Competencia & Regulatorio

Our Practice

Competition policy is central to an increasingly global market place. Its impact goes to the very heart of the way industries are structured and how they operate. Related developments, notably the ever closer working relations between the major competition law enforcement agencies around the world and the regulatory environment created by the liberalisation of a number of major industry sectors across Europe, are reinforcing its importance.

Through our network of international offices, our EU, Competition and Regulatory International Practice Group is able to provide clients with a comprehensive and integrated service. As leading advisers in this complex field, our expertise spans the whole spectrum of EU and competition issues, notably:

  • investigations and complaints, including complex multi-jurisdictional cartel work
  • compliance, including advice on compliance programmes
  • merger control
  • advising on commercial agreements
  • public procurement
  • state aid.

We also have broad regulatory experience, advising government and regulatory bodies, private sector investors and operators across a range of regulated sectors (notably transport, water, energy and TMT).

Many of the most challenging competition law issues lie at the interface with intellectual property law, and we have been actively involved in a number of leading cases in this area.

We represent clients before the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European Commission, national courts and enforcement agencies.

Experience

Circle Printers

  • representing Circle Printers in merger control proceedings in France in relation to the proposed acquisition of Maury Imprimerie (cleared at phase II without the need for any remedies).

Civil Aviation Authority

  • advising the CAA in connection with judicial review proceedings initiated by easyJet concerning the Authority's decision in setting the price cap for charges at London Gatwick from 2008 to 2013.

Dura Vermeer

  • representing one of the largest Dutch building companies in its appeal to the European Court of First Instance (now General Court) in the Dutch bitumen cartel case.

Dutch Real Estate

  • defending NVM, the Dutch Association of Real Estate Agents, in litigation (damages for infringement of Article 81 and 82 EC) before the Dutch Civil Courts.

ED&F Man

  • advising ED&F Man on the merger control and other competition law issues relating to the acquisition of a 24.9% stake in ED&F Man by Sudzucker

Essent

  • advised the shareholders of Dutch energy company Essent on the unbundling of Essent and the €9.3bn sale of its commercial business to RWE (cleared by the European Commission).

EU cartel investigations

  • representing several Asian clients in relation to multi-jurisdictional cartel investigations
  • European Commission
  • representing the European Commission in its defence before the European Court of First Instance (now General Court) in the Dutch brewers cartel case.

GALP

  • advising in connection with an appeal to the European Court of First Instance (now General Court) against the European Commission's decision in the Spanish bitumen cartel.

HMV Group

  • advised HMV on its acquisition of a number of Zavvi stores in the UK. Office of Fair Trading clearance was given on the basis of the "failing firm" arguments advanced on behalf of our client.
  • advising HMV on a number of competition law matters, both transactional and behavioural, including the disposal of its Live Music business, involving a notification to the UK Office of Fair Trading.

HTC Corporation

  • representing HTC Corporation with its competition law defences in patent infringement proceedings in Germany.

Hynix

  • advising Hynix on its Article 82 EC complaint to the European Commission against Rambus in a case involving competition law/intellectual property interface issues.

Italian Energy

  • acting for leading jet fuel companies in an appeal from a decision of the Italian Competition Authority relating to a finding of abuse of dominance.

Kier

  • advising Kier Group in connection with the Office of Fair Trading's investigation into bid-rigging in the construction sector in the UK and on its subsequent appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

Lebedev Holdings

  • advised Lebedev Holdings on UK merger control considerations in connection with its acquisition of a majority shareholding in The London Evening Standard newspaper.

Orkla

  • advised the Norwegian Group, Orkla, on the creation by merger of the world's largest aluminium profiles business and on its subsequent buy-out of its joint venture partner (cleared by the European Commission).

Peijnenburg

  • successfully defended Peijnenburg in a landmark court case against Albert Heijn in the Netherlands in relation to alleged resale price maintenance.

Pharmaceutical sector

  • advising a number of pharmaceutical clients in connection with the European Commission's enquiry into the pharmaceutical sector.

Schlumberger

  • advising Schlumberger on the merger control issues relating to its proposed joint venture.

Sharp

  • advised Sharp in its defence against two claims brought by Nokia in the High Court of England and Wales for antitrust damages.

Veolia

  • advising Veolia Water UK on a range of issues, including the disposal of its regulate UK water business and the unification of its three regulated water businesses

Spanish telecoms

  • acting for a mobile phone manufacturer in an abuse of dominance case before the Spanish Commercial Court.

Specialist Expertise

Investigations and Complaints

We advise on investigations by and complaints to the EU and national competition authorities, ensuring that the legal and economic issues relevant to our clients' circumstances are properly considered. We help clients put in place effective compliance programmes as well as providing guidance and training on how to handle on-site investigations (dawn raids). Much of the cartel work which we undertake involves complex multi-jurisdictional issues and in a number of jurisdictions increasingly requires consideration of potential criminal liability. We have hands-on experience of cutting edge abuse of dominance cases, frequently involving a deep understanding of the interface between intellectual property rights and competition law.

Competition Litigation

This is a growing part of our practice, reflecting the significant developments which are taking place both at the EU and national level. Our focussed industry sector approach, coupled with our expertise in competition law and commercial litigation, makes us well placed to assist clients involved in competition litigation, be they standalone actions or actions by way of follow-on to a decision of a competition authority. Our practice includes representing clients before the European Court of Justice and Court of First Instance (now General Court).

Merger Control

We handle EU and national merger filings as well as coordinating multi-jurisdictional filings, where our role is to ensure that the appropriate clearances in all applicable jurisdictions are obtained within the desired transaction timetable.

Commercial Agreements

We advise on the application of competition law to all kinds of commercial practices and agreements including joint ventures, distribution and licensing agreements, where our aim is to offer practical solutions to competition law problems and to ensure that important commercial provisions can be enforced.

Regulatory

We advise a variety of regulated companies, particularly in the transport, water, energy and TMT sectors. We also advise regulators in several sectors, including transport and postal services, and we participate in policy formulation through our work on policy bodies and consultations.

Public Procurement

We advise on the obligations imposed on public bodies and utilities and on the remedies available to potential contractors.

State Aid

We advise on the application of the EU rules, presenting complaints and handling investigations.