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Latham & Watkins lures CMA director of mergers to broaden London offering

Latham & Watkins has hired the UK Competition and Markets Authority’s director of mergers Jonathan Parker as it rounds out its London offering.

Parker leaves the CMA after two years at the UK’s primary competition and consumer authority, bolstering its merger team after it replaced the UK Competition Commission in early 2014.

He will join Latham’s antitrust & competition practice in May as a partner. Parker is the latest in a string of high-profile antitrust and competition appointments made by Latham in Europe as it beefs up its corporate team, following the arrival of Elisabetta Righini from the European Commission in Brussels. Parker becomes Latham’s fifth competition partner in London and the 20th in Europe.

An internal reshuffle at the CMA in late 2014 saw Parker, who joined the regulator from Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy, promoted to director of mergers. In this role he led the strengthening of the CMA’s merger unit, handling over 30 UK merger cases, including the union of gambling giants Ladbrokes and Coral. Parker also handled the first ever application to the CMA for interim measures, made by Worldpay over the Visa interchange fees investigation.

While a senior associate at A&O, Parker’s practice centred on representing major corporations in the pharmaceutical, energy, retail, banking and financial services sectors.

Latham antitrust and competition practice co-chair Sven Völcker said recent changes to the UK merger regime had raised the stakes for transactions with a UK nexus.

‘This creates obvious challenges in terms of deal certainty and increases the pressure to make notifications of any deals that may face scrutiny. Jonathan’s unique experience and insights will further enhance our ability to offer strategic transactional advice to our clients who are facing an increasingly complex competition landscape.’