Competition

Technical, commercial and strategic, our competition team understand clients’ business objectives and we help clients successfully navigate through the most complex of antitrust issues. We recognise that straightforward, practical, focused, timely and business-friendly advice is all that counts. We aim to deliver exactly that on a broad range of local and multi-jurisdictional antitrust matters.
  • Profile
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Competition law compliance is a high priority for businesses worldwide. Competition authorities are increasingly cracking down on cartels, abusive and other anti-competitive practices as well as strictly enforcing their merger control rules. In the present day, no company or employee can afford to ignore the civil and criminal sanctions that may be applied under the competition rules.  Nor can companies consider themselves immune from the possibility of third party private damages actions.

Our competition team have expertise across the full spectrum of competition law and advise an international client base across a range of industry sectors.

In particular, we have extensive experience of:

  • Cartels – including dawn raids, investigations, whistleblowing, leniency and settlement agreements.
  • Abuse of market power – including the negotiation of commitments.
  • Merger control – including national and multi-jurisdictional filings worldwide.
  • Compliance – including advising on compliance programmes as well as conducting audits/mock dawn raids.
  • Commercial agreements – including assisting with the review and drafting of distribution, selective distribution, franchising, agency and other arrangements to ensure compliance.
  • Complaints – including advising on third party interventions.
  • Market investigations – including advising on consumer and industry wide transparency issues and solutions.
  • Private actions and litigation – pursuing or defending against complaints and actions.
  • Public procurement and state aid.

“The competition team provides excellent, commercial advice – not only do they know the law, they do a terrific job of applying it in a pragmatic manner”
The Legal 500 UK 2020

Cartel investigations (including leniency & appeals)

Acting for a defendant in the European Commission's freight forwarding cartel investigation and gaining one of the best leniency deals granted by the European Commission; acting in the subsequent appeal to the EU Courts.

Criminal investigations

Advising in relation to the investigation by the UK's Office of Fair Trading (predecessor to the Competition & Markets Authority) into criminal offences associated with price-fixing in the airline industry.

Dawn raids (including mock-dawn raids and audits)

Providing on-site dawn raid and audit assistance to clients in various industries (including oil, gas, chemicals, construction, leisure and shipping) alleged to be involved in cartel behaviour.

Abuse of market power

Defending a global financial information services provider on a high profile European Commission investigation involving exclusionary abuse of dominance allegations and agreeing commitments.

Unconditional merger control clearances

Securing for a large UK bank Phase I clearances from the European Commission, Brazil, USA, Canada, Mexico and Japan on the sale of its wealth management and exchange traded funds business to a global asset management company.

Conditional merger control clearances

Advising one of the largest global financial information services provider on the sale of its business to a major competitor securing a conditional and simultaneous Phase II clearance from the European Commission and US Department of Justice, as well as clearances in various other jurisdictions worldwide (including Brazil, Canada, Singapore, Turkey and others).

Competition compliance

Preparing, rolling out and delivering competition compliance policies, guidelines and training to organisations in various sectors (e.g. shipping, pharmaceuticals, rail, energy, retail/consumer) across different regions worldwide (e.g. Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa).

Commercial agreements

Regularly advising clients on various restrictions arising in distribution, selective distribution, franchising, agency, strategic alliances, R&D and specialisation agreements (e.g. exclusivity, resale price maintenance, active/passive sales, territorial restrictions, parallel imports, grant backs, no-challenge & termination clauses).

Complaints

Advising clients in various sectors (in particular, health, financial information services and consumer) on how to bring complaints and preparing submissions to antitrust authorities against competitors, customers and suppliers engaged in anti-competitive/abusive practices.

Private actions and litigation

Advising a leading Indian real estate developer in one of the first test UK civil cases about alleged manipulation of the LIBOR benchmark.
Lawyer

Marta Isabel Garcia Partner

T:  +44 20 7809 2141
M:  +44 7985 716 668 Email Marta Isabel | Vcard Office:  London

Lawyer

Giovanna Kwong Partner

T:  +852 2533 2787
M:  Email Giovanna | Vcard Office:  Hong Kong

Latest news & insights

25 Sep 2019

From Insights

Competition law update - September 2019

Welcome to the September 2019 - first edition of our Competition law newsletter – a quarterly update on EU and UK competition law developments.

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16 Jul 2019

From Insights

Hong Kong competition watchdog takes third cartel case to competition tribunal

Earlier this month, the Competition Commission of Hong Kong (the “Commission”) initiated proceedings against yet another group of decoration contractors for alleged ca..

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08 Jul 2019

From Insights

EU focus on loan syndication in credit markets

On 5 April 2019, the European Commission published the long-awaited report, entitled "EU loan syndication and its impact on competition in credit markets" prepared for..

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26 Jun 2019

From News

Stephenson Harwood advises 3 Step IT on its European strategic alliance with BNP Paribas

Law firm Stephenson Harwood LLP is advising 3 Step IT Group Oy on its proposed European strategic alliance with BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions, a subsidiary of BNP Pari..

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31 May 2019

From Insights

競爭事務審裁處就香港首兩宗競爭案件作出裁決

2019年5月17日,香港競爭事務審裁處(“審裁處”)就一宗涉及圍標以及另一宗涉及瓜分市場和合謀定價的行為作出了兩項重要裁決。這兩宗案件不僅表明香港的競爭體制遵循歐盟確立已久的反壟斷規則,同時為此前缺乏本地法律依據的領域提供了更確切的法律依據。兩項案件的案情撮要請參照我們分別在2017年3月28日 和2017年8月21日 發佈的文章..

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28 May 2019

From Insights

Competition Tribunal lays down judgments in Hong Kong’s first two competition cases

On 17 May 2019, the Hong Kong Competition Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) handed down two important judgments – one in relation to bid-rigging, and another in relation to pr..

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14 Dec 2018

From Insights

The new Geo-Blocking Regulation... now in force

The Geo-Blocking Regulation ((EU) 2018/302) which addresses unjustified on-line sales discrimination based on a customer's nationality, place of residence or place of ..

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16 Nov 2018

From Insights

Siemens’ proposed acquisition of Alstom facing in-depth antitrust scrutiny by EU and Australasia regulators

Following the European Commission’s (“EC”) opening of a Phase II investigation into Siemens' proposed acquisition of Alstom in July, the proposed tie-up between the EU..

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06 Nov 2018

From Insights

CMA's tough message - 'Stop cartels'

On 22 October 2018, the CMA launched a nationwide campaign called "Stop Cartels" to educate businesses about illegal competition practices and encourage whistle-blower..

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15 Oct 2018

From Insights

CMA launches Market Study into the audit sector

On 9 October 2018, the Competition and Markets Authority ("CMA") announced that it had launched a market study into the statutory audit market in order to see whether ..

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09 Oct 2018

From Insights

The Loyalty Penalty Super-Complaint: New Challenges for the CMA

On 28 September 2018, Citizens Advice lodged a "Super-Complaint" with the Competition and Markets Authority to ask the CMA to investigate the loyalty penalty: the high..

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30 Jul 2018

From Insights

European Commission opens Phase II investigation into proposed acquisition of Alstom by Siemens

On 13 July 2018, the European Commission ("EC") opened an in-depth Phase II investigation into the proposed acquisition by Siemens of Alstom under the EU merger contro..

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28 Jun 2018

From Insights

A brave new world - increased focus by antitrust regulators on primary and secondary market activities

In the past, competition enforcement in the financial services sector focused mainly on the areas of State aid and merger control, before the swathe of manipulation of..

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27 Jun 2018

From News

Marta Isabel Garcia named in Who's Who Legal: Competition Future Leaders 2018

Stephenson Harwood partner Marta Isabel Garcia has been named in Who's Who Legal: Competition Future Leaders 2018 international ranking, co-published by Global Competi..

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04 Jun 2018

From Insights

Auditing the auditors – Potential review by the CMA?

A new UK Parliamentary report has urged the UK Government to refer the statutory audit market to the UK's Competition and Markets Authority.

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30 May 2018

From Insights

No duty of equal treatment or fairness owed to those under a Competition and Markets Authority ("CMA") investigation

On 16 May 2018 the Supreme Court allowed an appeal by the Competition & Markets Authority against a Court of Appeal judgment that found that the Office of Fair Trading..

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