This award will be given to the team based in either London or Brussels that can demonstrate incisive antitrust advice on a specific case, transaction or investigation, or was instrumental in steering a client through a regulatory minefield. Entrants should be able to demonstrate clearly the direct effect of their advice on the final outcome.
2016 WINNER: Linklaters
Sir Christopher Bellamy QC
Advised Novartis on a major three-part transaction with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which involved the $16bn acquisition of GSK’s oncology products. To get the deal through, Linklaters had to develop a unique remedy package to dispose of two oncology products that allowed the transaction to be cleared at Phase I level.
FRESHFIELDS BRUCKHAUS DERINGER
Freshfields advised Poundland on the merger control review of its acquisition of competitor 99p Stores. While the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had indicated Poundland would have to dispose of some 90 outlets, the firm convinced the regulator during a full Phase II investigation that this was not necessary and the deal was cleared.
The combination of two of the largest competitors in the chilled savoury pastry market, Pork Farms Group and Kerry Foods, raised unique competition issues. While there were specific concerns about the barriers to entry in the pork pie market especially, Macfarlanes successfully argued that products in the market were sufficiently commoditised.
Following an unprecedented move by the CMA, Nabarro successfully challenged its decision to force its client HCA International to sell off two private hospitals in London. This was the first time that the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) had quashed a CMA decision.
NORTON ROSE FULBRIGHT
Represented Reckitt Benckiser in its acquisition of the KY brand from Johnson & Johnson using an innovative licensing scheme. The KY brand was licensed to a third party for eight years, which avoided a full-scale divestment for the deal to be cleared.
SLAUGHTER AND MAY
Represented Northern Powergrid in its successful appeal to the CMA against regulator Ofgem’s price control. This secured Northern Powergrid a £31.5m increase in its total expenditure and its revenue allowances will be increased by £11m over the 2015-23 period.