GCR 100 - 12th Edition

Gleiss Lutz

27 January 2012

Germany

Partner and Who’s Who Legal nominee Ingo Brinker leads the competition team at Gleiss Lutz. Brinker says that amendments to Germany’s merger control thresholds have seen the number of merger applications referred to the Federal Cartel Office drop by as much as five or six hundred per year.

Nevertheless, the number of Phase II investigations or complicated Phase I reviews has been stable, he says. Gleiss Lutz advised on one of the most complicated merger cases of late – a ProSieben/RTL joint venture, which started life before the European Commission but was referred to the German Cartel Office at the agency’s request. The cartel office objected to the companies’ plans to form a joint online television platform. The case is now before the courts. Gleiss Lutz is representing both parties.

On the behavioural side, the firm is involved in just about every active cartel case in Germany. The cartel office has worked doggedly to unearth cartels, dedicating three of its 12 internal units to the cause. It has launched investigations in various food markets – including chocolate, sausages and coffee – and it has also focused on anti-competitive practices in the retail industry. Many cases are closed using the office’s settlement process, but a significant number are still fought out in the courts. Brinker advised on the carbonless paper case, which went all the way to the Supreme Court, and his team counselled HeidelbergCement, which spent almost 40 days in court defending cartel charges.

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