Clients look to us to deliver practical and effective solutions to their most complex EU, domestic and global antitrust concerns. We achieve success for our clients through the provision of relationship-driven, business-orientated advice which safeguards their interests now and in the future.
Our multilingual EU & Competition Team based out of our offices in France, Germany, Italy and the UK provides a seamless European-wide competition law advice service coupled with a local knowledge of markets and corporate cultures.
For further details on our key practice areas please click below:
We represent clients involved in cartel investigations before the European Commission and national EU Member States’ competition authorities. We also advise on settlement procedures and leniency applications, which can reduce or even remove the prospect of fines altogether.
Recent examples of our experience include the following:
- Representing a public transportation company before the German Federal Cartel Office and the US Department of Justice over alleged bid rigging
- Advising a leading bank in relation to the EU Commission and national EU Member States’ competition investigation into the rigging of financial indices and benchmarks
- Advising an international electronics company in relation to national and EU Commission competition inquiries and the EU cartel leniency regime
- Advising an industrial storage tank provider in connection with a civil and criminal cartel investigation before the UK competition authorities
- Advising a metals commodity producer in relation to information exchange and price signalling
- Advising one of the world’s leading suppliers in the automotive industry regarding allegations of unlawful collaboration with competitors
Competition Law and Commercial Agreements
We regularly provide strategic and commercial advice on competition law compliance in the context of a wide variety of horizontal and vertical commercial agreements including distribution, licensing, R&D, information exchange joint selling and commercialisation arrangements. We also represent clients in negotiating these agreements and in resolving commercial disputes in relation to them.
Our experience includes representing clients before the European Commission and national EU Member State regulators as well as national courts.
Our recent experience includes:
- Advising a leading product manufacturer on the design and roll out of its selective distribution system in more than 18 European companies
- Representing a global technology provider on the EU competition law aspects of its hardware and software support policies and its European-wide distribution agreements
- Acting for an international hotel chain in relation to the UK competition regulator’s enquiry into hotel online booking under the Competition Act 1998
- Acting for a major French defence and aeronautical group in connection with a competitor’s refusal to supply to licence software necessary to compete in the downstream market
- Representing the Italian arm of a large car manufacturer in EU competition proceedings before the EU Commission
- Advising an international toy company on the application of EU competition law to its distribution practices in Europe
The successful conduct of competition litigation requires the knowledge and experience of practitioners with an in-depth specialist knowledge of competition law and shrewd tactical acumen. It also calls for a team with a good track record of managing large-scale and document-intensive litigation. We act for both claimants seeking redress and companies seeking to defend themselves in the face of individual or class action competition claims before the national courts of EU Member States.
Our dedicated competition litigation team has both the depth and experience and the breadth of resources to deal with your claim.
Examples of our experience include:
- Advising leading European manufacturers and distributors of domestic appliances in relation to potential follow-on claims arising out of a worldwide compressor cartel
- Defending a multibillion dollar competition law claim in a private arbitration relating to an alleged abuse of dominance in a metals commodity market
- Advising potential claimants in connection with competition law claims in the UK Courts arising out of the LCD panel producers cartel
- Representing a claimant licensee of float glass technology in a private arbitration against a leading glass manufacturer and the owner of proprietary float glass technology over the latter’s alleged abuse of dominance or monopolisation
- Advising a telecommunications service provider in an English High Court action for damages alleging margin squeeze against certain UK mobile networks
- Representing one of Europe’s leading public transportation companies with regard to the pursuit of damages claims against various cartelists
Compliance Strategies & Training
A successful competition compliance strategy helps minimise the risk of competition law breaches and the substantial financial liability an infringement decision can bring. We are able to devise effective competition compliance strategies and develop bespoke formal training for businesses in all sectors.
Examples of our experience include the following:
- Developing an effective compliance programme for a major construction company following an investigation under the UK Competition Act 1998
- Conducting a competition law audit for a leading multinational software company and hardware manufacturer in relation to its maintenance, support and distribution policies
- Advising companies in the international leisure and hospitality, automotive and manufacturing sectors on dawn raid procedures
- Providing guidelines and training for a leading construction and engineering company in relation to proposed joint bidding opportunities
- Devising and delivering competition law compliance training online and in person for a leading manufacturer of household products and toiletries
- Training over 60 sales employees of a large industrial feed producer on how to interact with their competitors and customers
EU Product Safety and Environmental Protection Directives
We advise manufacturers, suppliers and importers wishing to distribute products in Europe on the application of EU product safety Directives, the CE marking regime and the provisions of EU environmental protection Directives. We also advise our large retailer client base on product safety and other European issues.
Recent experience includes advising:
- An importer of electrical equipment on the application of certain EU Product Safety Directives in relation to affixing of CE marking to their products and on RoHS and WEEE compliance
- A leading musical instrument manufacturer on the application of the Toy Safety Directive to children’s musical instruments
- Advising a major outdoors equipment manufacturer in relation to product recalls and product safety enquiries with UK Trading Standards and other European safety regulators.
- A medical device manufacturer on the operation of the CE Marking System and sector-specific vigilance and surveillance obligations
- A manufacturer of sterilizing fluids for the foods and drinks industry on the application of the REACH Directive in relation to the importation of its products into the EU
Market Conduct & Dominance
We represent companies in a position of market power to ensure that their trading practices and policies are fully compliant with competition law as well as smaller companies who may be the target of abusive business practices of larger rivals.
We have comprehensive experience of representing parties in proceedings relating to abuse of dominance before the EU Commission and national Member State competition regulators and national courts. Our experience spans cases involving technology, telecommunications, financial services, hospitality and leisure and new media sectors as well as more traditional industries such as manufacturing, construction, engineering and transport.
Examples of our experience in acting on dominance issues include:
- Advising a leading computer service company in relation to a complaint to the EU Commission alleging unlawful tying and discriminatory discounts against a major international computer manufacturer
- Representing a leading manufacturer of industrial high-speed printers in a complaint in relation to a refusal to licence IPR and access code technology necessary for product support
- Acting for a leading computer service company before the English High Court and before the UK Competition regulator against a leading computer manufacturer alleging an abuse of dominance
- Advising a major international pharmaceutical company on its prices, discounts and rebates for a range of dental products
- Representing a manufacturer of industrial products over the refusal of a dominant competitor to licence technology necessary to compete in the downstream market
- Advising one of the leading German companies in the car repair sector in connection with a collaboration between competitors
Bryan Cave’s EU & Competition Team provides experienced and commercially focused advice on how best to obtain appropriate merger clearance to allow timely completion of your deal or transaction. Whether your deal is domestic, EU or worldwide, we can provide advice on where and how to file the necessary or advisable merger filings as well as submitting and coordinating the appropriate notifications. We also liaise with the relevant regulatory authorities to ensure a quick and efficient consideration of the transaction and if needed, negotiate commitments to address any competition concerns.
Recent European merger control advice includes:
- Advising on the $9bn merger of equals between a pharmaceutical testing company and a health data provider – Case 8061 IMS Health/Quintiles
- Obtained clearance from the European Commission under EU Merger Regulation in connection with the $3bn sale of a division of a major construction equipment manufacture with commitments at Phase 1 – Case M.7792 Konecranes/Terex MHPS
- Representing a large chemical company in the acquisition of a German entity with respect to pre-merger filing and related "second request" style document review and related proceedings, including response to the Statement of Objections before the Bundeskartellamt
- Counselling a large US aerospace manufacturer in connection with merger control proceedings before the European Commission
- Experience in dealing with many of the domestic merger European authorities on a number of deals
- Obtained clearance from the European Commission under EU Merger Regulation in connection with the strategic €140 million acquisition of a construction equipment business by a global construction equipment manufacturer
- Obtaining merger clearance from the UK Competition authorities for a major media group’s acquisition of a leading environmental consultancy business
We have extensive experience of advising both suppliers to the public sector and public contracting authorities on compliance and enforcement of the EU public procurement rules across a range of sectors and jurisdictions. We provide strategic advice on the public procurement process and represent clients on procurement challenges before EU national courts, the EU Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Examples of our team’s experience include:
- Representing a leading French telecommunication equipment company before the UK courts and the European Commission in its challenge to the UK government’s award of a £2 billion contract for the provision of a radio system for UK emergency services
- Representing a large international software company in its dispute with a central government department over the procurement of desktop and network software
- Advising a leading engineering consultancy in overturning the award of the framework agreement by a major public utility company
- Representing a UK hospital trust in a UK High Court challenge brought by a medical equipment supplier in respect of the award of a contract for keyhole surgery equipment
- Acting for a major education establishment in relation to the procurement of engineering, architectural and design consultancy services
- Advising the worlds largest marine services company in relation to the tender and award of a number of dredging contracts with the UK Ministry of Defence Advising a leading property developer on the application of the EU public procurement rules to a major mixed-use development scheme
We provide counselling and litigation services across a wide range of regulated sectors at both an EU and national Member State level which include electronic communications, media and broadcasting, gaming, transport, electricity, gas, post, water, health care and financial services.
We advise on the interface between the general competition law regime and sector-specific competition rules as well as purely regulatory issues within these sectors. We also represent our clients on appeals and enforcement actions before regulators and the national and European courts.
Examples of our team’s experience includes:
- Advising a US communications provider on establishing a publicly available telephone service in the EU
- Advising a UK independent generator in connection with state aid proceedings against the UK Government before the EU Commission
- Representing a UK telecommunications service provider in connection with a complaint to the UK Communications Regulator in respect of unlawful cross subsidisation and margin squeeze
- Advising a UK professional trade association in relation to potential judicial review proceedings against EASA – the EU aviation regulator
- Representing a UK-based independent postal operator before the EU Commission and the national Member States postal ministries in relation to proposed amendments to EU legislation regarding the scope of national postal monopolies
The EU State Aid rules prohibit the provision of unfair aid to private enterprises by the public sector which can distort competition between businesses. State aid issues in high-profile public projects are never far from the surface. However, state aid issues are also often found in a wide range of less prominent cases, such as the sale or purchase of land and buildings by the public sector in redevelopment schemes or the terms of investment (and exit) for a public sector investment in a PPP transaction.
We have in-depth experience of state aid issues in a wide range of sectors and can provide clear commercial advice to help clients achieve their objectives.
Examples of our state aid experience includes:
- Acting for a consortium of leading retailers in proceedings against the UK Government before the VAT Tribunal and the European Court of Justice over a challenge to the lawfulness of the UK’s Insurance Premium Tax levied on extended warranty insurance policies at the point of sale
- Advising a local government body in connection with the state aid issues associated with the supply of broadband connectivity and e-learning tools to schools
- Advising a local authority on state aid issues in connection with the development of a town centre
- Acting for a trade association in connection with state aid issues arising from the grant of aid by the UK Government for certain projects
- Advising a US company on the acquisition of a European business which was the subject of an unlawful state aid decision by the EU Commission