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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Recent Matters

2 May 2022

Achmea acquires ABN AMRO premium pension institution ("PPI")

De Brauw has advised Achmea on its takeover of ABN AMRO Pensioeninstelling NV. This transaction gives Achmea an entrance into the Premium Pension Institution (PPI) market and enables the business to respond to the opportunities offered by the Pension Agreement.
20 April 2022

Nordian sells BauWatch Group to Haniel

De Brauw advised Nordian on its sale of the BauWatch Group to Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH. The BauWatch Group provides security, compliance and safety solutions at construction sites. The BauWatch Group is active in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and the UK.
23 March 2022

Hunkemöller to be sold to leading Dutch investors

Hunkemöller to be sold to leading Dutch investors, including Parcom and Opportunity Partners, with Carlyle reinvesting for a minority stake. Leading European lingerie brand Hunkemöller has been sold to leading Dutch investors, including Parcom, a Dutch investment company, and Opportunity Partners, the investment company of Dutch entrepreneur Robert van der Wallen. Global investment firm Carlyle (NASDAQ: CG), an existing shareholder, will reinvest for a minority stake. The new investors have an established track record in developing retail and e-commerce consumer goods brands and are ideally suited to support Hunkemöller's strategic ambitions. The board of Hunkemöller is excited and believes that this new partnership will accelerate the company's continued omni-channel growth strategy. The transaction remains subject to employee consultation and customary regulatory approvals.

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

20 April 2022

Netherlands introduces new access to public information regime

The Open Government Act (Woo) will enter into force on 1 May 2022, replacing the current law (Wob). The aim of the new law is to create a more transparent government that actively discloses information. The changes contained in the new law, especially in terms of active disclosure, are a significant departure from the current regime, where information has been mostly disclosed on request. That is not the only change though: there will be new exceptions to disclosure, a shorter decision-making period, and a central platform where all information is made public. In addition, the new law will apply to a wider range of public authorities. Under the new act, private companies will be asked more often to respond to intended disclosures. The new regime will not only apply to new documents, but also for documentation which is already in the possession of administrative bodies.
19 April 2022

Dutch lower house adopts foreign direct investment control regime

On 19 April 2022, the lower house of parliament adopted a bill introducing a national security control regime for investment screening in the Netherlands. Once in force, the screening regime will apply to all qualifying investments made after 8 September 2020. This means that the legislation may affect recently concluded and currently ongoing transactions. The screening mechanism will apply to investments in undertakings active in vital processes or sensitive technology. In a previous article we outlined the investment control regime envisaged under the bill. The exact material scope has been debated in parliament and will be laid down in ministerial orders later this year. The government has made clear that it expects the bill to come into force by the end of 2022.
23 March 2022

Commission takes long-awaited stance on sustainability agreements between competitors

Businesses are increasingly backing the EU's green ambition, with competitors ready to join forces in pursuit of sustainability goals. To provide legal certainty, the Commission devotes a chapter to the competition law assessment of sustainability agreements in its new draft horizontal guidelines (see our more general article on those guidelines here). The Commission sets boundaries within which pro-sustainability cooperation may be achieved. Although concrete sustainability gains may qualify as benefits that outweigh competitive restraints, the Commission's assessment remains narrowly anchored in the consumer welfare standard. The "out of market" sustainability benefits of an anti-competitive agreement (namely, those that accrue to wider society), will only be taken into account if the affected customer group is also a direct beneficiary. In contrast, the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has shown more willingness to look beyond the relevant market and the immediate consumer.

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