Competition & Regulation

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Strategic competition advice for multinational clients, globally

… in enforcement actions and transactions, with an emphasis on Europe. Active across almost the entire spectrum of Competition and Regulatory law, our large, integrated Amsterdam/Brussels-based team handles multiple complex matters in parallel fashion.

We have experience in obtaining clearance of complex merger control cases involving potential remedies before the European Commission and other competition agencies worldwide. Our team has handled many high-profile, data-intensive cartel cases before the European Commission, and has a track record of getting fines annulled before the European Courts.

We have extensive experience of taking the lead in cross-border matters with tight cost control measures in place, and efficiently coordinate merger filings, often in numerous jurisdictions, worldwide. We are involved in all pending civil cartel damage actions in the Netherlands, and work closely together with our civil litigation specialists to assist our clients in their most complex matters.

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Global Competition Review's 'European Law Firm of the Year 2021'

2021
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EXPERTISE ANCHORED AT THE HEART OF EUROPE

Our cross-border capability in Europe is second to none.

Over the years, we have earned a reputation for getting enforcement actions neutralised and complex transactions cleared. We collaborate closely with those law firms which form part of our network of Best Friends and together form one of the largest European competition practices in Brussels. We cover all of the major European jurisdictions and are ranked as the best by the legal directories in each of these jurisdictions.

More than 175 Lawyers
40+ Brussels-based lawyers
Across 7 EU Member States

Our Brussels Office

The team are legally sharp, practical and no-nonsense... the advice is always very precise. They understand what we want as a client.

Chambers Europe, 2021

Insights

21 September 2022

Dutch competition authority willing to walk the talk on sustainability agreements

By publishing progressive guidance on sustainability agreements, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) has cast the spotlight on the role of competition law in promoting sustainability. Now its practical approach is beginning to reap dividends. Businesses are stepping forward to discuss pro-sustainability initiatives with the ACM where its guidelines are applied. Recently, the ACM declared that an initiative between soft drink suppliers to remove plastic handles and an initiative by garden centres to curtail their suppliers' use of illegal pesticides was not anti-competitive. On the other hand, while the ACM considered a joint marketing initiative for CO2 storage facilities to constitute a restriction of competition, it allowed the collaboration because the sustainable benefits out-weighed the anti-competitive effects. In addition to developing unilateral ESG initiatives, these real-life cases demonstrate opportunities for market participants to conclude sustainability agreements with their competitors.
25 July 2022

EU foreign subsidy control regime on the horizon: co-legislatures reach agreement

The European Parliament and Council of the EU have agreed on a draft text for the upcoming Foreign Subsidies Regulation (FSR). The FSR is intended to fix a regulatory asymmetry: state aid granted by EU member states is subject to strict checks, but there is no equivalent scrutiny of financial contributions by third countries to companies active in the EU. The FSR will make M&A deals or public procurement bids fuelled by foreign financial contributions notifiable to the European Commission if they meet certain thresholds. Notified M&A deals will remain suspended, and procurement contracts cannot be awarded, until there is a clearance decision from the Commission. Even when the notification thresholds are not met, the Commission might "call in" M&A deals before their implementation or bids before the award of the public contract. Under a general market investigation power, the Commission may also review implemented concentrations or awarded public contracts. In practice, this means dealmakers will have to navigate a variety of regimes and jurisdictions as an M&A deal could be subject to national or EU merger control, national security/foreign direct investment (FDI) control, and now also, EU foreign subsidy control.
13 June 2022

Dutch Supreme Court: legal privilege for in-house counsel if independence is guaranteed

Are foreign lawyers acting as in-house counsel covered by legal privilege in the Netherlands? In a recent ruling, the Supreme Court held that they can invoke legal privilege, but only if their independence is guaranteed.