Merger Control

Our Practice

We handle all aspects of EU and national merger control, from initial analysis through to in depth Phase II investigations. As well as assisting clients with the complexities of making a filing to the European Commission and/or National Competition Authorities, we offer advice on strategy, interaction with the overall deal, conditionality and potential further options. As a result of our years of experience in this area, we also have an invaluable understanding of the workings of the European Commission and national competition authorities.

In our merger control practice, we opt for a relationship based approach: we want to understand the business of our clients. In our experience, this is critical when handling strategic operations for a client. Regular advisers who know the business of their clients are able to identify potential issues early on in the process and get the deal through in the most efficient and cost effective way.

We act for a broad spectrum of clients, from investors, private equity houses and financial institutions to industrial companies, retail companies, those in the media and service providers.

Our services include:

  • assessment of the transaction and advice on potential competition issues
  • preliminary screening of the jurisdictions where filings may be required
  • preparation of the notiofication file, including informal pre-notification contacts with the relevant authorities
  • coordinating filings in different jurisdictions
  • getting the deal through, including where necessary the negotiation of an appropriate remedy package
  • litigation.

Experience

  • advising ED&F Man on competition law issues raised by the acquisition by Südzucker of a 24.99% stake, cleared by the European Commission after an in-depth Phase II review
  • handling merger control filing and clearance by the French Competition Authority of the acquisition of Groupe Cesbron by Dalkia, part of the EDF group
  • advising Fanatics on the competition law issues raised by the acquisition by Fanatics of Kitbag, a UK sports retail company, including conducting a global merger control analysis
  • handling a number of merger control filings on behalf of Gilde Equity Management to the Dutch and German competition authorities in the retail, employment services, electricity supply, ICT, engineering and software sectors
  • advising GKN on the acquisition of the all wheel drive automotive components businesses of GETRAG KG, cleared by the European Commission
  • handling the EU filing of the acquisition of a refinery based in the Netherlands for Gunvor Group, which was cleared by the European Commission, as well as coordinating the applicable non EU filings
  • advising HMV Group on its acquisition of a number of Zavvi stores in the UK, where UK clearance was given on the basis of the “failing firm” arguments advanced on behalf of our client
  • advising Intersnack on proposed merger filings and submitting notifications for various transactions in Germany
  • advising the Irish Continental Group on the disposal of its Feederlink container transport business to Unifeeder
  • advising NBHX Automotive on its acquisition of stakes in other German companies, including merger notifications of each transaction to the German Competition Authority
  • advising the Norwegian Group, Orkla, on the creation of a joint venture with Norsk Hydro, which is the world’s largest aluminium profiles business. The joint venture was cleared by the European Commission at Phase I subject to commitments to dispose of part of the business
  • advising Plastipak on its acquisition of APPE, a PET bottles manufacturer, including a notification to the European Commission and coordinating filings in other jurisdictions. The transaction was cleared by the European Commission and other competition authorities
  • advising Schlumberger on the merger control aspects of its $12bn acquisition of Smith International, Inc, a competing oilfield services supplier
  • advising Veolia Water UK on a range of issues, including the disposal of its regulated UK water business and the unification of its three regulated water businesses
  • advising a Sovereign Wealth Fund on the merger control issues arising from its acquisitions of minority interests in a number of businesses. Some of these transactions involved filings in one or more of the EU, China, South Korea, Turkey, and elsewhere. Other transactions were structured on the basis of our advice, so as to avoid any legal requirement to make merger control filings
  • advising a German Aviation Subsidiary of a Canadian pension fund on the merger control aspects of the acquisition of direct and indirect stakes in a German airport holding company (holding stakes in major European airports) from Canadian and Australian institutional investors and sovereign wealth funds and a German state-owned development bank.