Competition Law | Europe

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Morrison & Foerster’s European offices play a leading role in the firm’s highly integrated global antitrust practice. Our competition practice represents some of the world’s largest companies on their most important matters, earning recognition in leading legal directories, such as Chambers Global and Legal 500. Lawyers in our Brussels, London and Berlin offices are qualified to practice under the national laws of a number of European countries. In addition to frequent appearances before with the European Commission in Brussels, our lawyers represent clients on a regular basis before competition authorities in EU Member States.

Investigations and Litigation

Lawyers in our European offices have played an important role in most of the cartel investigations that the European Commission has brought since 2007, including those concerning cathode ray tubes, freight forwarding, optical disk drives, smart card chips, rechargeable batteries, mobile LCDs, and auto parts. Our antitrust litigators' record of success includes a favourable settlement for our client in the TFT-LCD cartel damages action brought by Nokia in the United Kingdom against various LCD panel manufacturers.

Merger Control Proceedings

We frequently advise companies contemplating mergers, acquisitions, and joint ventures, and represent them in merger control proceedings before the European Commission and competition authorities in EU Member States. We have assisted clients in obtaining approval of a number of significant mergers and acquisitions in a variety of industries in recent years. In particular, we represented Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget in its acquisition of Georgia-Pacific’s tissue operations, and advised Hitachi on its divestment of its hard disk drive business to Western Digital.

Counselling Practice

We also counsel clients regarding a wide range of antitrust issues, including vertical restraints, horizontal agreements, technology licensing, and competition compliance programmes. Morrison & Foerster has particular expertise in handling investigations at the cross-section of IP and antitrust law. And lawyers in our Berlin office have unparalleled experience counselling clients on sector-specific regulation in the technology, media, and telecom (TMT) industry.

Recent European Matters Our Attorneys Have Worked on

  • We are representing a major Japanese conglomerate and its subsidiary in the ongoing cartel investigation of manufacturers of secondary (rechargeable) batteries used in, among other things, notebook computers and cell phones.
  • We represented a major U.S. chip manufacturer in the EU Commission’s investigation of alleged price fixing in the smart card chip industry.
  • We are representing SSAB, the Swedish carbon steel manufacturer, in its acquisition of Rautaruukki, its Finnish competitor.
  • We represented a major transportation company in the EU cartel investigation of the freight forwarding industry. Our work involved the global coordination of litigation strategy, fact development, and witness interviews. The Commission Decision was adopted in 2012.
  • We are representing a Japanese manufacturer in the EU Commission’s ongoing investigation of alleged price fixing in the mobile LCD industry.
  • We represented Panasonic before the EU Commission in the global cathode ray tube price fixing investigation (Decision adopted December 2012), and are lead counsel in Panasonic’s appeal against the EU Commission Decision before the General Court (pending).
  • We are representing a major Japanese conglomerate in the EU Commission’s investigation of alleged collusion in the auto parts industry. The auto parts investigation is the largest cartel investigation ever handled by the European Commission.
  • We represented Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget SCA AB as antitrust counsel in the €1.6 billion acquisition of Georgia-Pacific’s European tissue operations.
  • We represented Hitachi in its divestment of its hard disk drive business, which involved coordinating extended investigations in a number of jurisdictions, including China, the EU, Japan, and the U.S. The case involved a reduction in the number of competitors in this global business to four.
  • We are representing Sky Deutschland in a wide range of competition and media matters, including third-party litigation against the German Federal Cartel Office clearance of the LGI/KBW cable merger.
  • Our attorneys represented various broadband cable network operators in merger control proceedings before the German Federal Cartel Office (including the recent KDG/TC phase 2 proceedings), as well as in network access and price-control proceedings before the Federal Network Agency.

IFLR1000 2012
EU Competition

Legal 500 Europe, Middle East & Africa 2011
Belgium: EU Competition

PLC Which lawyer? 2009
European Union: Competition/Antitrust: EU Competition

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“[Morrison & Foerster’s] wide range of expertise includes extensive experience in cartel defence and resulting private class actions, and in merger clearance mandates.”
(Chambers Global 2013)

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