GCR 100 - 17th Edition

Gleiss Lutz

10 January 2017

Brussels

Gleiss Lutz boasts one of Brussels' oldest competition practices, dating back to 1962, which includes a well-respected state aid practice. Ulrich Soltész is the only resident partner in Brussels, but EU practice head Ingo Brinker and three other partners split their time between Brussels and Germany - mirroring the spread of the firm's antitrust work across both jurisdictions. Christian von Köckritz, who has was promoted to counsel in January 2015, will join the partnership in January 2017. Cartel investigations continue to keep the practice busy, with the Brussels team advising on 15 separate auto parts cases, as well as counselling Daimler in DG Comp's truck cartel investigation. The team continues to advise Infineon in its appeal against a European Commission ruling that fined the smart card chips manufacturer €82 million for allegedly participating in a cartel, and Duravit in its appeal to the European Court of Justice regarding the enforcer's bathroom fittings cartel decision. The firm played a prominent role acting for consultancy AC Treuhand before the ECJ, which ruled that consultancies and other professional bodies who facilitate the creation and organisation of cartels are liable to be punished. It also secured a landmark judgment for HeidelbergCement before the ECJ, which restricted the investigative powers of the European Commission in antitrust proceedings. On the merger side, Von Köckritz worked with Brinker on a three-way pan-European music licensing joint venture, with the pair acting for all three companies - GEMA, PRS for Music and STIM. DG Comp cleared the deal after Phase II proceedings. The team also advised HeidelbergCement on its Italcementi takeover.

Germany

The 44-strong competition practice at GLEISS LUTZ is one of two traditionally German firms in our Elite band. The team features 10 partners, led by Ingo Brinker, who splits his time between Munich and Brussels. He and six other partners are nominated to Who's Who Legal: Competition. Iris Benedikt-Buckenleib became a counsel in January 2016.

While the firm is rooted in Germany, it takes on a huge amount of international work. To name but a few recent German cartel matters, Gleiss Lutz defended companies involved in cartels between garage makers, grocery retailers, wallpaper manufacturers, sugar sellers and china manufacturers. At the European level, the team acted for Daimler in the DG Comp trucks investigation, and bagged a landmark judgment on behalf of Schwenk Zement and HeidelbergCement at the European Court of Justice that restricted the EU enforcer's investigative powers. Wolfgang Bosch acted for SKF, one of five auto parts companies fined a total of €953 million in 2014, and Brinker and Munich partner Petra Linsmeier represented Infineon in DG Comp's smart card chip cartel probe.

The firm has also been involved in innovative German and European merger control work. It acted for Markant during a challenge against ministerial authorisation for the Edeka/Kaiser's Tengelmann supermarket deal, which had overturned a Federal Cartel Office (FCO) prohibition decision. Brinker, alongside a Brussels team led by counsel Christian von Köckritz, acted for all three parties in a cross-border music licensing joint venture among PRS for Music, STIM and GEMA - the music licensing organisations for Britain, Sweden and Germany respectively. The European Commission approved the deal in 2015. Gleiss has also had a major role in one of 2016's massive agribusiness deals: the competition team acts for Syngenta during its €43 billion acquisition by ChemChina, and is coordinating global filings outside North America.

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