Competition in Switzerland
As 'one of the top practices in Europe', Homburger's 'excellent team' impresses with its 'outstanding knowledge, regular client communication and 24-hour availability'. Handling both Swiss and European competition and antitrust matters, as well as administrative and civil court proceedings, the practice focuses on merger control notifications and filings, litigation and investigations in connection with horizontal and vertical restraints, as well as compliance and contractual matters. It fields a team of 'experienced' practitioners including the 'well-connected and solution-driven' Marcel Dietrich and 'thorough, efficient and thoughtful' counsel Andreas Burger, who have significant strength in the regulated industries. Dietrich assisted Alpiq with all competition aspects concerning the CHF800m acquisition of Alpiq In Tec and Kraftanlagen München by Bouygues. Franz Hoffet is representing Airbus in Swiss merger control proceedings. Booking.com, ChemChina and Clariant also feature in its client roster.
The 'dedicated and trustworthy team' at Lenz & Staehelin is recommended for providing an 'outstanding' service, including 'accurate, business-focused legal advice'. Merger control notifications, international merger filings, abuse of dominance, cartel investigations, dawn raids, leniency procedures and Swiss court litigation are some of the key areas of expertise. Recent highlights include representing Pfizer in its successful appeal against multimillion-CHF fines imposed by the Competition Commission (ComCo) for alleged unlawful resale price maintenance in connection with the drug Viagra. Key names in Zurich include the 'results-focused and highly knowledgeable' Marcel Meinhardt, who is 'one of the leading experts in competition and antitrust law'; counsel Felix Prümmer, who has an 'analytical' approach; associate Frank Bremer; and Astrid Waser, who is acting for Ticketcorner in a merger control appeal. Benoît Merkt is the recommended key contact in Geneva.
With a strong reputation for merger filings and appeals, Walder Wyss Ltd is one of the best known practices in Switzerland. In a recent highlight, Reto Jacobs acted for Swisscom in the appeal against ComCo's fines imposed for an alleged price squeeze in the broadband market. Other recent work includes handling the competition aspects of Tamedia's acquisition of Basler Zeitung. Ticketcorner, Starticket and their three parent companies are also active clients.
Bär & Karrer Ltd.'s multi-lingual competition team is especially renowned for its assistance during cartel and abuse-of-dominance investigations launched by the competition commission. It further covers merger control proceedings and antitrust matters. Key partner Mani Reinert led on the competition advice to Summer Capital during its acquisition of Swiss Education Group, and also assisted Saint-Gobain with merger control questions concerning its combination with Sika.
Baker McKenzie's team stands out for its advice on cartel matters at a Swiss and EU level. Merger control and compliance advice constitute other key areas of the practice. The 'knowledgeable and responsive' Boris Wenger assisted Mövenpick with the multi-jurisdictional merger control filings related to AccorHotels' €482m acquisition of Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, while team lead Philippe Reich represented Estée Lauder in an investigation launched by ComCo regarding the alleged price information exchange in the perfumes and cosmetics market, having successfully appealed against a CHF25m fine. Geneva partner Hubert Gillieron advised McDonald's on compliance issues.
With an 'excellent reputation for investigations and strength in merger control', CMS' 'stable competition law practice' provides 'an exceptionally high level of quality and responsiveness'. The team also handles first-instance administrative and appeal proceedings, as well as horizontal cooperation projects and antitrust compliance programmes. According to one client, another 'major asset is the international CMS network, which provides one solution out of one hand'. Team lead Patrick Sommer represents Bayer Switzerland in longstanding proceedings concerning price recommendations for erectile dysfunction medication traded over the counter, while 'pragmatic strategist' Marquard Christen, who 'has unique expertise in competition law combined with public procurement', reached a settlement for client Rimowa during a ComCo investigation regarding an alleged restriction on product exports from Germany to Switzerland. Geneva-based Pascal Favre advised Michelin on the competition aspects of its joint venture with A.T.U. Auto-Teile-Unger. Counsel Fabian Martens was a new arrival in 2019 from Borer Attorneys at Law.
Based in Zurich, Geneva and Brussels, the 'highly experienced and professional' team at Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd (MLL) provides 'straightforward and practical advice', especially in relation to international merger control filings, antitrust compliance programmes and distribution agreements. Another key area is the representation of clients in administrative and civil litigation, including cartel investigations. 'Outstandingly knowledgeable, risk-oriented and well-connected' Mario Strebel represents Sunrise Communications in a ComCo investigation concerning dominance issues in the pay-TV sports market. Christophe Rapin, who heads the competition team in Geneva and Brussels, represents SAS Cargo in an appeal proceeding against the fines imposed on the alleged air cargo cartel in Switzerland.
The 'very pleasant and professional' team at Niederer Kraft Frey AG 'impresses through high availability, technical excellence, a very good service as well as sound, practical advice'. While being 'particularly strong in vertical agreements', the practice also covers dawn raid and investigation assistance, drafting agreements, compliance training, merger control and gun-jumping advice. 'Committed and professional' Nicolas Birkhaeuser represented Birchmeier Bau in investigation proceedings and advised the client on its leniency programme. Other notable clients further stem from the automotive, insurance and retail sectors, including Coop Genossenschaft, BMW, Schweizer Versicherungsverband and Navistar. Thomas Frick is also noted.
International coordination of merger control filings, compliance programmes, multi-jurisdictional investigations (including dawn raids, leniency procedures and dominance cases) and civil law litigation form the range of services at Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd. In a recent highlight, David Mamane acted as lead competition adviser to Bouygues Construction on its CHF850m acquisition of Alpiq Energy Services. Other clients operate in the TMT, energy, retail and finance industries. Counsel Samuel Hagenstein-Jost joined from Siegrist Ries & Partner in November 2017, while of counsel Peter Georg Picht joined from the University of Zurich in November 2018. Jürg Borer left to found Borer Attorneys at Law in January 2018.
IT, banking and finance, aviation and construction are key sector strengths for VISCHER, which routinely handles competition investigations and antitrust matters. Klaus Neff successfully represented Immer in appeal, challenging a fine imposed due to alleged participation in a cartel. Royal Bank of Scotland and Air Canada are also active clients.
The competition practice at Kellerhals Carrard is recommended for serving as 'a very efficient one-stop shop for antitrust, abuse of dominance and merger control cases'. Other areas of expertise include compliance audits and training, as well as representation in price supervision proceedings. Many clients stem from the healthcare and life sciences, manufacturing, construction and telecoms industries. Daniel Emch, who is 'a brilliant and experienced competition lawyer with outstanding economic expertise', assists with the Swiss merger control notification of the joint venture between Deutsche Telekom and Carl Zeiss. The team is also representing Erne Holding AG, Galenica, HCI Solutions and Groupe Editis in separate appeal proceedings against ComCo decisions.
The practice at Pestalozzi combines competition and international trade matters, focusing on merger notifications, leniency applications, distribution systems, compliance and dawn raid assistance, as well as representation in administrative proceedings. Key partner Christoph Lang advises Koninklijke DSM and Evonik Industries on the merger control aspects of their joint venture aiming to establish a new animal nutrition product.
With experience in both Swiss and EU law, Prager Dreifuss AG's competition team is particularly experienced in multi-jurisdictional cartel and merger control proceedings, as well as public procurement and state aid cases. In a recent highlight, 'devoted, broadminded and resilient' Philipp Zurkinden successfully represented the Swiss Tennis Association in a ComCo proceeding concerning alleged abuse of dominance. Promarca, Starticket and SkyWork Airlines also feature in the client base.
The 'very hands-on and experienced' competition team at Wenger & Vieli LTD 'has a very good standing in Switzerland' and 'great understanding of clients' business needs', especially in the healthcare and life sciences sector. The range of services includes cartel law advice, contract negotiation, compliance programmes and merger control notifications, as well as assistance during investigations and court proceedings. Senior associate Michael Tschudin, who provides 'swift and yet precise' advice, is advising Axa Insurance on the merger control aspects concerning its joint venture with Tamedia. Urs Weber-Stecher is representing Oberholzer Bauleistungen in an appeal related to a bid-rigging investigation, while Frank Scherrer is defending an air cargo company in an appeal concerning the publication of the sanction decision.
Covering both competition and antitrust law, Wenger Plattner has expertise in price surveillance, merger control, compliance contracts and distribution agreements, and also has a track record representing clients in administrative and civil law court cases. Fritz Rothenbühler successfully obtained ComCo's clearance for the hospital merger between Universitätsspital Basel and Kantonsspital Baselland.