United States: Government Antitrust
The antitrust team in the DC office of Dechert has carved out an interesting niche for itself. It is, by all accounts, the primary destination for consummated mergers challenged by the US antitrust agencies. Since 2008, Who’s Who Legal nominee Paul T Denis and the 40-lawyer team have handled antitrust challenges of at least three consummated mergers brought by antitrust enforcers.
While the firm handles a full range of antitrust work for its clients, dealing with closed mergers has become a kind of speciality, Denis says. Over the past year, former FTC official Mike Cowie joined the DC office, giving the antitrust practice even more agency experience on its bench.
Much of the team’s work is high profile. But few antitrust matters during the past year have surpassed the DoJ’s challenge of Dean Foods’ completed acquisition of a division of Foremost Farms - the first merger challenge of the Obama administration. The DoJ wanted the divestiture of the purchased division, saying that the deal would otherwise reduce competition for milk in schools. But last spring, under the Dechert team’s guidance, the case was settled with Dean Foods selling off a single dairy plant - a result that preserved much of the deal’s structure. The team also advised Medco on its US$29 billion acquisition by Express Scripts, which is currently under FTC and congressional review. The team has been active in for private litigants as well, advising Travelport Limited in a monopolisation case and Elan Corporation in a multi-district class action alleging an agreement to delay a generic drug from the market.