Competition

MAKING THE MOST OF OPPORTUNITIES. BEING IN CONTROL OF THE CASE. EXPERIENCING SPECIALISTS AS PARTNERS. BENEFIT FROM UNIQUE EXPERTISE.

For further information about our COMPETITION practice Dr Christian Karbaum is at your disposal at any time.

MERGER CONTROL

Our antitrust team accompanies clients as parties or third parties in merger control proceedings before the Federal Cartel Office and the European Commission.

Through our worldwide network of leading law firms, we also coordinate merger control filings in third countries for our clients. Recently, we have been advising in the following cases, for example:

  • Franz Haniel & Cie. GmbH: Representation in various merger control proceedings, e.g. before the European Commission concerning the establishment of a joint venture between CWS-boco and Rentokil Initial to acquire the Continental European business of Rentokil Initial
  • United Internet on worldwide merger control, most recently e.g. in the acquisition of mobile communications provider Drillisch AG, hosting specialist Strato AG or in the creation of a joint affiliate network with Axel Springer (AWIN AG)
  • Representation of Deutsche Telekom AG in merger control proceedings concerning the merger of Liberty Global (Unitymedia) and Kabel BW before the Higher Regional Court (OLG) of Düsseldorf (first-time annulment of a clearance due to insufficient remedies)
  • Accuride Corp. on merger control concerning the acquisition of mefro wheels GmbH
  • Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc: Lead counsel in the acquisition of the Gestra business division from US group Flowserve Corporation
  • Merger control advice to Oakley Capital on the acquisition of Career Partner Group from Apollo Education Group

 

CARTEL INVESTIGATIONS

Our firm represents a large number of companies and members of management bodies in cartel investigations before the German Federal Cartel Office and the European Commission.

In this context, we guide companies through the investigation stage, advise on the strategic decision whether to submit a leniency application and work with our clients to develop a defence strategy. Through our international network of law firms we are able to also coordinate leniency applications worldwide.

Recently, GLADE MICHEL WIRTZ has been involved in the following cases, amongst others, which have also been the subject of attention from the general public:

Food retail, meat and sausages, confectionery, coffee, mills, industrial chemicals, rail technology, mining technology, silo mortar, polyurethane foam, plastic packaging for food, power transformers, drugstore articles, concrete pipes, paving stones, automatic doors, industrial insurances, luxury cosmetics, personal hygiene products, heat-shielding sheets or steel purchasing

 

ABUSE PROCEEDINGS

We also represent our clients in investigations regarding the abuse of a dominant market position before the European Commission and the Federal Cartel Office.

Where undertakings have a certain degree of market power, they are subject to restrictions on their conduct which do not apply to other market participants. As a result, their purchasing and distribution strategies, as well as contract, pricing and discount structures, must meet specific requirements, in particular regarding non-discrimination and the prohibition of impediments.

We therefore support clients with a strong market position in making full use of existing leeway and in complying with the requirements of the prohibition of abuse in day-to-day business. Conversely, companies may be affected by abusive conduct on the part of third parties. In this respect, we advise our clients on asserting their interests against companies with a strong market position in negotiations and, if necessary, by submitting complaints to the antitrust authorities.

Recent matters we worked on in this area concerned, for example, the wind power industry, energy services, automotive suppliers, online sales, player agencies or the licensing of standard essential patents.

DRAFTING OF CONTRACTUAL AGREEMENTS & SETTING-UP DISTRIBUTION SYSTEMS

We advise our clients on how to structure distribution systems and contractual agreements in accordance with competition law. Our advice covers all competitive aspects arising from agreements between competitors, with suppliers, distributors or customers.

One focus of our activities is the development of distribution and discount systems. Antitrust law does set limits to the sales efforts of companies – for example, with regard to retail pricing, online sales or exclusivity – but it also opens up considerable scope. We therefore advise our clients in implementing their distribution strategies in accordance with antitrust law and to achieve their objectives.

Our clients in this field include well-known manufacturers of branded goods as well as DAX 30 companies in the pharmaceutical and consumer goods industries, with whom we develop, introduce, or restructure new (online) distribution systems including innovative business concepts of the digital age.

COOPERATIONS BETWEEN COMPETITORS

Cooperation with competitors, for example in research, development, production or purchasing, has potential.

The close contact between competitors on strategic future issues, however, entails antitrust risks. We therefore advise our clients in all phases of a possible cooperation, i.e. from the initiation and planning, through the examination and negotiation phase, to the support of the implementation of a cooperation, so that the scope of conduct under antitrust law is exhausted and antitrust violations are prevented.

Our clients in this field include, amongst others, leading industrial and technology groups, trading houses and association or purchasing groups, whom we advise on cooperation in joint procurement, joint research and development, technology licenses, joint production, colleague deliveries etc., so that opportunities can be realised without risks.

 

LITIGATION & CARTEL DAMAGES

One focus of our advisory services in the area of competition law is antitrust litigation.

We represent clients in appeals against fining and administrative decisions, for example in merger control cases before the German Federal Cartel Office and the European Commission. In the area of civil law we are primarily active in defending and asserting claims for cartel damages (follow-on damages) as well as in the context of asserting claims against companies with a dominant market position.

For further details, please refer to the Litigation section.

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Compliance

We advise our clients in specific occasions (for example, following the discovery of a violation of antitrust law) and preventively in the development, structuring, implementation and support of compliance management systems.

An important component of our preventive advice is the definition of appropriate prevention processes and the preparation of risk-adjusted compliance documentation, which documents measures to mitigate compliance risks and also contains antitrust guidelines for employees. Our advisory service includes trainings (in person or electronically) for executives and other employees active in risk areas.

Compliance for associations is also an important part of our work, because association work involves increased antitrust risks both for the associations and their members. We therefore provide ongoing advice to associations and members of associations on compliance issues and with regard to meetings in order to ensure conduct in compliance with antitrust law.

For further details, please refer to the Compliance section.

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