Regulatory scrutiny and approval from the competition authorities is increasingly global, particularly where they involve large-scale mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and cases of state aid.
Today, there are more regulators with greater powers than ever before. Breaches of competition law can lead to reputational damage, extensive financial penalties and (in some jurisdictions) the risk of individual criminal prosecutions, disqualification and subsequent damages actions. It pays to be cautious.
Competition and anti-trust law is highly specialised; public affairs activities work in this sector requires an equally in-depth knowledge of the rules and procedures. Although many competition cases are not political, they are still subject to approval by the competition authorities in the European Union and other jurisdictions. Some cases may raise both competition concerns and wider issues of public policy.
We have advised clients on the public affairs aspects of competition policy for more than 15 years. We have advised on over 100 mergers and acquisitions, both national and international, including cross-border cases in the European Union. We have also advised on a similar number of anti-trust cases covering competition in existing markets, new market entry, alleged abuse of a dominant position, copyright and trademark issues, state aid and cartels.
Client objectives in competition cases may include seeking an agreed settlement or acceptable undertakings to resolve particular competition issues, financial or other penalties for anti-competitive conduct, gaining unconditional approval or prohibition for particular transactions.