Competition / Merger Control

Our Competition Law Team advises businesses on their day-to-day compliance with competition law, as well as the impact of the UK merger regulations on corporate transactions.

Competition Services

The potential costs of defending your business against allegations of an infringement of competition law and the fines and reputational damage for a failed defence against any such allegations can be highly significant. In the light of criminal prosecutions and director disqualification orders, directors and employees are very much in the firing line. In addition, damages claims from affected parties are becoming ever more prevalent.

Competition law compliance risks vary from industry to industry with certain sectors being particularly prone to cartel and other anti-competitive activity.

Many, if not most, businesses stray into compliance infringements because of commercial decisions which, in isolation, appear appropriate to the commercial dynamics of the market. Executives may inadvertently expose their companies to a wide range of competition law compliance issues – we can ensure that your risks in this complex and dangerous legal field are kept to a minimum, and assist with any investigations by the Competition and Markets Authority, Dawn Raids, and allegations of anti-competitive behaviour from third parties.

The impact of competition law on distribution and sales arrangements between manufacturers/brand owners, distributors/wholesalers, and retailers, cannot be under-estimated, particularly in the world of online sales to consumers across the EU, and the methods used to protect brand positions.

The team regularly advises on both domestic and European competition law. Many of our clients have business arrangements that involve agreements with commercial partners in the EU and beyond and the team is well versed in the cross jurisdictional issues which these arrangements can generate.

On the other side of the coin, clients may believe that their suppliers or competitors are acting in breach of competition law, and we can advise on appropriate steps to be taken with the Competition and Markets Authority, or the offending party directly, to seek redress or the cessation of the offending action.

The work carried out by our Competition Law Team includes:

  • advising manufacturers/brand owners, distributors and retailers on restrictive arrangements in distribution, agency, sales and purchasing agreements.
  • advising clients on lawful collaboration, joint venturing and joint bidding arrangements in competitive bid tender processes.
  • advising clients on their response to investigations (including Dawn Raids) by the Competition and Markets Authority or other sector regulators.
  • advising trade associations on their constitutions, policies, procedures and activities.
  • advising clients on technology, research and development (technology transfer) and collaboration arrangements.
  • preparation of internal guidance, policies and procedures, and delivery of training, to ensure competition law compliance by all members of your business.

Merger Control

Our Competition Law Team also advises businesses and their owners on the potential impact of the UK merger control regime on corporate transactions. In addition to initial analysis and advice in respect of the applicability of the merger control regime on transactions, the team advises on merger notifications and potential undertakings or other steps to be taken to obtain merger clearance where necessary. We work closely with our Corporate Team to ensure our clients are fully aware of the timing, costs and other potential implications of merger controls on their transactions.