EU and competition in London
The full-service competition team at Linklaters LLP attracts praise for its ‘outstanding competition law expertise and a strong dedication’. The London team forms a vital part of the firm’s global competition group, with the group able to offer seamless advice internationally. It also benefits from its alliances with leading firms in South Africa and Australia and links with firms in South-East Asia. The department has placed itself at the forefront of multiple significant mergers in the UK market including those in the technology sector. The firm's experience also spans the energy, healthcare and financial services sectors. On top of its merger control strength, the team also has considerable experience in complex investigations by law enforcement agencies. The ‘simply incredible’ Nicole Kar heads up the UK competition group, while Christian Ahlborn ‘manages large teams very well’ and serves as global competition group chair. Simon Pritchard is a key contact for Phase II merger investigations. Natura Gracia has in-depth knowledge of state aid and the regulated sectors. Recently promoted partner Anna Mitchell is also noted.
Other key lawyers:
‘Outstanding competition law expertise; strong dedication to client relationships.’
‘The Linklaters antitrust team is technically strong, particularly in matters with a financial services angle. Advice is presented clearly, and is commercially sound.’
‘Nicole Kar’s strategic advice was very valuable, particularly at the time in which we were liaising with the CMA. Her insights into the organisation were key.’
‘Christian Ahlborn is calm and balances legal analysis with commercial understanding. He has a solid understanding of what is important to our business, is never flustered and always right. He’s an outstanding merger control expert and impressively hard-working. A senior partner that goes deep into the trenches.’
‘Jonathan Ford is very responsive and a pleasure to work with – a very strong talent.’
‘Verity Egerton-Doyle is a superb senior associate who is also brilliant to work with and brings good ideas’
‘Anna Mitchell made us feel very supported at all times. She was practical, and insightful about how different approaches might play at the CMA.’
Stirling Square Capital Partners
Charter Court Financial Services Group
Thames Water / Anglian Water
- Advised E.ON on all competition aspects of E.ON and RWE Aktiengesellschaft’s €40bn asset swap, including E.ON’s acquisition of a 76.8% stake in Innogy.
- Assisted Stirling Square Capital Partners and the National Fostering Agency with its proposed £100m acquisition of Outcomes First Group.
- Advised leading Chinese steelmaker Jingye Group on the merger control, foreign investment and state aid implications of its agreement to acquire the business and certain assets of British Steel.
Slaughter and May
Acting across the full gamut of competition law issues, the work of Slaughter and May’s ‘first-class’ team spans complex merger control matters, antitrust investigations, market inquiries and consumer law issues. The London team often acts alongside its Brussels counterparts with practice head Philippe Chappatte and multiple other team members splitting their time between the two offices. The group is noted for its ability to handle high-profile Phase II investigations by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA); of recent note, a team led by Bertrand Louveaux acted for Deliveroo on the UK competition law aspects of Amazon’s acquisition of a 16% stake in the business. Claire Jeffs has considerable experience coordinating merger control issues worldwide. Meanwhile, alongside her general competition law expertise, Isabel Taylor is also highly regarded in the state aid law realm. Special adviser Jackie Holland acts for a mix of public and private sector clients.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is hardworking and commercial. It adopts a no-nonsense approach and provides advice that is concise and to the point.‘
‘A first-class team with formidable strength across all areas of competition law.‘
‘The team is simply the best there is. The lawyers are friendly and calm, and get results; they seem to have an infinite production-line of excellent associates coming through, so the firm can staff work at appropriate levels.‘
‘The practice has a depth of knowledge and experience in competition law. The expertise in terms of approach to issues has also being valuable in allowing us to collectively take decisions on how to prioritise and proceed with matters. The department’s reputation in this field is second to none.‘
‘Slaughter and May’s competition team comprises incredibly committed, intelligent, responsive and creative lawyers. They are eager to learn about new industries and products.‘
‘Bertrand Louveaux is outstanding – the most impressive competition lawyer we have worked with.‘
‘Isabel Taylor and Jackie Holland provide a seamless service with articulate, practical, thorough and, most importantly, clear and forthright advice. The team has our complete confidence and takes a proactive approach whilst also being responsive at all times.‘
‘Claire Jeffs knows the detail of each individual matter, while also remaining able to see the bigger picture.‘
British Airways / IAG
Daily Mail / General Trust
John Wood Group
Marsh & McLennan
Royal Dutch Shell
The Stars Group
- Advising Google in relation to various matters, including Google’s appeal before the European General Court of the European Commission’s AdSense for Search advertising services decision, as well as the CMA’s market study into online platforms and the digital advertising market.
- Advising Deliveroo on the UK Competition and Markets Authority’s Phase II investigation into Amazon’s acquisition of a minority interest in the company.
- Advising Dignity, one of the UK’s largest providers of funeral services, on the CMA’s market investigation into funerals and crematoria services.
The ‘effective’ and ‘dedicated’ competition law team at Allen & Overy LLP ‘provides the full package of services’, advising on merger control and behavioural issues, market investigations and state aid. In light of the regulator’s expanding focus on national security concerns and consumer protection considerations, the team is increasingly being instructed in relation to foreign investments and antitrust work in these areas. A&O's high profile client base includes corporations, public sector bodies and banks, with the firm's experience spanning sectors including TMT, energy and infrastructure, and financial services, among others. Splitting his time between London and Brussels, Antonio Bavasso serves as co-chair of the global antitrust practice. Mark Friend leads the UK antitrust group, where Alasdair Balfour, Philip Mansfield, Dominic Long and counsel Thomas Masterman are also standout practitioners.
‘Responsiveness, high quality, thoroughness, reliability – Allen & Overy provides the full package of services in competition law.‘
‘Excellent technical knowledge, coupled with an ability to quickly and seamlessly understand the client’s business and grasp the key issues from a competition or antitrust point of view.‘
‘The team is incredibly effective, dedicated and a joy to work with.’
‘Excellent team that provides clear advice at each step of the process. Like many lawyers in this space, the team is extremely knowledgeable about the law and emerging trends; what distinguishes them is their ability to explain complex law in a straightforward manner and to provide very practical and actionable advice.‘
‘I have worked with Antonio Bavasso and his team on a number of EU law and competition law matters. He has an exceptional understanding of the relevant law, excellent judgement, and superb skills in dealing efficiently and sensitively with clients.‘
‘Mark Friend is a deep thinker – extremely experienced, with a great grasp of relevant case law.‘
‘Dominic Long is very smart, energetic and highly committed to fulfilling clients’ needs. I value his ability to distinguish between theoretical and real risks, as applicable in the context of my company. He puts a lot of thought into his advice and it is clear that it is tailored for our specific situation.‘
‘Counsel Thomas Masterman is a superb competition lawyer. Technically, he is very strong, but more importantly for us, he also has the ability to apply his knowledge to the specific commercial context and discern what the real risk is for the client. He quickly became familiar with the competition considerations applicable to our business and provided tailored, practical advice that adds real value to our decision-making.‘
21st Century Fox
Marks and Spencer
News Corp / News UK
Direct Line Group
AP Moller Maersk
Lloyds Banking Group
Walgreens Boots Alliance
Mubadala Investment Company PJSC
Deutsche Bank AG
The Blackstone Group
Edenred Fleet and Mobility SAS
Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
Endemol Shine Group
Standard Chartered Bank
Brookfield Asset Management
The Gym Group
- Assisting Refinitiv, Blackstone and Thomson Reuters with the merger clearance of the $27bn acquisition of Refinitiv by the London Stock Exchange Group.
- Acting for Qatar Petroleum, the largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) company in the world, in relation to the investigation by the European Commission into the supply of LNG into Europe.
- Assisting UK defence sector leader Cobham with its £4bn takeover by US private equity firm Advent International.
Praised by clients for its partner-led approach, Ashurst focuses on market investigations, regulatory issues and merger control advice. Alongside its strong relationship with the Competition and Markets Authority, the team prides itself on its work with multiple regulators, including Ofcom and the Financial Conduct Authority. The London team mainly finds itself working alongside its Brussels-based counterparts, but also often acts alongside colleagues in France, Germany, Italy and Australia. It also relies on the expertise of the firm's in-house team of economists. Nigel Parr and Euan Burrows jointly lead the group. Neil Cuninghame, Duncan Liddell and recently promoted partner Steven Vaz are also key contacts.
‘Ashurst is professional, conscientious, and more than able to provide strategic advice.‘
‘The team adopts a partner-led approach, with highly experienced partner input at all times.‘
‘Very deep sector knowledge, coupled with a practical application of the legislative and regulatory landscape.‘
‘An extremely knowledgeable and capable team, which is very pleasant to deal with and stays at the cutting edge of the latest competition law developments.‘
‘This team is second to none. Nigel Parr and Steven Vaz are the brightest competition lawyers I have ever worked with in any jurisdiction. It is an absolute pleasure to work with them. The advice is stellar and the communication is clear. Also, the in-house economists provide the same level of services as bigger consultancies do.‘
‘Nigel Parr is a pragmatic industry leader who has a deep understanding of our sector and our business.‘
‘Euan Burrows is thoughtful, articulate and very quick. Euan can provide outstanding guidance on strategic and tactical issues.‘
Petrochemical Industries Company
Abu Dhabi National Oil Company
Lloyd’s Banking Group
Liberty House Group
Western Power Distribution
- Advised Economy Energy Trading in connection with Ofgem’s first full investigation into anti-competitive agreements in the energy sector.
- Advised Hargreave Hale in relation to the Financial Conduct Authority’s competition law investigation into four asset management firms.
- Acted for Abu Dhabi National Oil Company on key antitrust issues relating to its $5.8bn sale of a 35% stake in its refining business to European oil and gas players, ENI and OMV.
Clifford Chance LLP's ‘very commercial and pragmatic team' remains one of the most active players in the merger control space, leveraging its global strength to advise on international matters. Investigations conducted by the authorities in the UK and the EU are also strengths for the group. Department head Greg Olsen is a preferred adviser for work in the financial services, consumer goods, retail and media sectors. In the regulatory space, the team benefits from the experience of Nelson Jung, who previously served as director of the Competition and Markets Authority’s Mergers Group. Jenine Hulsmann is regularly instructed by clients active in the energy, infrastructure and TMT sectors. Alex Nourry is also highly recommended.
‘Very experienced lawyers. Fantastic client care and service.‘
‘Clifford Chance’s competition team has extensive knowledge on all topics involving UK and European competition law. As an in-house counsel, I need to know that my outside counsel can provide me with quick and practical advice, which I can easily take to the company for implementation; I can rely on the team to provide me with that quick support, which is invaluable. In particular, the team has extensive experience when it comes to merger review cases across multiple jurisdictions, investigations and e-commerce matters.‘
‘The group has a very commercial and pragmatic attitude and understands our business well.‘
‘The team is top-notch; it includes world-class experts who are great to work with.‘
‘Nelson Jung is the best antitrust lawyer we work with globally. He has a very good understanding of the law and of global trends and is pleasant to work with. In light of his past experience, it is particularly valuable that he has worked on both sides of the table.‘
‘Greg Olsen is one of our go-to partners for antitrust advice in the context of mergers and investigations. Greg provides practical and efficient advice. He understands our company and our strategy and works well with both in-house counsel and businessmen. He is a great advocate for our company.‘
‘Greg Olsen is an excellent antitrust expert; beyond that, he understands the problems that in-house counsel and companies can face. This is reflected in his advice which is always clear and easily applied to an in-house environment. He is always available when needed, which is of great comfort.‘
‘Jenine Hulsmann is also an extremely impressive individual, and, uniquely, combines a first-tier practice in contentious and non-contentious competition law work. She is acting for defendants in at least half a dozen contentious matters before the CMA. Her sectoral knowledge of litigation in areas such as pharma and telecoms is second to none. She is ably assisted by first-tier associates like Chris Chapman, who is already operating at partner level.’
Comcast / NBCUniversal
EE / BT
- Advised Comcast and NBCUniversal on the European Commission’s investigation into the cross-border licensing of premium pay TV content.
- Advised MasterCard on the European Commission’s five-year antitrust investigation into MasterCard’s inter-regional interchange fee and cross-border acquiring rules.
- Advised Inmarsat on the merger control and foreign investment elements of its takeover by a consortium formed of funds advised by Apax Partners LLP, Warburg Pincus LLC, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
The competition, regulation and trade group at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP ‘provides an excellent combination of first-class technical expertise with a client-focused approach’. Its workload showcases a strength in merger control work, as well as cartel and antitrust investigations. For EU law and state aid matters, the team relies on the capabilities of colleagues in Brussels. Veronica Roberts is a key contact for work at the forefront of foreign investment regulation, while key sectors for the team include TMT, aviation, pharmaceuticals and consumer products. Managing partner Stephen Wisking heads the department, where Kim Dietzel, Susan Black and of counsel Suzy Campbell are also noted. The group bolstered its capabilities to handle matters involving the Asian competition authorities with the relocation of Mark Jephcott from Hong Kong to London.
Other key lawyers:
‘Very approachable and commercial‘
‘Herbert Smith Freehills provides an excellent combination of first-class technical expertise with a client-focused approach.‘
‘Three things set Herbert Smith Freehills apart from others. First, the lawyers’ mastery of the facts and their understanding of how the industry works was impressive and extremely important in getting the deal approved. Second, they were incredibly familiar with the CMA’s internal workings and accurately predicted how the staff would respond to various requests and arguments. Third, they were very effective advocates with the CMA; every time the staff threw up a roadblock or an objection, the HSF team went to work to get it sorted out.‘
‘Veronica Roberts is excellent – responsive, knowledgeable and very approachable.‘
‘Susan Black is technically brilliant and able to clearly explain complex principles in layman’s language.‘
‘Susan Black is a first-rate lawyer.‘
‘Kim Dietzel is highly personable and insightful; she is our go-to adviser for dawn raid advice.‘
Virgin Atlantic Airways
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
EDF Energy / Nuclear New Build Generation Company
- Advising Bauer Media on a series of key strategic acquisitions in the rapidly consolidating UK commercial radio sector.
- Advising Uber Technologies on the merger control aspects of its $3.1bn acquisition of Careem.
- Advising Virgin Atlantic Airways in relation to the consortium rescue takeover offer for Flybe Group.
Baker McKenzie is renowned for its expertise in merger control and investigations, where it acts for a notable mix of blue-chip clients. The group is active at the UK and EU level, and routinely handles multi-jurisdictional mandates by drawing on the expertise of the practice's extensive worldwide network. Clients recommend EMEA competition group chair Luis Gomez for his expertise concerning vertical restraints of competition. Keith Jones sits at the helm of the UK competition group and receives commendation for ‘the great combination of a sharp mind, huge experience and a practical approach’. December 2019 saw the departure of investigations expert Nicola Northway.
‘A team of excellent professionals with a highly business-focused and pragmatic attitude.‘
‘The integrated practice can draw on the skills of specialists across the world. Very practical and great to work with.‘
‘Extremely dedicated to client relationships, very proactive, with unique global coverage and outstanding global knowledge management.‘
‘Luis Gomez is always available; we value his pragmatic advice, particularly in respect to vertical issues.‘
‘The pragmatic and relaxed personality of Keith Jones is important in client relationships. He ensures that the client has access to the best team member suitable for a particular task.‘
‘Keith Jones has the great combination of a sharp mind, huge experience and a practical approach.‘
Willis Towers Watson
Archer Daniels Midland
- Assisted Platinum Equity with obtaining global merger control clearance for its $2bn acquisition of Wesco Aircraft Holdings.
- Advised UK-based GlaxoSmithKline in relation to its new joint venture with Pfizer to form a global consumer healthcare business, creating the world’s biggest supplier of over-the-counter medicines.
- Advising Japanese conglomerate Hitachi on merger control filings and foreign direct investment reviews concerning the $11bn acquisition of Swiss engineering group ABB.
Hogan Lovells International LLP’s recent workload testifies to its strength in merger control matters; a team led by Ciara Kennedy-Loest acted in conjunction with the Washington DC- and Brussels offices in assisting IBM with the global merger clearance aspects of its $34bn acquisition of Red Hat Inc. Cartel and abuse of dominance investigations are also the department's strong suit; global group co-head Suyong Kim has extensive experience in this regard. Angus Coulter heads the UK competition department and has sector-specific expertise in TMT, life sciences and retail. Managing partner Susan Bright focuses on multi-jurisdictional matters, including Africa-related mandates. Another key team member is Mark Jones, who is 'very responsive and commercial in his advice'.
The Hogan Lovells’ team are dedicated to delivering clear and balanced advice. They are collaborative and easy to work with. They strive to understand the substance of the matters they work on to make sure the advice they give is robust.
Angus Coulter is a reassuring presence who holds the respect of senior executives at large corporates.
Chris Hutton is clever and able to work on a wide range of different issues. He works well with others to deliver high quality advice to his clients.
Very approachable. Equally happy to give a quick view or provide detailed analysis as needed.
Mark Jones is my go to person for competition law queries – very responsive and commercial in his advice.
Anschutz Entertainment Group
- Advised IBM on the worldwide antitrust merger clearance aspects of its acquisition of Red Hat Inc. valued at $34bn.
- Advising Bottomline Technologies on the UK merger control aspects of its acquisition of certain assets from Experian.
- Assisted Arris International with all aspects of the multi-jurisdictional merger control filing and review process of its $7.4bn acquisition by CommScope Vision.
Kirkland & Ellis International LLP has cemented a market-leading position in the merger control space, where clients laud its ‘expert advice, professionalism and real commercial application’. Of particular note, the group’s recent work in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors stands out - it acted for Bristol-Myers Squibb on its $74bn acquisition of Celgene – one of the largest merger transactions in the industry to date. The competition team, which is headed by the 'knowledgeable, patient and cool under pressure' Paula Riedel, benefits from the firm’s established reputation in the private equity space. Sarah Jordan, Sally Evans and recently promoted partner Annie Herdman are also noted.
‘The team has a very good understanding of the antitrust implications that need to be considered for any potential or completed transaction. Thorough diligence is completed to ensure that we have a clear view on the potential outcomes, should we proceed with a transaction.‘
‘Expert advice, professionalism and real commercial application. The lawyers understand the client’s business and requirements quickly and simplify a hugely complex workstream – this ensures that the client always feels in control.‘
‘The team is knowledgeable and hardworking and is incredibly responsive, even when working with US clients during US business hours. Strong capabilities in coordinating filings across multiple global jurisdictions.‘
‘Never presented problems, only solutions. Team members are approachable and leveraged good professional relationships with the regulators.‘
‘Paula Riedel is knowledgeable, patient and cool under pressure. Paula has experience with high-value matters raising antitrust concerns.‘
‘Sarah Jordan is always on hand to answer questions and provide guidance on potential antitrust issues.‘
Olympus Partners / Liqui-Box
TDR Capital LLP / Stonegate Pub Company
Avaya Holdings Corp.
Cerberus Capital Management
Vista Equity Partners
- Acted for GlaxoSmithKline on its £10bn acquisition of control over Pfizer’s global consumer health business; work included merger control filings in over twenty jurisdictions.
- Assisted Bristol-Myers Squibb with its $74bn acquisition of Celgene.
- Representing Stonegate Pub Company in its public bid for EI Group, aiming at the formation of the largest owner and operator of pubs in the UK.
Distinguished by its ‘thoughtful and commercial analysis’, Latham & Watkins’ ‘wonderful’ team is known for its complex work on mergers, regulatory investigations and competition enforcement. The department bolstered its antitrust capabilities with the arrival of David Little from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in October 2019. In addition to its London presence, the team is also able to rely on the firm’s offering in Brussels, the US and Asia. Jonathan Parker formerly occupied a high position at the Competition and Mergers Authority and shares leadership of the practice with John Colahan, who has significant contentious and non-contentious experience.
‘Latham and Watkins’ London competition team is first class, easily comparing to any other leading firm in London. They mix a top merger practice with other aspects of contentious and non-contentious competition law matters.’
‘Jonathan Parker is undoubtedly a leading UK merger lawyer of his generation but is also equally at home in cartel matters, abuse of dominance, and competition litigation. He is destined for great things. He is well supported by new hire, David Little and an able associate team.’
‘Provide thoughtful, commercial analysis of the issues, and leverage the considerable intellectual heft of their colleagues from other departments whenever needed.’
‘Very creative and convey a sense of being genuinely invested when seeking solutions to otherwise-intractable issues. That combination of creativity and shared-ownership of the problems sets them apart’.
‘John Colahan: excellent understanding of the workings of the CMA. An excellent partner who can get deals through – he has great strategic and tactical guile’
‘David Little: a very solid recent addition to the Latham team. They have done well.’
‘Latham & Watkins has a wonderful, broad team of lawyers in its London and Brussels offices offering EU and competition services. It is the ability to offer both excellent deal services and Article 101 / 102 experience (and national equivalents) that sets it apart from many firms.’
‘Excellent UK experience and a “go to” for UK merger matters.’
Electro Rent Corporation
Thomas Cook Group
InterXion Holding N.V.
ACCO Brands Corporation
- Represented iZettle, a Swedish financial technology company, in connection with the UK CMA’s Phase II investigation of the company’s acquisition by PayPal.
- Advised LN-Gaiety Holdings, a joint venture between Live Nation and Gaiety Investments Unlimited Company, in relation to the CMA’s Phase II investigation of its proposed acquisition of MCD Productions.
- Advising multiple entities of Renesas Electronics in relation to a novel hybrid follow-on / standalone damages claim issued by 15 group companies in the digital security sector in relation to the European Commission’s smart card chips decision.
The experience of Macfarlanes LLP’ ‘professional and thorough’ competition team spans multi-jurisdictional merger control advice, state aid, compliance and investigations by UK and EU regulators. Alongside its acclaimed work in the pharmaceutical sector, the group is also very active in the media, financial services, manufacturing, retail and consumer goods sectors. Malcolm Walton leads the practice, where clients also single out Cameron Firth, senior counsel Fiona Beattie and Tom Usher.
‘A very professional and thorough team‘
‘Macfarlanes’ lawyers have unparalleled expertise, they are calm and unruffled, quite simply the best in the business.‘
‘The team is very knowledgeable, flexible and responsive whenever we need support, both on self-contained matters which need quick advice or longer-term projects..‘
‘Macfarlanes’ competition team delivers advice of exceptionally high quality. Tom Usher deserves a special mention. Tom combines crystal clear commercial advice with a fantastic and friendly approach to client service. It is a delight to work with him.‘
‘Malcolm Walton is a strong leader and is developing the practice very well.‘
‘Cameron Firth is highly commercial in his advice, but will not sugar-coat it when he thinks the risk profile is problematic. He is excellent with senior colleagues because he is decisive and clear in his advice but also really open to challenge and can absorb a lot of pressure.‘
‘Fiona Beattie will always bring a lot of creative thinking to our issues, particularly as she knows our business really well. She is a great team player, endlessly good-humoured and clear in her advice, even when events are moving quickly.’
Norton Rose Fulbright offers a wide range of services relating to merger control issues, cartel investigations, state aid work and market investigations. The department focuses on multi-jurisdictional work and acts for an enviable roster of global corporations; its efficiency is further enhanced through its access to the firm’s global network comprising over 200 competition lawyers worldwide. Other areas of focus are Brexit- and national security-related mandates. Peter Scott chairs the global antitrust group, while Ian Giles heads up the UK-based department. Mark Tricker is recommended.
Ian Giles is the most service oriented and customer-centric lawyer I have worked with.
It goes without saying that NRF knows the law, but one of its strengths includes its ability to explain nuances of competition law in terms that lay-persons understand and appreciate.
Mark Tricker – I would not go to anyone else for an EU / UK issue. He is always available, will turn work quickly, is commercially pragmatic, approachable and an incredibly smart and astute lawyer.
One of the best teams you can find on the London legal market. Outstanding subject matter expertise supported by in-depth industry and market knowledge and tailored business-partnering approach. Not your usual legal services provider but a true business partner.
While the London legal market is quite crowded, NRF’s competition team (and Ian Giles specifically) stands out for their out of the box/ complex, but at the same time business-friendly, solutions.
Ian Giles, exceptional professionalism, subject matter expertise, practical, customer-focused, outstanding interpersonal skills
Mark Simpson – strong antitrust lawyer with extensive knowledge of the Telco sector. Easy to work with.
Delta Air Lines
Coca-Cola European Partners
Wyelands Capital / Liberty House
- Achieved an unconditional clearance in acting for PayPal on the CMA’s Phase II review of PayPal’s completed $2.2bn acquisition of iZettle.
- Acting for HSBC in defending one of the European Commission’s top-priority cartel investigations in recent years and successfully challenged HSBC’s fine before the European General Court.
- Acting for PwC on the CMA’s high-profile market study into the UK statutory audit market.
Pinsent Masons LLP
Reflective of wider market trends, Pinsent Masons LLP’s department is increasingly being instructed in relation to consumer law investigations before the CMA, with Angelique Bret specialising in this work. Global group head Alan Davis is noted for his digital markets practice. Following last year’s arrival of life sciences antitrust specialist Robert Vidal, the department has continued its expansion streak with another partner hire – Totis Kotsonis joined from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP in March 2020; with the arrival broadening the team’s offering in state aid. Former practice head Guy Lougher retired.
Pinsents have enormous scale and scope in their UK competition law practice, covering the full range of mergers, cartels, anticompetitive agreements, abuse of dominance, state aid. It is hard to think of a UK practice with such deep and wide coverage across the full gamut of competition law. I also think that Pinsent’s regional coverage is a major plus for the firm, setting it apart from virtually all other London practices
Alan Davis is one of the savviest competition lawyers in London. He has enormous experience and impeccable judgement. He moves seamlessly between complex competition litigation and merger control, allowing a cross-disciplinary approach to competition law.
Angelique Bret is a versatile lawyer with the Midas touch with clients, also having an uncanny ability to calm even the most difficult client. Recent hires such as partner Robert Vidal show that the practice is always looking to add quality.
Confident, competent and empathetic. Get to the point quickly and don’t unnecessarily complicate matters or over-work issues.
Sound understanding of key issues and ability to grapple with matters in clear, strategic way.
Particularly strong experience in CMA infringement cases involving the infrastructure and construction sector. Good working relationships with officers at the CMA. Strong track record across lead partners allowing for a sharing of experience in this highly experiential area of law.
Robert Vidal is a hugely experienced lawyer in the life sciences competition field. Creative, pragmatic, and enjoyable to work with.
- Acted for Post Office on the acquisition of Payzone Bill Payments from Payzone UK.
- Acted for Google in response to an abuse of dominance claim brought against the client by Unlock’d.
- Advising Sun Pharmaceuticals on its appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union, following a European Commission decision to impose total fines of €146m in relation to reverse payment settlement agreements.
Addleshaw Goddard utilises its ‘good technical knowledge and wide-ranging experience’ to handle high-profile antitrust investigations conducted by both the CMA and sector-specific regulators, market investigations, as well as merger control matters. Clients laud the ‘reassuring nature which instils confidence’ of practice head Bruce Kilpatrick, who has an abundance of experience in multi-jurisdictional merger control matters. Manchester-based Mark Molyneux leads the group’s contentious offering. Rona Bar-Isaac is a ‘trusted adviser’ in the water and retail sectors.
Consistently excellent across all levels .They are excellent at project delivery, and write compelling submissions to courts and regulators (including developing compelling evidence) and are good advocates. They guarantee active partner engagement and focus on securing great outcomes and giving crystal clear advice (they do not sit on the fence). The emphasis on work being partner led supports them being focused on the matters and issues that make the most difference to case outcomes. In short, they have a stand out team.
Bruce Kilpatrick is a market leader: he is very clever, thinks matters through carefully (taking on board and developing the ideas of clients and other advisers), and is really good at developing the case.
Rona Bar-Isaac is very strategic as to the key evidence to land. She is technically good while being commercial and being prepared to go the extra mile to understand her client’s business and what is important to them. She understands the technicalities but can cut through this to work in a way clients understand and gets to the key issues
Mark Molyneux fits in really well with the competition team and provides seamless and integrated competition/litigation advice.
The AG team has the full repertoire that you would expect but the thing that makes the practice unique is their user friendliness. They have all the technical excellence and are brilliant in the support they provide – they can pretty much handle anything – but it’s the way that they take ownership and the ease in which they integrate that makes them really stand out.
Bruce Kilpatrick – his technical know-how is amongst the best I have seen. He has a calm and reassuring nature which instils confidence. A pleasure to work with and a real asset
Al Mangan – is a very gifted lawyer, who is a pleasure to work with. He is very calm, and really looks to put the client at the centre of the advice he provides.
AG provides high calibre antitrust advice without the arrogance of some of its intellectual and technical peers.
JD Sports Fashion
Road Haulage Association
Office Depot Europe
British American Tobacco
Scotia Gas Networks
Department for Transport
- Advised JD Sports on the merger control aspects of JD Sports’ £90m acquisition of Footasylum.
- Advising The Co-operative Group in relation to the CMA’s funerals market investigation.
- Advising NKT Group on ground-breaking competition litigation cases.
Bristows LLP’s competition skills in the life sciences and TMT sectors would be difficult to match, with their work including fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND), patent licensing and related contentious issues, among others. The group has carved out a notable reputation for handling complex issues arising at the intersection of IP and competition law; this also involves the management of a specialised blog – The Clip Board. The team is also able to turn to its Brussels-based colleagues for EU law issues. Deputy Judge of the High Court Pat Treacy heads the practice. Stephen Smith and Sophie Lawrance are also key members in the team.
One of a very select group of competition lawyers that understands intellectual property. This is the result of Bristows’ large intellectual property practice.
Extremely pragmatic. Looked for liberating solutions rather than looking to close doors as other lawyers might have done.
Steve Smith has shown true professionalism during a recent case. He is objective, clear, nice and coordinates the work in a very efficient way.
By far and away, one of the best firms we have worked with. Truly knowledgeable in the sector, extremely responsive and a delight to work with. They are not like other law firms
Very solid and well structured team, with unparalleled experience in high tech cases. Highly responsive and fun to work with. A big plus is the close integration with the patent and technology practices of the firm, allowing the team to command the most complex cases.
Pat Treacy is a star for high tech competition cases and, in general, all cases at the interface between IP and antritrust. She is highly regarded and – in my experience – unanimously seen as one of the leading figures in Europe in this field.
Sophie Lawrence is widely recognised and very talented.
Hunter Douglas N.V.
Stada / Thornton & Ross
- Advised GlaxoSmithKline on the overhaul of its pharmaceutical distribution in the UK, moving away from a direct-to-pharmacy model to a reduced-wholesaler model.
- Assisting Dutch-listed company Hunter Douglas with all aspects of the UK merger investigation by the CMA into its completed acquisition of 247 Home Furnishings.
- Advised UK-based OTC medicine manufacturer Thornton & Ross and its Germany-based parent pharmaceutical group Stada Arzneimittel AG on the competition and merger control aspects of their acquisition of five established consumer healthcare brands from GlaxoSmithKline.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP’s ‘incredibly supportive’ antitrust and competition team is consistently engaged on high-value merger control issues and competition investigations. In addition, the group is praised by clients for its state aid advice; Chris Bryant is the key contact in this space. Andrew Hockley heads the global competition group and specialises in the energy and regulated utilities sectors, while the team is also adept at handling mandates in the financial services sector. Associate director Sarah Ward is also a key member of the team. James Marshall departed to Covington & Burling LLP in March 2020.
Exceptional knowledge. Excellent planning and case management. First rate communication. Comprehensive guidance and advice on the case and its likely progression.
The team provide very clear advice and communication. Incredibly supportive and very easy to work with. They develop and nurture excellent relationships with clients. Exceptionally hard working as well.
In-depth knowledge of a complex, technical and difficult sector, particularly state aid.
Chris Bryant is a state aid expert with the ability to explain difficult, technical legal concepts in simple terms.
Associated British Food
- Advised Flybe in relation to the competition law and merger control aspects of its sale, under a Formal Sale Process under the UK Takeovers Code, to Connect Airways.
- Acting for Heathrow Airport on competition and regulatory issues concerning all areas of the client’s business.
- Acted for premium listed automotive business BCA Marketplace in connection with the EU merger control aspects of a £1.9bn take-private offer by TDR Capital.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
As a consequence of the firm’s global reputation in this space, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton’s team in London acts on the competition law aspects of significant and complex M&A transactions. Other areas of strength are antitrust investigations, market studies and contentious work. The London team works closely on EU issues with colleagues in Brussels, with multiple team members splitting their time between the two cities. Maurits Dolmans, Nicholas Levy, and counsels Paul Gilbert and Paul Stuart are the standout practitioners.
Merck & Co.
The Walt Disney Company
The Coca-Cola Company
- Assisting Google with its $2.6bn cash acquisition of Looker Data Sciences.
- Acting for Merck & Co. and Merck Sharp & Dohme in an antitrust investigation before the Competition and Markets Authority.
- Acting as counsel to Ecolab in its application to the Competition Appeal Tribunal for a review of the Competition and Markets Authority’s decision to require from Ecolab to unwind its completed acquisition of The Holchem Group.
CMS’ team consists of ‘true experts’, whose skills are particularly appreciated by clients in relation to clearance of UK joint ventures, market investigations, competition enforcement and compliance strategy. The practice places an emphasis on the healthcare and life sciences, financial services, media, energy and consumer products sectors. In addition to her general competition law work, department co-head Caroline Hobson is recommended for providing advice regarding public procurement matters giving rise to competition law issues. The wide-ranging experience of practice co-head Brian Sher spans behavioural and merger control work.
- Advised Ei Group on its £3bn acquisition by Stonegate Pub Company, creating the largest pub group in the UK.
- Assisted Alliance Pharmaceuticals with handling allegations of market sharing by the CMA.
- Advised GlaxoSmithKline in relation to the paroxetine “reverse patent settlement” case, the first-ever reference from the Competition Appeal Tribunal to the European Court of Justice.
Dentons is well-versed in multi-jurisdictional matters in the areas of merger control and competition investigations. Its successful performance is enhanced through the firm’s extensive global presence and its cooperation with firms participating in its NextLaw Network. Also worthy of note, the group utilises online resources to provide competition compliance training. Adrian Magnus leads the practice, which routinely acts alongside the firm’s corporate group for clients in the real estate, energy, transport and financial services sectors. Christopher Graf is also noted.
The Dentons team is highly professional and effective and understands us a client very well.
Christopher Graf and Sophie Albrighton were the perfect team members to support us in the best way possible. I can highly recommend them to all other clients.
Avis Budget Group
Royal Mail Group
John Lewis / Waitrose
World Fuel Services
Sita Information Networking Computing
- Advised KPS Capital Partners on merger control aspects of the $490m acquisition of LifeFitness from Brunswick Corporation.
- Advising Informa on multi-jurisdictional merger control aspects of a purchase.
- Advised Total Marketing on competition aspects of Total’s acquisition, together with Saudi Aramco, of the Sahel petrol station business in Saudi Arabia and the formation of a joint venture to operate the acquired business.
DLA Piper’s ‘bright, friendly and responsive’ department handles a large volume of mandates involving complex merger control considerations in the UK and internationally. Other primary fields of expertise include investigations and competition enforcement, regulatory issues, compliance and commercial agreements. The group often acts hand in glove with the firm’s corporate practice, but also routinely cooperates with sector-specific teams on matters in the pharmaceutical, media, manufacturing, retail and sports sectors, among others. The practice is led by the trio Sam Szlezinger, Alexandra Kamerling and Sarah Smith.
Good, properly integrated competition and litigation team. Did a very good in managing a CMA investigation and managing client risks, including those associated with subsequent litigation.
Highly commercial firm, and a real focus on giving commercial and pragmatic advice.
Sam Szlezinger is a class act, is actively involved and knows the detail. He is ably assisted by Richard Jenkinson, who is highly competent and really thinks through issues.
Bright, friendly and responsive team with lots to offer at a good price.
Sarah Smith – practical and commercial, responsive, thoughtful and at ease in commercial environment. She is excellent, with sound judgement and understands the needs of the client.
Metal and Waste Recycling
- Advised longstanding client John Menzies on its acquisition of Airline Services during the pre-notification, Phase I and Phase II stages of the CMA’s review of the transaction.
- Acting for Lupin in its long-running appeal against the European Commission’s anti-trust decision in the perindopril investigation.
- The team acted for multinational chemicals company INEOS on its $1.1bn acquisition of the composites business of Ashland Group, as well as Ashland’s butanediol facility in Germany.
Competition law boutique Euclid Law houses ‘excellent competition law specialists with impeccable pedigree and great experience’. Since its launch five years ago, the group has established itself as a popular destination for blue-chip clients due to its exclusively partner-led approach to high-profile mergers and high-profile UK and EU investigations. The majority of the team split their time between London and Brussels; Oliver Bretz, Gavin Robert, Marie Leppard and Sarah Long are the key contacts. Becket McGrath joined from Cooley (UK) LLP in mid-2020.
Other key lawyers:
‘Exceptional expertise, excellent value for money, proven results and high profile professionals’
‘ A very thorough, professional, well connected firm that is very dedicated to its clients and with proven achievements’
‘Oliver Bretz is a long time recognised star of competition law in the EU. He is a brilliant lawyer; always providing creative solutions without over-complicating. His advice is clear, straightforward and commercial, even in what may appear to be extremely complex matters’
‘I am always very impressed with Oliver Bretz’s big-picture approach to issues and creative ideas for making the regulatory process work for clients. He definitely sees the “forest.”‘
‘Gavin Roberts brings long experience to questions of strategy in competition matters – he is a strong individual’
‘Competition law specialists with unrivalled experience and expertise. They consistently impressed with the quality of work and are commercial, pragmatic and innovative thinkers. Highly recommend.’
‘Excellent competition law specialists with impeccable pedigree and great experience. They are very well connected and can tailor their scope (and costs) to provide either full support or ad hoc advice as required. Very approachable and responsive.’
‘They give honest, unvarnished advice and get to the point quickly. This is highly efficient as it saves time and money for the client. The experience of partners such as Oliver Bretz and Gavin Robert means that the firm deliver very high quality advice at a relatively low cost.’
London Stock Exchange Group
Johnson & Johnson
- Successfully defended a pharmaceutical company in relation to the CMA’s investigations into anti-competitive agreements and conduct in the pharmaceutical sector.
- Successfully represented Unlockd in its high-profile injunction application against Google in the High Court.
- Acting for the London Stock Exchange Group on its acquisition of Refinitiv, as supporting adviser on EU merger control.
Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP prides itself on rendering a full range of state aid services. The practice is prominent in the merger control realm; it is currently handling multiple Phase II investigations before the CMA. The team’s strong suit on the abuse of dominance and cartel investigations front also stands out, particularly in the pharmaceutical sector; with practice head Ros Kellaway and Julia Woodward-Carlton noted for this work. State aid specialist Totis Kotsonis departed to Pinsent Masons LLP.
‘The team combines top quality advice with a search for pragmatic solutions. The level of dedication is outstanding and provides the comfort one needs when confronted with delicate competition law issues.’
‘Ros Kellaway is very engaged – the trusted adviser anybody would like to have access to. She masters the field of competition law to such an extent that she can make it accessible to non-specialists. She is a great colleague to work with.’
‘Cost-effective and expert competition law advice’
‘A very experienced team, active on a range of important competition matters spanning merger control, behavioural work, and antitrust damages. They understand their clients well and also the competition authorities and regulators that they deal with on a regular basis. This combination allows them to produce a legal strategy that meets the client’s needs while at the same time is acceptable to the authority.’
‘Peter Harper is excellent. He cares a lot about client service and is fully on top of the details of each matter. He is very good at challenging and stress testing the legal and economic approach to ensure it is as robust as possible.’
Volkswagen Group UK
- Representing Aspen Holdings in a high-profile competition law investigation by the CMA into alleged abuse of dominance and anti-competitive agreements in the pharmaceutical sector.
Reed Smith LLP
Reed Smith LLP has significant experience handling merger clearance procedures and UK and EU investigations. The department is praised for its ‘extensive knowledge and experience in competition law in the shipping sector’; Marjorie Holmes is a standout practitioner in this space. Holmes took up sole leadership of the practice following the retirement of former department co-head Edward Miller from the partnership; Miller currently serves as a consultant. The group bolstered its ability to act before UK regulators and the European Commission with the appointment of Ross Mackenzie, who joined from Ashurst in May 2020.
‘Ross Mackenzie is a very competent competition partner who is very good at anticipating issues before they arise. Ross can handle a variety of competition law matters, provides advice on the spot and has a wonderful sense of humour.‘
‘Extensive knowledge and experience in competition law in the shipping sector.’
‘Marjorie Holmes is very responsive and exceptionally knowledgeable. Marjorie has unique experience advising on vessel sharing agreements in maritime container liner shipping.’
‘Reed Smith have been an excellent partner to my in-house legal teams. I found them to be a firm that actually believes in building longstanding relationships with organisations and individuals too. They want to talk to me even when they are not receiving instructions – very few firms do this. As a result of this genuine relationship they have fostered, I believe they are a standout firm in the UK and internationally.’
Simmons & Simmons
Active domestically and Europe-wide, Simmons & Simmons is noted for its work involving multiple competition regulators. During a recent 12-month period the team handled investigations by the Competition and Markets Authority, the European Commission, the Financial Conduct Authority, and the Office of Rail and Road. The practice often works on a cross-departmental basis with the IP team in relation to issues involving the crossover of IP and competition law. Merger control is also a forte. Satyen Dhana leads the group, which also includes Peter Broadhurst , who has significant experience in the TMT sector.
- Providing antitrust advice to asset management fund APG in relation to a series of residential and commercial real estate projects and investments, advising on both EU and UK merger control, various complex jurisdictional and structural issues, and engagement with relevant regulators.
- Advised a leading biopharmaceutical manufacturer in respect of a European Commission process concerning an alleged abuse of dominance case.
- Advised BlackRock on its purchase of eFront.
At Travers Smith LLP, the ‘very detail-orientated and thorough’ team has a solid track record assisting clients with complex competition investigations, merger control procedures before the CMA, and strategic competition issues. The department’s workload attests to its ability to act across a wide range of sectors, including financial services, private equity, media, technology and manufacturing, among others. Practice head Nigel Seay ‘stands out as a great force in the competition field’ and is noted for his experience spanning both contentious and non-contentious work. Stephen Whitfield is ‘a calm, sensible and experienced lead’.
‘Personable, responsive and pragmatic. A very detail-orientated, thorough team who seek to balance technical detail with providing pragmatic and commercially focused advice, where possible.They are a safe haven to turn to for complex matters.’
‘Claire Shepherd is very knowledgeable, and takes time to research and understand the industry your business operates in. She is very hard working, always making herself available to discuss matters at short notice, and has a good eye for detail.’
‘Richard Brown is a creative problem solver with deep knowledge, a great work ethic and a very easy personal style.’
‘The team is very capable, very much available and importantly, pragmatic and practical in their advice. A big plus is that they are not pompous and overly strategic in their attitude but, on the contrary, a pleasure to work with.’
‘Stephen Whitfield is very pragmatic and very accessible. He really listens to his counterparties and is capable of adapting his legal strategy to changes in circumstances.’
‘Nigel Seay stands out as a great force in the competition field. He is very experienced, knowledgeable and client-oriented. He offers solutions no one else has thought of.’
‘Travers Smith is an exceptional firm that is populated by extremely bright and personable professionals who are genuinely interested in understanding our business so that they can provide extremely high quality advice, that is razor sharp, and timely. Once established as a client of Travers Smith, the account management is impeccable’
The Linde Group
Micro Focus International
Charlesbank Capital Partners
- Advised a global investment bank on a number of significant investigations by the European Commission into alleged anti-competitive practices in the financial markets industry.
- Advised American Securities and Lindsay Goldberg on the EU and UK merger control aspects of their $2.4bn acquisition of government and defence contractor Aecom Management Services.
- Advised Wireless Group on a significant competition complaint to broadcasting regulator Ofcom concerning the BBC.
The ‘impressive’ competition department at Akin Gump LLP garners praise for its ‘vast experience and knowledge of merger control’, and also has expertise in behavioural and state aid work. Led by Davina Garrod, the London team operates as part of the US-based firm’s global antitrust offering, working with leading corporations and financial institutions. Sectors in which the firm has expertise include financial services, TMT, energy and technology, among others. Counsels Scott Pettifor and Alaric Green are noted.
‘The team is very responsive and has vast experience and knowledge of merger control. It knows and understands how competition authorities operate very well.‘
‘We have had the opportunity to work with associates, counsels and partners of Akin Gump and they all have shown exceptional technical knowledge. Also, their work ethic and team work are outstanding. Finally, the firm’s ability to understand other jurisdictions’ antitrust regimes is something that we have not seen with other foreign firms.‘
‘The team works together in a seamless way – it handles all issues very efficiently. The lawyers provide high quality with very short response time.‘
‘Great dedication and enthusiasm from the whole team – from partner to associate.‘
‘Davina Garrod is a great professional with a realistic approach to transactions, very proactive and target-oriented. She understands the industry very well.‘
‘The whole team is impressive. Davina Garrod, Scott Pettifor and Alaric Green all have a grasp of legal issues, a business-oriented approach to finding solutions, an ability to get to the bottom of an issue.‘
‘Counsel Alaric Green is very responsive and focused on clients’ expectations.‘
GIC Singapore Sovereign Wealth Fund
Apollo Global Management
- Acting for Peabody Energy Corporation on the merger control aspects of its joint venture with Arch Coal.
- Assisted Fortenova by coordinating the merger control filings required for the transfer of Slovenian supermarket Mercator from the pre-restructured group Agrokor to the restructured group Fortenova.
- Advised Phillips 66 with respect to its acquisition of joint control over United Pacific.
Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s team is well-equipped to handle merger clearance aspects of high-value transactions, fielding a team led by the well-regarded Tobias Caspary, who has a ‘very hands-on approach’ and ‘goes the extra mile for the client’. Another key facet of the group’s work involves advising clients on their global competition strategy and assuming a multi-jurisdictional coordinating role. Its varied client roster includes global financial institutions, private equity firms, and public and private companies.
Other key lawyers:
‘The Fried Frank is extremely experienced and well versed in EU competition and US antitrust laws. In addition to their breadth of experience, they are practical and equipped to guide clients through the incredibly complex process of obtaining HSR approval and EU commission approval in a seamless way.’
‘ A small London-based team that punches above its weight.’
‘Tobias Caspary is very hands on and goes the extra mile for the client.’
‘Fried Frank does not have a large antitrust team, but when comparing their European antitrust practice, led by Toby Caspary, to other highly rated practitioners, it’s not even a close competition. Toby and team really take the time to understand the nuances of the business, the delicate business aspects of the proposed transaction, and have a real gift of clear communication. Toby is the guy you want to put in front of the European Commission and your board of directors.’
‘Toby Caspary and team are by far and away the most client-focused antitrust team I’ve worked with globally. Toby knows how to communicate with in-house counsel and executive teams, and even more important is very adept at reading the subtleties and nuances of regulators. His communication skills and persuasive writing style are off the charts. He’s exceedingly polite and easy to work with – he’s the real deal.’
‘The team led by Tobias Caspary is very hands-on, hugely reliable, does not miss any points and – most importantly – goes the extra mile in the interest of the client. Extremely well performing.’
New Mountain Capital
Parques Reunidos Group
- Advising US-based aluminium producer Aleris on its $3bn acquisition by Novelis.
- Advised Jacobs Engineering on the merger clearance aspects of its $3.3bn sale of a 90% stake in its energy, chemicals and resources business to WorleyParsons.
- Acted for Ascential on the merger clearance and strategic aspects of its acquisition of joint control, together with Avast, over Jumpshot.
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
The widely admired competition department at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher is well-versed in UK and EU merger control, contentious competition work and cartel investigations. The team’s merger control work boasts additional credibility due to the experience gained by multiple team members in roles at the former Office of Fair Trading. The ‘exceptionally talented’ Ali Nikpay sits at the helm of the practice, where Deirdre Taylor is also a key figure.
Other key lawyers:
‘Ali Nikpay is exceptionally talented and well-connected.‘
At Gowling WLG, the EU, trade and competition group places particular emphasis on cartel-related advice, UK and EU merger control, state aid, and the overlap between IP and competition law. Splitting her time between London and Brussels, practice head Bernardine Adkins focuses on contentious competition law issues. Samuel Beighton stands out for his credentials in competition law economics.
Other key lawyers:
Aston Martin Lagonda
H & T
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders
E (Gas and Electricity)
- Acted for E (Gas and Electricity) in the context of Ofgem’s first completed investigation into anti-competitive agreements within the UK energy sector.
- Advised a leading listed manufacturer in relation to EU merger control issues arising in the context of its acquisition of a majority shareholding in a significant strategic target.
- Advising a leading independent co-operative society in relation to the CMA’s ongoing market investigation into the supply of services by funeral directors.
Greenberg Traurig, LLP is adept at handling cross-border merger control matters; practice head Gillian Sproul is well-regarded for her client care skills and efficient coordination of multi-jurisdictional matters. The team has recently seen an uptick in instructions concerning cartel investigations, regulatory issues and general competition consultancy.
Other key lawyers:
‘The practice is very ably led by Gillian Sproul, who is excellent. She is a careful and thoughtful lawyer, who gives clients clear and direct advice. Very good partner focus, and early consideration given of risk factors and mitigation strategies.’
‘A strong competition team, with an industry leading niche in hold separate arrangements (an important and growing niche).’
‘Gillian Sproul has a very pleasant demeanour so it never feels like you are approaching a law firm; instead it feels like you have a specialist coach to help and guide you when needed. It adds up to a pleasant experience and one that leads to positive outcomes.’
‘Gillian Sproul. Calm, extremely pragmatic but underpinned with real knowledge and experience. Gill genuinely is interested in your challenges and wants to help you solve them.’
‘Gill Sproul is our go-to partner for all complex competition law matters. Gill gives clear, concise, and incisive advice that is deeply thought through and practical.’
‘Gillian Sproul is a great professional, has an in depth knowledge of antitrust law and coordinates multijurisdictional matters very efficiently.’
Vista Equity Partners
Bracco Imaging S.p.A
Jones Day has carved out a reputation for acting for clients on the merger control aspects of significant M&A and joint venture transactions; in this space, it is active both in the UK and across Europe. The London team is able to draw on support from the firm’s substantial network of offices worldwide. Behavioural matters form another area of focus, in which practice head Matt Evans is also a noted performer.
Other key lawyers:
Benefiting from the firm’s foothold across four continents, Mayer Brown International LLP’s competition lawyers act closely with their colleagues in Brussels and Paris on both transactional and behavioural matters. The team excels in merger control matters and investigations, but also counts contentious competition work as another key strength, for which it collaborates with the wider litigation and dispute resolution department. David Harrison leads the practice.
- Advising Unilever on a number of merger control and other competition matters, including advice on the sale of its French baking and dessert preparation business to Dr. Oetker.
- Providing ongoing competition advice to Moody’s Corporation in relation to a collaboration with Euler Hermes Ratings to develop new credit rating services for small and medium-sized enterprises and mid-cap companies across Europe.
- Advising Cummins on competition matters, including merger control advice in respect of potential transactions and contract review.
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (UK) LLP prides itself on its reputation for cross-border work concerning merger control, behavioural investigations and contentious issues. The team’s core sectors of focus include technology, financial services, energy and infrastructure. 'Very experienced and trustworthy' practice head Douglas Lahnborg has a strong track record of experience before the CMA as well as the European Commission. Of counsel Matthew Rose and senior associate Saira Henry also receive plaudits for their technical and analytical skills.
‘Very responsive, strong background in practising in front of the UK CMA, and individuals with very recent experience with the CMA. The latter is particularly important given the rise in the CMA’s activity and importance as a global competition regulator in the last few years.’
‘Saira Henry is a true standout. She does excellent work and has incredibly relevant recent experience with the CMA. She, along with her partner Douglas Lahnborg, who is also excellent, are our go-to people for complex matters before the CMA.’
‘Douglas Lahnborg is client focused in the sense of keeping abreast of issues that might interest or impact us, making sure advice is customised.’
‘Matthew Rose has an excellent handle of the issues that are relevant for us.’
‘Matthew Rose is very responsive and provides pragmatic, tailor-made solutions.’
‘A highly experienced competition law team with excellent in-depth legal skills with significant commercial understanding and deep sector specific knowledge. Good internal cooperation as well as good coordination. Superb service and timely deliveries.’
‘Douglas Lahnborg combines excellence in in-depth legal skills and how to deal with relevant authorities with a cooperative, positive and hands-on dealing with the client. Very experienced and good at finding strategic and practical solutions. Trustworthy, proactive and always seek to find the best solution for the client.’
‘Matthew Rose combines in-depth legal and technical skills in an excellent way and has an unique oversight and stays on top of the issues at hand. He combines the mosaic of skills needed to complete competition law analyses. Friendly and easy to collaborate with.’
‘Saira Henry excels in her command of legal analyses. Very good at handling complex and difficult legal issues and has a good oversight of all aspects of a case. Combines analytical skills and creativity with significant industry knowledge and is very solution oriented.’
Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile
AXA Investment Managers
- Assisting Telenor with obtaining Phase I merger control clearance from the European Commission of its €3bn acquisition of a majority stake in Finnish telecom operator DNA.
- Advising Schlumberger on obtaining merger control clearance across the EU and 12 other jurisdictions of its joint venture with Rockwell Automation.
- Advising Haier on its €475m acquisition of Candy.
The ‘excellent’ antitrust team at Shearman & Sterling LLP handles a broad variety of matters relating to merger control, investigations, state aid and competition litigation. The group is active across a wide-ranging spectrum of industries, such as aviation, mining, chemical, financial services and technology. Department head Matthew Readings is praised for being ‘a great team leader’.
‘An excellent team.’
‘Matthew Readings is excellent: a great team leader, very commercial, strong technical skills, an asset on any case.’
Viacom / Paramount Picture Corporation
American Suger / Tate & Lyle
Jaguar Land Rover
- Advising Raytheon on the global antitrust and foreign investment control aspects of its $74bn combination with United Technologies in a merger of equals.
- Representing a leading financial institution in two European Commission cartel investigations into alleged collusion in FX spot trading and into alleged collusion in the US government-sponsored bond market.
- Acting for a number of UK industrial and automotive companies on state aid questions.
White & Case LLP’s competition team is well-versed in handling multi-jurisdictional merger clearances for bluechip clients; the US-based firm’s strong presence across Europe is a key factor behind the team’s impressive capabilities. The group is also noted for its work on the investigations front. Marc Israel ‘has a strong understanding of CMA procedures’ and shares leadership of the practice with Mark Powell, who splits his time between London and Brussels.
‘Excellent at cutting through the myriad of rules and technicalities to give practical advice.’
‘Very practical, well-spoken and understanding of the nature of our business. Made instructions and guidelines easy to follow.’
‘We went to White and Case’s competition practice because of various recommendations and have not been disappointed. A key strength was the team getting to know us as a client and our unique proposition, rather than offering a ‘cookie-cutter’, one-size-fits-all solution. They have been very flexible with our requirements and delivered what we needed cost effectively.
‘We have worked with Marc Israel primarily on competition issues. He has developed a thorough understanding of our requirements quickly, developed a cost effective solution tailored to our needs and kept the process fun.’
‘Marc Israel has a strong understanding of CMA process and is a pleasure to work with.’
Bulgarian Energy Holding
Computer and Communications Industry Association
- Assisting Brookfield with its $9bn acquisition of Genese & Wyoming, including merger clearances across the world.
- Advising global pharmaceutical company Alvogen in relation to the antitrust elements of its divestment of its Central and Eastern European business to Zentiva Group.
- Advising Columbia Threadneedle Investments and Brittany Ferries on the merger clearance of their joint acquisition of Condor Ferries.
Arnold & Porter’s traditional firmwide strength in the pharmaceutical sector offers a platform for the London-based group to handle a significant volume of mandates in this space, particularly in relation to issues arising at the junction of IP, competition and regulatory issues. Practice head John Schmidt is noted for his credentials in UK and EU competition investigations. Multi-jurisdictional merger control also generates a steady stream of work for the team, for which it cooperates with its counterparts in Frankfurt, Brussels and the US.
Other key lawyers:
‘We can always rely on John Schmidt to help us identify and structure pragmatic solutions that enable the business to operate successfully within a complex legal environment.’
Mitsui O.S.K. Lines
Boston Scientific Corporation
Philip Morris International
Bird & Bird LLP has extensive experience of handling competition law issues which overlap with IP law and regulation in network industries. The team’s strong tech expertise is of particular note, facilitating its growth in the distribution and e-commerce space. Private enforcement work is another area of focus. Peter Willis heads up the practice; Richard Eccles is also a key contact.
‘A very hands-on team.’
‘Peter Willis was our key contact – he made a very good follow-up of the file.’
Chiesi Farmaceutici SpA
Orthios (Anglesey) Technologies
Arçelik / Beko
- Advised RWE Generation UK in judicial review proceedings in the High Court in relation to the suspension of payments under the GB electricity capacity mechanism.
- Advising Earthport on obtaining merger clearance from the CMA of its acquisition by Visa in a contested merger situation.
- Advising Arçelik on its competition damages claim against LG, Philips, Samsung and Technicolor, in relation to price-fixing practices.
The ‘very strong competition practice’ at Burges Salmon LLP is led by Chris Worrall, who splits time between Bristol and London. The team is ‘focused on providing pragmatic solutions’ in relation to merger clearance, investigations, compliance and procurement matters, primarily working with clients in the retail, transport and regulated sectors. John Houlden and legal director Noel Beale are also noted.
Water Services Regulation Authority
Canal & River Trust
Cardiff City Transport Services
- Advised the Co-operative Group on the merger control aspects of a number of acquisitions in the convenience retail store sector.
- Advised SCISYS Group on securing UK merger control clearance relating to its acquisition by CGI Group.
- Advised Loop Interiors in relation to the CMA’s Competition Act 1998 Chapter I investigation into alleged anti-competitive conduct in the design, construction and fit out services sector.
Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s recent workload highlights the firm's strength in competition law enforcement, merger control, and market investigations and inquiries. Praised for its ‘unique insights’ across multiple industries, the team places a particular emphasis on sectors such as telecoms, technology, financial services and manufacturing, among others. The department is led by Paul Henty and Paul Stone.
‘I have been privileged to build a working relationship with the team for many years. This relationship has been made easy by their ability to understand your business and thought processes, which made advice and litigation easier to obtain and execute successfully. The breadth of knowledge across various industries provides the team with unique insights.’
‘Paul Stone’s effort in understanding his client’s business pays dividends because he looks and feels like part of the in-house team and his advice reflects the nuances of the experience gained there too. His experience in the broadcast arena also provides interesting insights into tech and telecoms.’
Consultant Eye Surgeons Partnership
Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Bahrain
Wisdom Tree Investments
- Providing ongoing advice to ITV in relation to a broad range of competition matters, including advice on a variety of commercial arrangements.
- Assisting Walpole Institute with formulating consultation responses and position papers in the EU Commission’s consultation on reforms to EU distribution law.
- Acted for Gamma Telecom in relation to an appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal against Ofcom’s decision in the Business Connectivity Market Review 2016.
DAC Beachcroft LLP
DAC Beachcroft advises a well-balanced mix of public and private sector clients on issues concerning complex state aid issues and competition compliance. The department is also very active in the heavily regulated sectors. Due to recent expansion of the firm’s presence in Dublin, the London-based team is increasingly being instructed on Brexit-related issues. Dual-qualified practice head Alexandra Von Westernhagen has extensive experience at the EU level.
Other key lawyers:
British Business Bank
John Sisk & Son
- Advising British Business Bank on state aid issues connected to the next phase of the Enable Funding Programme Guarantee.
- Assisting John Sisk & Son with competition compliance advice.
- Providing NHS England with wide-ranging state aid and competition law advice relating to a number of public health related initiatives.
Dickson Minto WS
Garnering praise for its ‘comprehensive technical knowledge’, elite Scots firm Dickson Minto WS advises an impressive roster of clients - primarily drawn from the firm's core focus area of private equity - on matters such as merger control, behavioural advice and competition compliance. The ‘bright, very experienced and knowledgeable’ Ajal Notowicz leads the department.
Other key lawyers:
‘Dickson Minto is a very pragmatic team and able to quickly adapt to changing circumstances. They are effective at efficiently managing deliverables around demanding timelines and provide considerable value for money.’
‘Ajal Notowicz – great communication, good strategic planning, effective manager of stakeholders.’
‘Maria Ziprani – very responsive, a high level of engagement, and strong delivery to tight timelines and in complex circumstances.’
‘Expert in competition matters; able to apply complex concepts in a practical way, so understandable for clients.’
‘The team possesses comprehensive technical knowledge, but is able to articulate competition issues in a commercial and pragmatic way that resonates with clients.’
‘Ajal Notowicz is technically strong and is a good team player on the transaction field.’
‘The competition and EU practice at Dickson Minto covers all areas of competition law very well. It has particularly strengths in EU and UK merger control and has excellent connections with the relevant regulators. The practice acts for a number of leading global private equity clients.’
‘Ajal Notowicz is a standout competition lawyer and very user friendly. He is strong on all areas of competition law, in particular EU and UK merger control. He is bright, very experienced and knowledgeable in this area. Ajal offers clear, commercial and concise advice. He is very calm under pressure and has good relationships with the regulators, particularly at the CMA. Over the years, it has been a real pleasure to work on matters with Ajal because he works in a collaborative way and is very down to earth.’
‘The practice is very strong in M&A/merger control, particularly with a private equity flavour. Its focus gives it depth in this area compared to others.’
‘Ajal Notowicz has a precise mind and communicates very clearly and straightforwardly. His deep knowledge and assured manner are assets.’
Charterhouse Capital Partners
Actis Private Equity
Wireless Infrastructure Group
Stirling Square Capital Partners
- Advised Actis Private Equity on the competition law aspects of its acquisition of management rights with regard to a number of investment funds, previously managed by the Abraaj Group.
- Advising Penta Capital on the competition aspects of the high-profile acquisition of BMI Healthcare by the client’s portfolio company Circle Health.
- Advised Stirling Square Capital Partners and its portfolio company Mettis Aerospace on the Secretary of State’s public interest intervention regarding Aerostar’s unsolicited expression of interest in acquiring Mettis.
The backbone of Fieldfisher’s practice is advice relating to the UK and EU competition aspects of M&A transactions, investigations, and antitrust contentious work. Risk management specialist John Cassels now leads the practice; former postholder Charles Whiddington left to join Steptoe & Johnson LLP in Brussels. Nicholas Pimlott has a track record of work handling regulatory issues in the telecoms sector.
Other key lawyers:
HFW has strength across the board in relation to state aid, competition litigation, and issues concerning the intersection of EU law, commerce and competition. Clients laud the team’s ‘deep understanding of the shipping industry’, as well as practice head Anthony Woolich’s ‘excellent ability to analyse’. Other sector-specific expertise include aviation, commodities, insurance, ports and terminals, and logistics, among others.
‘The HFW competition practice is very approachable and responsive. They have a deep understanding of the shipping industry and are able to explain the complexities and frustrations of competition law skillfully.’
‘Anthony Woolich is very approachable and client-centric, has an excellent ability to analyse, and is able to utilise international connections very effectively.’
Crown Commercial Service
Republic of Cyprus
Ecom Agroindustrial Corporation
- Advised a leading advertising agency on the Competition and Market Authority’s market study of online platforms and digital advertising.
- Advised a leading manufacturer on its purchasing arrangements for a key raw material, with particular reference to competition rules.
- Advised a leading shipping company on multi-jurisdictional merger control requirements regarding the acquisition of a competitor, including obtaining clearance from the Brazilian Competition Authority.
K&L Gates LLP
K&L Gates LLP’s multi-disciplinary team is at the forefront of distribution strategy matters, particularly in the context of sophisticated issues arising in e-commerce. As part of a wider practice comprising competition experts spread across four continents, the London group also focuses on multi-jurisdictional merger control and competition litigation. The ‘extremely competent’ Jennifer Marsh leads the practice. ‘Attentive, very knowledgeable and commercial’ special counsel Gabriela Da Costa is also highly recommended.
‘Good global coverage for big multinationals.’
‘Gabriela Da Costa is super attentive, very knowledgeable and commercial. Her advice is always to the point and super useful. A rising star in my opinion.’
‘In addition to the very thorough and timely work they provide, K&L has very personable staff. I find them enjoyable to work with.’
‘Gabi Da Costa and Jen Marsh’s work is meticulous and their manner warm, something I have found to be very unique to most large firms.’
‘The team is not only highly professional (and they are highly professional!) but their true competitive advantage is their approach. They listen and are very capable in finding business practical solutions. They are extremely engaged (to a level that I was never used to), available at almost any time (also during weekends), and really prompt in their replies.’
Gabriella Da Costa is absolutely awesome. We value her both professionally and personally. She stands out at every aspect that you can think of from a legal adviser, but what really unique about Gabi is that she truly cares. Her service standards are second to none. As simple as that.’
‘Jennifer Marsh deciphers legal language into simple language for non-lawyers; understands balancing the commercial needs of business/brands with legal complexity; friendly, efficient, extremely competent.’
‘I have found K&L Gates LLP to be one of the most responsive law firms I have worked with. They agree on timelines for deliverables in advance and then provide clear, strategic and legally sound advice within that timeline. A key strength that is of particular value however is any advice given is always also commercially sound and practical.’
‘I work regularly with Michal Kocon, and would highly recommend him to any colleagues looking for advice in this area. He is easy to get in touch with, quick to respond and really is particularly pragmatic in his approach.’
‘I found each person I worked with within K&L Gates to be professional and knowledgeable on each aspect of our agreement. Their expertise in the field of retail, pricing, and contractual obligations far surpassed any other firm we discussed our needs with.’
Sealed Air Corporation
- Advising leading golf club maker Ping Europe Limited on its appeal in the Court of Appeal against the decision of the CMA to impose a £1.5m fine on the client.
- Advising II-VI on the merger control aspects of its $3.2bn acquisition of Finisar Corporation.
- Assisting Sealed Air in obtaining merger control clearance in relation to its $510m acquisition of Automated Packaging Systems.
Alongside Mishcon de Reya LLP’s focus on competition litigation, the group is also adept at handling regulatory investigations, merger clearance procedures, and competition issues arising out of agreements. Sarah Houghton leads the practice. Neil Baylis is a key contact for travel, automotive, sports and manufacturing sector mandates.
European Subsea Cables Association
- Advising Eurochem Group on merger control and competition law issues on a global collaboration with a key competitor.
- Advising Formula One Management on licensing policies, in particular restriction on sales channels and pricing issues.
- Advising Euromoney on global competition law compliance issues.
Led by London managing partner Frances Murphy ('a valuable ally and formidable opponent'), Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP’s City team is known for handling complex regulatory investigations; in this space, its pharmaceutical sector work is particularly prominent. Other areas of focus include enforcement matters, merger filings and state aid. The London group is part of the US-based firm’s global network, which comprises 150 lawyers split across Europe, Asia and the Americas. Omar Shah and Joanna Christoforou are also noted.
‘Omar Shah is readily available and has become intimately involved with our business so that advice is practical, timely and what we are looking for. He has really turned some things around quickly for us and has become a trusted advisor to the business.’
‘This is a highly effective, client-facing team that benefits from a depth of knowledge and an outstanding sense of institutional judgement as well as a commitment to excellence and service that is quick, friendly but very determined, and efficient.’
‘Frances Murphy has a wealth of experience and a formidable sense of determination and judgement. Charming and responsive to clients and counsel, she has a steely determination to advance her clients’ cases and to hold her nerve through the ups and downs of substantial pieces of litigation. A valuable ally and a formidable opponent.’
‘Frances Murphy deserves every praise – she is quietly spoken and very considered in what she says, but she is absolutely on the ball. She is always ready to engage regardless of her massive workload.’
‘Frances Murphy has led our case and has been fantastic in terms of her knowledge, support and guidance throughout.’
‘Omar Shah is a great business partner. His expertise and pragmatism makes him a great counsel to the business.’
Procter & Gamble
The London Metal Exchange
Court Square Capital
Sumitomo Corporation of Americas
- Successfully represented Sainsbury’s Supermarkets in securing a reversal of a High Court ruling.
- Leading Advanz Pharma’s defence in relation to the alleged excessive and unfair pricing of the thyroid drug liothyronine.
- Advised Cyrus Capital Partners and Connect Airways in securing Jersey and EU merger control clearance for the acquisition of Flybe Group and its subsidiaries.
Squire Patton Boggs handles a wide array of matters including merger control, state aid and behavioural and market investigations. The team draws upon the expertise of the firm’s well-known public policy group for regulatory competition work. Brussels-based managing partner Brian Hartnett leads the group. Martin Rees, Diarmuid Ryan and the 'brilliant and charming' Francesco Liberatore are also key figures in the team.
Other key lawyers:
‘A good team, particularly in the form of Francesco Liberatore.’
‘Francesco Liberatore manages to be both brilliant and charming. He is the standout individual in the department, highly noted both for his work ethic, knowledge of European law and superb people skills.’
‘Depth of experience in competition law. Loyal clients, good caseload.’
‘Diarmiud Ryan is a pleasure to work with; fights hard for his clients; is a good strategic thinker and has excellent client skills.’
‘Erling Estellon is devoted to his cases and is a hard worker.’
Citron Hygiene UK
Studio Retail Group
- Defending VP plc in the CMA’s ongoing groundworks cartel investigation.
- Advising Funeral Partners on the CMA’s ongoing funerals market investigation.
- Assisting Studio Retail Group with securing CMA approval for its sale of Findel Education to YPO.
At Stephenson Harwood, the ‘exceptional’ team’s experience encompasses behavioural investigations, merger control, contentious issues, state aid and general strategic advice. Practice head Marta Isabel Garcia has expertise in the financial services, rail and healthcare sectors - she is praised for her ability to 'put clients' minds at ease about risks and processes'.
‘Stephenson Harwood does not just provide sound legal advice; they also understand the industry and premises that the company/individual they are providing services to and ensure that the advice is catered to them specifically. What makes the firm quite exceptional in my opinion is the fact that they provide valuable commercial and business insight/advice and solutions.’
‘Marta Isabel Garcia is exceptionally amazing in communicating all legal matters related to the competition issues we have been facing – she has played a key role in advancing and changing the company’s business model and helping us ensure that we act within the law and combat the anti-competitive behaviours that we have faced in the industry we are in.’
‘It has been an absolute joy to work with the firm and due to the positive results we have had in working with them over the years, they have proven to be highly qualified and valuable to our success.’
‘Responsive, pragmatic and commercial.’
‘Marta Isabel Garcia is exceptionally good – responsive, commercial and intelligent. She understands that competition matters are often not the driver for the transaction and is able to put clients’ minds at ease about the risks and processes.’
Leaders Romans Group
Covanta Holding Corporation
3 Step IT
Mitsui & Co. Europe / Mitsui & Co.
- Advising Leaders Romans Group in relation to the CMA’s cartel investigation into the estate agency sector.
- Advising Covanta Holdings Corporation in relation to the EU merger control aspects of a series of joint venture arrangements with other investors concerning the development of energy-from-waste facilities.
- Advising 3 STEP IT on the merger control aspects of a joint venture with BNP Paribas.
Acting on both UK and EU issues, Willkie Farr & Gallagher (UK) LLP is adept at handling a wide range of matters including merger control, antitrust cases and investigations. The UK and European group is led by ‘truly outstanding practitioner’ Philipp Girardet, who has expert knowledge of competition enforcement issues concerning online platforms. Rahul Saha is a standout adviser in the regulated sectors.
‘The strength of the team at Willkie Farr largely resides in Philipp Girardet who is a real standout. We regularly refer matters to Phillip in situations where we cannot act for a conflict-related reason and have no hesitation in strongly recommending him to clients. Client feedback on Philipp has always been very strong. His calm but insightful approach and willingness to give clear advice in difficult judgemental situations is often noted.’
‘The EU and Competition team is clearly made up of outstanding individuals. Philipp Girardet is clearly a truly outstanding practitioner in his field. This makes it standout together with excellent associate support.’
‘Philipp Girardet is one of the best solicitors I have come across in 35 years of practice. He is in command of the factual and legal aspects of his case. He commands the respect of his team and client and is exceptional.’
‘Rahul Saha is an excellent technical lawyer and clearly a talented solicitor.’
‘Philipp Girardet is first class – his advice is sharp, pragmatic, commercial and cuts to the heart of the issue. Highly recommended.’
Telefónica UK (O2) / Telefónica SA
- Advised FIS in its US$42bn agreement to merge with Worldpay.
- Assisting Telefónica UK (O2) and Telefónica S.A. with defending standalone antitrust damages claims brought by Phones4U in the High Court in London.
- Advising FFL Partners on the European merger control aspects of the sale of its portfolio company Icynene-Lapolla from an affiliate of FFL Partners, LLC.
Winston & Strawn LLP undertakes work relating to merger clearances, cross-border defence in cartel investigations, distribution arrangements and competition compliance. The team has significant experience providing regulatory advice in the regulated sectors including pharmaceuticals, energy, insurance and electronic communications. Peter Crowther (‘excellent lawyer, extremely bright’) leads the group.
Other key lawyers:
Peter Crowther is an excellent lawyer. Extremely bright, strong in developing a cross border defence strategy for international clients and a pleasure to work with.
‘They know the rules well and have experts in multiple EU member states but teamed up well to serve our needs.’
‘Peter Crowther is a seasoned competition law expert who not only handles EU but also UK specific competition legal issues and is able to think ahead in corporate clients’ shoes to manage such risks’
‘I found Peter Crowther and his team to be incredibly caring about our situation and extremely knowledgeable about the issue we were encountering. He remains in touch with us even now to see how we are getting on and he seemed to very much make our problem his problem.’
‘Excellent local experience with various regulatory and government entities in the UK and Europe. Measured, business-focused legal counsel that keys in on the practical impacts on our business. Always responsive.’
‘Excellent, pragmatic and practical legal advice that doesn’t need “translating” before going to business stakeholders. What else can in-house counsel ask for?’
Liberty Specialty Markets
Apollo Syndicate Management
Cooley (UK) LLP is active in matters involving the firm’s traditional lines of expertise – life sciences, media and technology. The practice focuses on merger control, investigations and commercial agreements. For EU law issues, the team can rely upon the expertise of lawyers based at the firm's newly opened office in Brussels, where practice head Alexander Israel is based. He is supported by a team of associates spread across the Belgian capital and London, including special counsel Stella Sarma, who joined the Brussels office from Latham & Watkins LLP in 2019.
Looker Data Sciences
Condor Flugdienst GmbH
Bavarian Nordic A/S
Racecourse Media Group
Lloyd’s Market Association
Kylie Cosmetics / Kylie Skin
- Advised Tableau Software, an interactive data visualisation software, on the UK merger control aspects of its $15.7bn acquisition by Salesforce and its subsequent clearance by the CMA.
- Advised Looker Data Sciences, a business analytics software provider, on the UK merger control aspects of its acquisition by Google and its subsequent clearance by the CMA.
- Advised German airline Condor Flugdienst on its global merger control clearance process for the planned acquisition by Polish airline LOT.
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has an ‘excellent ability to address and hone in on the issue at hand’, assisting corporate clients with merger clearance aspects of significant cross-border transactions. The group acts across multiple jurisdictions and is fully integrated within the firm’s European group; it regularly collaborates with teams based in Washington DC, New York, Moscow and Frankfurt. Timothy McIver heads up the practice, which handles mandates in the financial services, private equity, technology, pharmaceuticals, media and manufacturing sectors.
Other key lawyers:
‘Their responsiveness is superb – both in the US and London. Their ability to address and hone in on the issue at hand is excellent.’
‘High degree of experience and expertise as well as commercial understanding and overall business insight. Responsive at all times and very effective.’
‘Anne-Mette Heemsoth is extremely competent, smart and commercially focused. She is great at communicating and has an approach to problem-solving which is creative, sustainable and economical at the same time.’
‘Tim McIver is extremely responsive, knowledgeable, always providing a valuable approach to themes under discussion.’
‘Timothy McIver showed a really good understanding of our business and was able to translate this into a critical yet productive approach when it came to the preparation of regulatory filings together with counsel of our merger partner. His input was key in obtaining the regulatory approvals in god time.’
‘The team at Debevoise – both in the UK and US – are exceptional. They are smart, practical, efficient and commercially orientated. They are a go-to group on both the simple and the most difficult cases because they know how to properly staff a file to the mandate rather than to the bottom line. There is not a matter that they cannot handle.’
‘Tim McIver is a fantastic lawyer. Very responsible and practical. He does not get the credit he deserves as one of the best in the market.’
AmTrust Financial Services
Clayton, Dubilier & Rice
Providence Equity Partners
- Advising Clayton, Dubilier & Rice on obtaining merger control approval for various transactions, including its acquisition of Cynosure.
- Advising InterXion on the merger control aspects of its merger with Digital Realty to create a leading global provider of data centre, colocation and interconnection solutions.
- Advising AmTrust Financial Services on the merger control aspects of the merging of AmTrust Lloyd’s business with Canopius AG.
Recommended for its ‘excellent and practical advice’, Osborne Clarke LLP acts for companies on mandates involving merger control, behavioural matters, distribution and sales channels and contentious issues. The London team routinely works with its Bristol-based colleagues. Merger control specialist Simon Neill leads the department; legal director Katherine Kirrage is also noted.
‘They are proactive, see things from client’s perspective, always aim to find practical solutions and give clear and pragmatic advice.’
‘Simon Neill is a brilliant lawyer with a great sense of humour. Extremely nice to work with.’
‘Osborne Clarke have a strong understanding of our business and industry sector, providing excellent and prompt practical advice.’
‘Osborne Clarke’s competition team have been our preferred partners for public procurement matters for many years. Quick and efficient responses. Very pragmatic advisers when difficult decisions need to be made within limited timescales.’
Granville Technology Group
Sally Salon Services
The Publishers’ Association
Maple Syrup Group
- Advising Ebiquity in relation to achieving unconditional Phase II clearance of its merger with Nielsen.
- Acted for Green Frog before the European Commission and the UK government in relation to the suspension of the UK Capacity Market.
- Advising Danone Medical on competition compliance relating to the maximisation of in-market sales of certain key product lines.
Ropes & Gray LLP's London competition offering focuses on merger control issues, global cartel matters and contentious work. The department is also able to draw upon the expertise of the firm's lawyers in the US. Practice head Ruchit Patel has extensive experience handling Asia-related antitrust mandates. Associate Ian Hastings joined from Simmons & Simmons in January 2020.
Other key lawyers:
RPC’s ‘excellent’ competition department is adept at providing assistance with merger control, investigations, commercial agreements and competition compliance. The team’s wide-ranging sector-specific expertise includes insurance, retail, media and telecoms, financial services and healthcare. Practice head Lambros Kilaniotis is equally well-versed in both contentious and non-contentious work.
‘An excellent team – Lambos Kilaniotis and Melanie Musgrave in particular – are superb, solid and supportive of their clients. They are no-nonsense professionals who you would love to have on your side of table. They are practical and non-intrusive.’
‘A very competent team.’
‘Lambros Kilaniotis is a very highly regarded practitioner, very well known and liked in the profession.’
‘Lambros Kilaniotis is a very able lawyer and a joy to work with and is ably assisted by Melanie Musgrave.
‘Melanie Musgrave is very easy to work with and is a very well organised lawyer.’
‘The practice has extensive experience in international card scheme related matters and, in particular, interchange. These gives them exceptional insight into a complex area, with many competition elements.’
‘Lambros Kilaniotis and Melanie Musgrave bring extensive industry and competition experience to the fore, which combined with their increasing knowledge of our organisation means that they provide valuable advice is pertinent, relevant and appropriate.’
Royal and Sun Alliance Insurance
NHS Scotland & DHSSPS
- Advised Stella McCartney on the competition law and merger control aspects of Stella McCartney’s partnership with LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE.
- Advised Sports Direct on the merger control aspects of its public bid for Game Digital and obtained merger clearance from the European Commission.
- Provided competition law advice to Link Scheme in connection with Link’s obligations under the Payment System Regulator’s Specific Direction 4 requiring a competitive tender process for its key infrastructure services.
Praised for its ‘great technical ability’, Shoosmiths LLP is a firm of choice for clients seeking assistance with merger clearances and competition investigations. For contentious matters, the team can draw on the expertise of the national firm's wider dispute resolution group. The 'extremely knowledgeable' and 'intellectually very bright' Simon Barnes heads the practice and splits time between Thames Valley and London.
Other key lawyers:
‘Great day-to-day competition advice from Simon Barnes without the cost of a Silver Circle or Magic Circle firm.’
‘Simon Barnes is expert and pragmatic.’
‘The team is available, responsive and able to provide pragmatic advice, taking a risk-based approach, which is exactly what we look for for our external firms.’
‘Simon Barnes is extremely knowledgeable and able to provide practical, pragmatic advice in a non-legal manner that is easy for the business to digest.’
‘As a smallish team, it’s easy to develop strong and deep relationships with the lawyers.’
‘I particularly like the honesty of the lawyers – what they know/need to research – and that they explain their thinking as they go along.’
‘Simon Barnes is intellectually very bright, and able to find good solutions. He explains his thinking as he goes along, which benefits my understanding. He is honest, and this creates trust.’
‘Very knowledgeable and great technical ability.’
BAT UK & Ireland
- Advised SIG in the CMA’s merger inquiry into SIG’s disposal of its Building Solutions business to Kingspan.
- Advised a leading retailer on the CMA’s resale price maintenance investigation into guitars, in which the CMA fined Fender £4.5m.
- Advised a leading funeral care provider on the CMA’s market investigation into funeral care.
Other key lawyers:
Watson Farley & Williams LLP
Watson Farley & Williams LLP assists clients with securing merger control clearances, competition investigations, state aid and compliance issues. The team’s work is prominent in the energy, natural resources and transport sectors. Practice head Jeremy Robinson has niche expertise in the area of offshore wind projects, as well as the overlap of competition law with aviation regulation.
Other key lawyers:
‘We use them for aviation work and EU competition law. They are excellent and experts in their field which is why we have chosen to work with them.’
‘Jeremy Robinson can make even the most anti-legal person in the business interested in competition law and how it impacts them. Excellent at delivering training and also always on hand with commercial advice on complex competition law matters.’
‘Based on our experience so far, we believe that WFW provide a hands-on, proactive service at overall reasonable and competitive cost. In a recent M&A transaction where we as purchaser retained WFW’s services, their value-add and turn-around time clearly exceed that of a magic circle law firm acting for the seller.’
‘We have worked with Jeremy Robinson on competition and national security issues; he displayed the right balance between attention to detail and timely receipt of the clearances we sought.’
‘Jeremy Robinson delivers a suite of competition law advice.’
Rheinmetall Defence UK
Macquarie Group / Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (Europe)
The GSM Association
- Advising Rheinmetall AG on the competition aspects of its new joint venture agreement with BAE Systems to create a joint UK-based military vehicle design, manufacturing and support business.
- Acted for Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets Europe on assessing the requirements for international merger clearances, drafted the Form CO merger notification and secured rapid clearance from the European Commission of the client’s agreement to buy the Bard Offshore 1 wind farm from Unicredit.
- Provided competition (merger control) advice to Star Bulk on the acquisition of 11 dry bulk vessels from Delphin Shipping LLC in a shares and cash transaction.