Golan, who is hailed as 'one of Israel's most knowledgeable antitrust lawyers'. In addition to handling merger filings for a litany of M&A transactions, many of which are valued at well over $1bn, Golan provides ongoing antitrust advice to Hot Group in connection with its service infrastructure joint venture with Partner Communications Company. Further, the team has represented clients in the financial services and retail sectors in various proceedings before the IAA, and is also involved in a follow-on class action arising from the international Libor scandal.
Herzog Fox & Neeman's antitrust department attracts complex antitrust litigation and is adept at handling merger filings for multibillion-dollar deals requiring global coordination. Department head Talya Solomon is jointly representing Deutsche Lufthansa and Swiss International Air Lines in a class action concerning an alleged cartel in the global air cargo industry. The team is also acting for two senior officers of the Ashdod Port in connection with the first-ever administrative fines imposed by the IAA for abuse of monopolistic position. In the merger control space, the team, which includes Iris Achmon, handled IAA negotiations in relation to the merger of The Walt Disney Company and 21st Century Fox, Broadcom Corporation's proposed acquisition of Qualcomm, and Carlyle Group's acquisition of certain business activities of Akzo Nobel. Solomon also represented Arkia Israel Airlines in its opposition to a merger between El Al Israel Airlines and Israir Airlines.
Since the firm's founding in 2017, Krispin Rubinstein Blecher Law Offices has seen no dearth of complex regulatory antitrust work. Led by Noga Rubinstein, the team has been involved in some of the most novel antitrust issues in Israel; Rubinstein assisted IDE Technologies with innovative regulatory arrangements, allowing it to participate in a government tender for what is expected to be one of the world's largest desalination plants. Rubinstein is also acting for Israel Discount Bank and CAL in relation to initiatives to increase competition in the Israeli credit market. The department provides antitrust advice to Keshet Broadcasting, Reshet Media and Channel Ten in relation to their joint activities, and also provides a range of antitrust advice to Uber Israel. Contentious work has seen the team representing Tnuva in High Court proceedings concerning a price update for controlled dairy products.
M. Firon & Co Advocates and Notaries
M. Firon & Co Advocates and Notaries has an active merger control practice, and increasingly has been advising on issues associated with the Anti-Concentration Law. This includes advising on matters relating to initiatives to foster competition in various sectors, such as the credit sector, where the team advised MasterCard International on the implementation of a litany of new market regulations. The department is jointly led by Niv Sever and Mazor Matzkevich, the latter of whom achieved notable success in long-running litigation before the IAA regarding a bread industry cartel in Israel; Matzkevich's clients were the only individual defendants not to receive jail sentences. The department also has a busy merger control practice, which supports the firm's extensive M&A work.
Yossi Levy & Co has 'a depth of antitrust experience' that enables the team to 'quickly come to terms with a client's needs and identify all the potential options in each case'. Led by name partner Yossi Levy, the firm handles high-profile antitrust litigation and regulatory investigations, and has particular experience with the antitrust aspects of public and private tenders. The team advised the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Environmental Protection on the antitrust aspects of a tender for a massive waste treatment and recycling facility. High-profile litigation included Levy and department head Asaf Shubinsky representing two major multinational conglomerates in regulatory and civil lawsuits arising from the clients' alleged involvement in a global cartel. The team has also handled antitrust litigation for Partner Communications Company and LG Electronics Levant Jordan. Other key clients include Electra Group and Israel Ports Development & Assets Company.
The antitrust group at Amit, Pollak, Matalon & Co. Advocates and Notary has particular expertise in advising trade associations on Israeli antitrust laws, and has handled merger control issues and antitrust litigation for a number of clients in the food and media sectors. In the contentious space, practice head Ravit Arbel is representing Intellect MR in a case against the General Director of the IAA concerning a restrictive arrangement in the field of newspaper distribution; the claim is before the Supreme Court and has been cited by the IAA as one of the most prominent Israeli antitrust cases of 2018. Arbel and Eldad Koresh also assisted Reshet Media with the regulatory approval for its merger with Channel Ten - although the merger was cancelled by the client shortly after the IAA approval. Additionally, the team provides comprehensive antitrust advice to The Israeli Food Manufacturers Association, The Manufacturers Association of Israel, and Israel Builders Association Boney Ha'aretz, among others.
The antitrust team at Gornitzky & Co. is involved in regulatory procedures and antitrust litigation for major domestic corporates, and has assisted energy companies and bank lenders with operational issues arising from industry-specific antitrust regulations. In one example, Avner Finkelshtein represented Paz Oil Company in a regulatory hearing concerning an IAA report detailing competition in the marketing segment of Israel's petrol industry. Finkelshtein has also acted for ICL, Bazan and OPC in relation to restrictive arrangement exemption requests regarding gas supply agreements with Energian Israel. The team also represents clients such as Materna Industries and Osem in class actions regarding excessive pricing.
In addition to supporting one of the market's leading M&A practices, the antitrust department at Naschitz, Brandes, Amir & Co. is engaged by domestic corporates and household-name multinationals to advise on business-critical regulatory matters and antitrust litigation. Department head Golan Kaneti is assisting an industry-leading technology company with regulatory issues associated with its planned activities in Israel, and is also representing an individual in relation to a high-profile IAA cartel case. The team is also representing an international corporate in a follow-on claim arising out of an EU regulatory antitrust ruling. In addition, the department provides ongoing and transactional antitrust advice to corporate clients such as FIMI and Zappa.
Rotenberg & Co has maintained a solid base of clients for which it handles regulatory and legislative antitrust appeals, merger control and civil litigation. The antitrust department is headed by Amir Vang, who represented Gama Management & Clearing in hearings before the IAA and the Knesset concerning newly enacted legislation involving regulations governing payment service providers. Further, Vang is acting for The Central Bottling Company in multiple civil cases regarding excessive pricing. The team also represented The Central Distribution Company in an IAA hearing considering administrative sanctions for an alleged breach of competition orders. Additional contacts include managing partner Benjamin Rotenberg, and Boaz Sity, who was promoted to partner in 2018.
Clients of Shibolet & Co. with Raved, Magriso, Benkel & Co. can expect 'impressive response times' from 'fully engaged partners', who 'take the time to become deeply familiar with a client's business and industry needs'. The key figure in the antitrust team is Gil Rosenberg, who advises the firm's corporate clients on the merger control aspects associated with domestic and cross-border M&A; in that regard, the team advised Camtek on the requirements of regulatory approvals for a business sale transaction, and also assisted Castro Model with the merger filing for its acquisition of Hoodies. In the contentious space, Rosenberg and Helena Beilin are representing James Richardson Proprietary in a class action concerning excessive pricing at its Ben Gurion Airport locations.