EU and competition in Norway
Arntzen de Besche’s practice acts for national and international clients on the full spectrum of competition mandates including antitrust issues, merger control work, investigations and cartel cases. Recent highlights include advising Shearwater GeoServices on the establishment of a strategic partnership with CGG including the antitrust elements and acting as trustee for the Norwegian Competition Authority to monitor compliance with several of its behavioural remedy decisions. Stein Ove Solberg heads up the group and is praised as ‘a highly skilled competition lawyer, who is service minded and a pleasure to work with’. Other key practitioners include Svein Terje Tveit, who focuses on trade and distribution and regulated markets, and Espen I Bakken, who has experience in procurement, competition and state aid issues. Senior lawyer Vilde Hannevik Lien is also a key name to note. Thea Susanne Skaug moved in-house at DNB.
‘Stein Ove Solberg is a highly skilled competition lawyer. He is service minded and it is a pleasure to work with him. Solberg has also extended experience and knowledge of the food and grocery market. He is also commercially minded.‘
Shearwater GeoServices Holding AS
The Norwegian Competition Authority
Glommen Skog SA
DAF Trucks N.V. / DAF Trucks Deutschland GmbH
Widerøes Flyveselskap AS
- Advising Shearwater GeoServices on its establishment of a strategic partnership with CGG and the related antitrust issues.
- Acting as trustee for the Norwegian Competition Authority to monitor compliance with several behavioural remedy decisions.
- Advised Glommen Skog and Mjøsen Skog on a phase II merger control investigation before the Norwegian Competition Authority.
The practice at BAHR provides ‘high-quality and reliable advice’ and ‘always tries to be as clear and accurate as possible’. The team is a key name in the market for merger control work; it recently advised Nordea Bank on its acquisition of Gjensidige Bank and assisted with the merger between offshore accommodation companies Prosafe and Floatel. Other notable areas of expertise include competition damages claims, cartel investigations, public procurement work and state aid matters. Helge Stemshaug leads the practice, which also includes pharmaceuticals and biotech sector specialist Beret Sundet, who ‘combines a good understanding of her clients' business and markets with high-quality legal analysis and knowledge’; procurement expert Jan Einar Barbo, litigator Sam Harris and economist Harald Selte. Henrik Nordling moved to Kluge Advokatfirma AS in late 2019.
Other key lawyers:
‘High-quality and reliable advice in complex competition law matters.‘
‘The EU and competition team of BAHR has high standards and integrity. They give you good advice and always try to be clear and accurate. They are effective and easy to work with. On top of that they are engaged and open.‘
‘Beret Sundet combines a good understanding of our business and our markets with high-quality legal analysis and knowledge.‘
‘Beret Sundet has a lot of knowledge, is always on top of your questions and adds great value. Very easy to work with.‘
Nordea Bank AB
Floatel International Ltd
DNB Bank ASA
Fortum Oslo Varme AS
Norsk rikskringkasting AS
Nordic Entertainment Group Norway AS
Discovery Networks Norway AS
- Represented Color Line in a claim for compensation based on its alleged breach of competition law.
- Advised Nordea Bank on its acquisition of Gjensidige Bank including the merger control elements.
- Acting for REMA 1000 on issues relating to price discrimination in the groceries sector and the related investigation by the Norwegian Competition Authority.
Advokatfirmaet Simonsen Vogt Wiig’s ‘very impressive’ department ‘always delivers more than expected’ and ‘sees what others don’t’ thanks to its ‘pragmatic and reliable’ approach. The team excels in a diverse range of competition mandates; practice head Jan Magne Langseth focuses on abuse of dominance issues and cartel investigations, managing partner Mona Søyland provides regulatory advice, Anders Thue assists with merger clearances and Karin Fløistad handles competition litigation. The group’s client roster includes Norwegian Air Shuttle and ST1 Group; Langseth advised the latter on the competition elements of its acquisition of Statoil Fuel and Retail.
‘The team always delivers more than expected and sees what others don’t see and, by this, creates business value.‘
‘What makes this practice unique is their ability to narrow down the scope of the task to the issues at stake. They do not spend their billing hours on legal issues out of the scope, but focus solely on the material legal risks which actually face the client.‘
‘The team knows the area very well and is able to help us with a broad range of topics. They are very pragmatic and reliable. I am always happy to work with them and they are very quick as well.‘
‘The team knows our industry and relevant case law very well, and are able to respond on point very quickly – very impressive!‘
‘Jan Magne Langseth is a lawyer who really knows how to add value to his clients. He always has an answer that can be used by the client. We are always very pleased with his work.’
‘Jan Magne Langseth is a state-of-the-art lawyer. Always pragmatic, giving high-stake advice and adding business value.‘
‘Anders Thue is an outstanding lawyer with in-depth knowledge of European and Norwegian competition law. He is known for quick, thorough, and precise answers.’
‘Jan Magne is our trusted adviser in almost everything we do. He is always ready to help, even on short notice, and he knows the industry very well. Highly recommended and valued adviser!‘
Yara International ASA
Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA
British American Tobacco
St1 (petrol stations – formerly Shell in Norway)
The Ministry of Trade, Industries and Fisheries
The Ministry of Transport and Communication
The Ministry of children and Equality
- Advising St1 on its acquisition by Statoil Fuel & Marine and the related phase II analysis.
- Representing Fosenlinjen in litigation against AtB seeking damages for lost profits caused by AtB’s performance during its procurement of ferry services.
- Acting for Stena Recycling following a dawn raid carried out by the Norwegian Competition Authority relating to alleged bid rigging and cartel activity.
With expertise across all elements of competition work, Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS handles antitrust investigations, mergers and joint ventures, procurement work, competition litigation and state aid mandates. Practice co-head and ‘one of Norway’s best competition lawyers’ Siri Teigum advises on merger issues and disputes, while fellow co-head Eivind J Vesterkjær focuses on the technology, telecoms, offshore, life sciences and distribution sectors. Managing associate Heidi Jorkjend is also a key contact for antitrust investigations. In a recent highlight, the group represented Telenor in the EFTA Surveillance Authority’s investigation of alleged abuse of dominance in the Norwegian mobile communications market; other clients include DNB, Kongsberg Gruppen and Veidekke.
‘Excellent lawyers: creative, proactive and client friendly.‘
‘Very strong team with deep knowledge and understanding of competition and EU law. For Norway – a large team, with the capacity to handle large and complex cases. Very good industry understanding which is key for providing relevant advice.‘
‘Siri Teigum is an excellent practitioner. She is one of the top competition litigators in Norway.‘
‘Siri Teigum is one of, if not the best, competition lawyer in Norway.‘
‘Siri Teigum has unprecedented knowledge and experience when it comes to advising and handling abuse of dominance cases. She has vast experience in dealing with the Norwegian Competition Authority and does extremely well. I have nothing but praise for her.’
Gyldendal ASA, including its subsidiary Ark AS
- Acting for Telenor in the EFTA Surveillance Authority’s investigation of alleged abuse of dominance in the Norwegian mobile communications market.
- Represented Finans Norge and its subsidiary Bits in the EFTA Surveillance Authority’s investigation relating to e-payment services in Norway.
- Assisting Kongsberg Gruppen with securing the merger control clearances for its acquisition of Rolls-Royce Marine.
Håkon Cosma Størdal leads the competition and antitrust practice at Wiersholm, which focuses on four distinct areas of competition law – M&A, antitrust matters, state aid work and EU and EEA law. The firm’s antitrust team is regularly involved in antitrust investigations, cartel work and abuse of dominance matters, while the state aid group specialises in the energy, transport, technology and media sectors. Other key individuals in the department include Stephan L Jervell, who handles competition law work, state aid issues and litigation; procurement and state aid expert Morten Goller and Thomas Naalsund, who is a key contact for energy sector mandates.
BankID Norge AS
Coop Norge SA
Hurtigruten ASA/ Hurtigruten AS
IK Investment Partners
Ministry of Petroleum and Energy
Telenor Norge AS
Veidekke ASA/Seby AS
Marine Harvest ASA/Mowi ASA
Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics ASA
Sector Alarm Holding AS
The Norwegian Heart and Lung Patient Organisation (LHL)
Santander Consumer Bank
- Acting for Widerøe’s Flyveselskap in antitrust proceedings before the EFTA Surveillance Authority in a case relating to alleged abuse of dominance and refusal to supply issues.
- Assisting Sector Alarm Holding with its acquisition of a minority stake in NOKAS and handling issues before the Norwegian Competition Authority.
- Acting for Coop Norge in a high-profile antitrust investigation relating to suspected coordination between three Norwegian grocery chains.
With ‘deep knowledge of the regulatory landscape’, Wikborg Rein is ‘recommended for both sparring on day-to-day matters and for handling more complicated issues’. The ‘professional and reliable’ team is led by ‘exceptional partner’ Mads Magnussen and also includes specialist counsel Hanne Camilla Zimmer, who co-heads the competition and procurement group and is ‘an outstanding lawyer’; and specialist counsel and competition and anti-trust team head Eivind Stage, who is ‘swift to provide assistance’. The practice handles the full range of competition mandates including antitrust infringement work, merger filings, competition litigation and state aid issues for a client roster, which includes NorgesGruppen, Jotun and Transocean.
Other key lawyers:
‘Wikborg Rein’s team can swiftly provide high-quality specific competition law advice. With deep knowledge of the regulatory landscape they are recommendable for both sparring on day-to-day matters and for handling of more complicated issues.’
‘Wikborg Rein’s team delivers exceptional quality, is service-minded and very pleasant to work with. But above all, they really know what they are doing.‘
‘The Wikborg Rein team is impressive. It is a high-quality team with the very best lawyers. They have a huge team and my impression is that they are involved in most of the large and difficult cases, and that they do really well.’
‘The overall level of service is excellent, with quick response times and strong industry knowledge. The team is very good at advising when the position is unclear.‘
‘Eivind Stage is swift to provide assistance, highly skilled and therefore most recommendable. He has extensive regulatory experience and provides solid and fit-for purpose competition advice.‘
‘Hanne Zimmer has proved herself to be an outstanding lawyer.‘
‘Mads Magnussen is an exceptional lawyer. He is efficient, extremely knowledgeable and very pleasant to work with. He is my first choice as a business lawyer.‘
‘Hanne Zimmer is excellent. Present 100% in meetings, which gives fast and precise counsel. Her public presentations always bring the extra elements that make her, and the legal matters she sheds light on, stand out. She has great integrity and an understanding of political directions and frameworks that makes a difference for her clients.’
Lerøy Seafood Group
Norwegian Ministry of Defence
- Advising NorgesGruppen on the investigation into information sharing in the Norwegian grocery market.
- Representing Verisure in an investigation by the Norwegian Competition Authority into alleged market sharing.
- Assisted Transocean with obtaining unconditional clearance for its acquisition of Ocean Rig UDW.
The ‘strategically excellent’ Simen Klevstrand heads up the practice at Advokatfirmaet Haavind AS and has notable expertise in the technology, telecoms, media, pharmaceuticals, retail and energy sectors. The group is active in cartel damages claims, merger control issues, follow-on damages cases and state aid mandates; it recently represented Posten Norge in a cross-border damages case arising out of the European Commission’s trucks cartel settlement decision. Other key clients include Avinor, Atea and Tieto. Senior lawyer Gaute Bergstrøm is also a key name for merger work and abuse of dominance issues.
‘Small, energetic and dynamic team fighting their way into the top tiers. Checks all the relevant boxes when it comes to legal skills. Any lack of experience and specific industry knowledge is easily compensated through strategically excellent advice, a positive approach and sound billing. It is a real pleasure working with this team.‘
‘Haavind’s competition team has a balanced combination of different skills and understanding of the priorities of local authorities.’
‘Simen Klevstrand is strategically excellent and often outsmarts top tier partners.’
‘Gaute Bergstrøm is always well prepared and to the point. The guy you want on your side in complex matters.‘
‘Simen Klevstrand is a rising star and able to understand and support in complex transactions.’
Posten Norge AS
Caverion Norge AS
- Represented Posten Norge in a cross-border damages case arising out of the European Commission’s trucks cartel settlement decision.
- Assisting Tieto with the merger filing aspects of its merger with Evry.
- Defending Avinor in claims brought by Taxi 1 relating to abuse of dominance by way of exclusion from an airport.
Kvale Advokatfirma DA is a key name in the market for clients in the telecoms, media and technology sectors and recently acted for e-book distributor VB Bok in a complaint against Cappelen Damm before the Norwegian Competition Authority; the group also acts for energy and natural resources, and life sciences companies including Pfizer and Bunker Oil. The ‘highly professional and intelligent’ Kristin Hjelmaas Valla leads the practice and handles merger clearance work, cartel issues, dominance matters and compliance mandates; while Henrik Svane is singled out for his litigation experience and expertise in the life sciences, food and beverage sectors.
‘Kristin Hjelmaas Valla is highly professional and experienced.‘
‘Kristin Valla is highly professional and intelligent. She is service minded and it is a pleasure to work with her. Kristin has worked with competition law for more than 20 years and she absolutely appears as a senior in this legal area.’
‘Kristin Hjelmaas Valla demonstrates solid knowledge and has an eye for crucial details. We are impressed with her ability to quickly grasp complex matters and to communicate complex legal matters in an easy-to-understand manner.‘
‘Kristin Hjelmaas Valla holds high integrity, she is extremely skilled in competition law, delivers on time and with high professional standards.‘
Vigmostad & Bjørke
Coca Cola European Partners Norge
Møller Mobility Group
- Represented Strand Unikorn and Strand Brændri in a competition and contract law case involving abuse of dominance and anti-competitive agreement issues.
- Acted for VB Bok in a complaint against Cappelen Damm before the Norwegian Competition Authority alleging restricted access to digital content.
- Assisted Bunker Oil with two merger procedures before the Competition Authority.
The ’capable and eager’ competition department at Advokatfirmaet Selmer AS excels in merger control work where it has experience before the Norwegian Competition Authority and the European Commission; in a recent highlight, the group assisted Ambea with its acquisition of Aleris’ senior care, adult care and youth care business and the related merger filing. Alongside the healthcare and life sciences sector, the practice also advises clients in the retail, public transport, TMT, energy and real estate sectors. ‘Service-minded partner’ Ole-Andreas Torgersen leads the group.
‘Highly skilled, understands our business and mind-set. Quick response times and very service minded and experienced.‘
‘Ole-Andreas Torgersen is a very service-minded partner that is always available. He is highly skilled and understands our business.‘
‘Ole-Andreas Torgersen’s expertise is beyond doubt. He has a clear mind, is smart and is very good at arguing a case.‘
Bertel O. Steen
Norwegian Concrete Group
DXC Technology Company
Brødrene Dahl AS
- Assisting Ambea with its acquisition of Aleris’ senior care, adult care and youth care business and the related merger assessment and filing.
- Advised EQT on the competition elements of its divestment of Tampnet.
- Represented Bertel O Steen in a dispute relating to the temporary injunction of its termination of a selective distribution agreement with a car dealer.
At Advokatfirmaet Schjødt, Olav Kolstad and Thomas Nordby jointly lead the department and specialise in non-contentious and contentious work respectively; Kolstad’s expertise encompasses EU and national competition law, antitrust work and merger control issues. The group is experienced in EU and EEA law and counts multiple public sector organisations as clients, and is also singled out for its merger control expertise. The practice’s client roster include Nettbuss, Esso Norge, TV2, Grieg Seafood and Scandinavian Airlines System.
Esso Norge AS (Exxon Mobil)
Egmont International Holding AS
I K Lykke AS (Bunnpris)
If Skadeforsikring NUF
Gjensidige Forsikring ASA
Grieg Seafood ASA
Selecta Group and Selecta Norway AS
Motorola Solutions and Motorola Solutions Norway AS
SAS – Scandinavian Airlines System
IT Partner AS
MED-EL Medical Electronics
Astellas Pharma Europe B.V.
Vertex Pharmaceuticals (Europe) Ltd.
Tide Buss AS
At DLA Piper, the group utilises the firm’s wider Nordic and global network to assist with a wide range of competition mandates at a domestic and Nordic level. Key sector specialisms for the practice include the food and branded goods, seafood, retail, construction and pharmaceuticals industries; example clients include Sweco Norge, Merck and OneCo. Kjetil Haare Johansen leads the team, which sits in the firm’s litigation and regulatory group; procurement specialist Kjell-André Honerud also contributes to the department.
Ministry of Justice & Public Security
- Advised Telenor and OneCo on the merger filing obligations and probability for clearance of OneCo’s acquisition of Relacom.
- Represented Merck in the Lundbeck pay-for-delay case.
- Assisted Normal and Normal Norge with issues relating to the EU and EEA regulations regarding labelling and translation obligations for cosmetic products.
The ‘very knowledgeable and service-minded’ practice at Advokatfirmaet Grette AS ‘has a practical approach’, which it leverages across competition disputes, cartel work, state aid matters, EU and EEA law, and antitrust issues. Odd Stemsrud leads the group and is praised as ‘a truly passionate lawyer who has a unique ability to understand the client’s needs’; he recently represented alpine skier Henrik Kristoffersen in the EFTA Court and Norwegian courts in a dispute against the Norwegian Ski Federation relating to the rights for athletes to enter into sponsorship agreements.
‘Grette has a professional and fast way of handling the different requests that we require. The firm has a practical approach and understands we are operating in a non-academic environment.‘
‘Odd Stemsrud is a truly passionate lawyer who has a unique ability to understand a client’s needs. To the point counselling, which always covers all the essential details. Odd has an openness and willingness to understand our business in a truly detailed way, and this secures valuable advice from his side.‘
UK – Her Majesty’s government
Höegh Autoliners Holdings AS
The Central Norway Regional Health Authority
Airport Express Train
Moelven Industrier ASA
The Norwegian Tax Administration
- Representing alpine skier Henrik Kristoffersen in the EFTA court and Norwegian courts in a novel case relating to marketing rights in sports and whether athletes can enter into sponsorship agreement themselves.
- Acting for Höegh Autoliners Holding in a global cartel investigation.
- Advising GSK on its competition work including updating its dawn raid guidelines and assisting with sales and distribution issues
Advokatfirmaet Hjort’s key areas of expertise encompass state aid work, procurement issues and free movement matters with particular experience in dominance-related mandates; the group also leverages the firm’s wider litigation strength to handle competition disputes. Monica Syrdal and Heddy Ludvigsen jointly lead the practice; Syrdal assists clients in the media and communications sector while Ludvigsen’s sector expertise spans the aviation, healthcare, fishery and public sectors. Kristin Veierød also contributes to the practice and acts for telecoms clients in abuse of dominance and pricing matters.
‘The team is put together with regard to the issues to be addressed. There always seems to be relevant expertise available in the company. The lawyers are skilled and show interest in the issues. The pleasant and relaxed tone indicates a good working environment.‘
‘Kristin Veierød creates a good atmosphere in meetings and is good at communicating, even with the other party. In each case, she includes one or more attorneys who have expertise in the relevant areas. In EU and competition law, I have good experience with partner Heddy Ludvigsen.‘
Avinor Flysikring AS
- Acted for Nordea in an investigation by the EFTA Surveillance Authority relating to alleged collusion by the Norwegian banking sector regarding entrance into the market for e-payment services.
- Acted for M-Brain in an Appeal Court case relating to the extent of its obligation to disclose evidence in a lawsuit between competitors.
- Acting for an individual in a landmark case before the EFTA Court relating to a fine issued for the reselling of tickets for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
While traditionally strong in public procurement and state aid mandates, Kluge Advokatfirma AS is also active in merger control work, abuse of dominance issues, cartel investigations, competition litigation and other matters relating to anti-competitive behaviour. Arne Torsten Andersen leads the practice and is notably experienced in EU law, while managing partner Bjørnar Alterskjær advises on EEA law. Clients include Neptune Energy Group, Ruter and Norsk Tipping. Associate partner Henrik Nordling joined from BAHR in late 2019.
Other key lawyers:
‘Highly competent lawyers within this area, both theoretical and practical knowledge.‘
‘Very good understanding of the legal problems within the field of state aid.‘
‘Bjørnar Alterskjær is highly competent within this field.’
Øglænd System Group/Oglaend System Group
Neptune Energy Group
Aleris AUB – now Stendi AS (part of Ambea Group)
Norsk Tipping AS
Nærings- og fiskeridepartementet
Sogn og Fjordane fylkeskommune
Norwegian Company Register (Brønnøysundregistrene)
Direktoratet for forvaltning og IKT (DIFI)
University of Oslo
Norwegian Directorate of eHealth
- Advised Neptune Energy Norge on the competition elements of its acquisition of VNG Norge.
- Acted for Stendi on the EEA law elements of an employment case relating to the distinction between self-employed individuals and workers.
- Acting for Trondheim municipality in a state aid case.
SANDS fields ‘a strong team with experience across several different disciplines’ including competition litigation, regulatory and compliance issues and merger filing work. Practice head Thomas Sando is a key contact for merger control work, while Aksel Joachim Hageler also handles compliance matters and damage claims. The team is also recognised for its sector expertise and regularly acts for clients in the public, construction, fishery and aquaculture, waste and recycling, health and transport industries; examples include CNH Industrial, Aleris Helse and Norsk Takst.
‘They proved a strong team across several different disciplines. If needed other departments step in quickly. They all operate very professionally and show great passion for their work and the clients.‘
‘They all ensure absolute professionalism in the work they provide. Always available, very pleasant to work with and extremely service oriented.‘
‘I have worked with Thomas Sando and he has a great way of being. He is a guy that you always can count on and has been of great help to get things done.’
Høgskulen på Vestlandet (Western Norway University of Applied Sciences)
Aurland Ressursutvikling AS
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
Helse Bergen HF
Ministry of Local Government & Regional Development
Helse Stavanger HF
- Defending CNH Industries in a follow-on action in the Norwegian courts which is based on the European Commission’s cartel fine in 2016.
- Advising Hval Sjokoladefabrikk on its complaint to the EFTA Surveillance Authority relating to the Norwegian sugar and chocolate levy.
- Assisting Norsk Taskt with its competition compliance work.