Antitrust & Competition
Antitrust and competition law plays an important role in transactions and in the structuring of your distribution and price and rebate systems. Having regard to the ever-increasing activism of competition authorities worldwide and of their fining powers it is of key importance that your company complies with antitrust and competition law.
We advise our clients in relation to the antitrust aspects of M&A transactions and the structuring of cooperation and joint venture agreements. We take care of merger control filings at the German Federal Cartel Office and the European Commission. We coordinate international filings in other jurisdictions for you by cooperating with our specialised partner firms worldwide.
We advise our clients in relation to all aspects of the relationship with their suppliers or distributors/selling platforms. In light of the recent enforcement activity of the German Federal Cartel Office and other competition authorities in the area of vertical restraints including in e-commerce, it is particularly important to comply with the antitrust rules governing the vertical relationship between suppliers and distributors. In light of our experience with and knowledge of the enforcement priorities of competition authorities we help our clients develop commercially sensible distribution and licence models and advise them in relation to all aspects of their distribution contracts.
Behavioural advice and abuse of dominance proceedings
We provide advice in relation to unilateral market and pricing strategies and the structuring of rebate systems. We represent our clients in abuse of dominance investigations by competition authorities and in relation to complaints against the abusive behaviour of third parties.
We can advise your company on how to handle cartel infringements strategically (defensive strategies vis-à-vis competition authorities, leniency applications to the German Federal Cartel Office and/or the European Commission, internal investigations within the company) and represent you vis-à-vis the investigating authorities. Cartel arrangements are typically entered into globally and are often investigated by several international competition authorities in parallel. It is therefore important that companies adopt a coordinated approach vis-à-vis the different investigating bodies. By cooperating closely with our specialised partner firms we can help our clients to ensure a coordinated approach and seamless representation worldwide.
We can help you develop and implement effective compliance systems. We support our clients in training their employees with the aim of avoiding cartel infringements (e.g. trainings regarding their employees’ contacts with competitors, how to behave during inspections by enforcement authorities, how to behave in trade association and other industry meetings, how to behave vis-à-vis suppliers and distributors or guidelines for benchmarking projects) and to deal with such infringements in the right way once detected.
We can also advise you in relation to corruption/anti-bribery and public procurement law issues which sometimes come up in the context of breaches of antitrust law.
We advise both government authorities and companies in relation to state aid measures in all industries and in relation to public funding opportunities for certain investments or divestments. We represent our clients vis-à-vis the European Commission as well as European and national courts.
Market investigations and sector inquiries
The German Federal Cartel Office and the European Commission regularly conduct sector inquiries if they have reason to believe that competition in a certain sector is weakened. Recent sector inquiries include the European Commission’s ongoing e-commerce sector inquiry or the German Federal Cartel Office’s sector inquiry into buyer power in the food retail sector. Such sector inquiries can require significant time and cost investments from the companies active in that sector. We can support you through these processes and advise you in relation to your legal obligations and the strategic approach to adopt.
Cartel follow-on damages claims
Follow-on damages claims against companies involved in a cartel are increasingly gaining importance across Europe. The European Commission has recently adopted a directive aimed at facilitating private enforcement, which is currently being implemented by the European Member States. We can advise you in relation to all legal and procedural questions arising in this context and represent you in settlement negotiations as well as court proceedings. By cooperating closely with our specialised partner law firms we will also support you in proceedings in other jurisdictions in Europe and worldwide.
Their combination of merger and foreign direct investment control expertise increasingly proves to be a USP for the firm.
Professionally excellent, both partners and associates and very pleasant to deal with