GCR 100 - 15th Edition

Hogan Lovells

04 December 2014

Although the quantity of work Hogan Lovells did in mergers and cartels was not enough to put it in the top 10 for either, the firm remains high in the Global Elite due to the overall quality of its practice.

Merger ranking - Cartel ranking -
Global heads Suyong Kim, Janet McDavid
Number of jurisdictions with a competition team 16
Practice size 141
Partners 54
Senior advisers 1
Counsel 19
Percentage of partners/counsel in Who's Who Legal 11
Senior associates 14
Associates 66
Lateral partner hires 4
Partner departures 2
Former enforcers 11

It oversaw complex deals requiring clearance in several jurisdictions. It won clearance for Maersk’s shipping tie-up in Brussels, Germany, Washington, DC and Vietnam, and is negotiating Alstom’s sale to General Electric through the EU, China, South Africa, Mexico and the United States. Hogan advised IBM on the US$2.3 billion sale of its x86 server business to Lenovo, guiding it through the DoJ, European Commission, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and the Chinese Ministry or Commerce.

Where mergers were challenged by an enforcer, Hogan fought back, securing Axel Spring’s right to take over ProSiebenSat.1 in the German courts. Its prowess was recognised by the German Federal Cartel Office, which chose the firm to represent it against a €1.1 billion damages claim for losses allegedly caused by an unlawful merger prohibition.

Though the firm had no successful amnesty or immunity applicants in the past year, it was called in for dawn raids in France, Lithuania, Latvia and Germany, and won leniency and discounts for four clients. It is advising Air Canada in the air cargo investigations and follow-on damages claims, which involve the European Commission, General Court appeal, and litigations in England, the Netherlands, Norway and Germany.It is also representing Tele Columbus in its claim against German broadband cable market competitor Kabel Deutschland.

Hogan Lovells added a Mexico City affiliation in August 2014 by joining with Barrera Siqueiros y Torres Landa, which also brought the firm Who’s Who Legal: Competition nominee Ricardo A Pons Mestre. In June, Kathryn Hellings joined the firm from the US Department of Justice, where she had prosecuted cartels for nearly 11 years, the last three of which were as assistant chief of the antitrust division’s national criminal enforcement section. Mark Jones came to Hogan’s London office from Norton Rose Fulbright in January.

Brussels

HOGAN LOVELLS covers an interesting range of competition areas. Matthew Levitt is one of the go-to lawyers for shipping, practice head and Who’s Who Legal: Competition nominee Jacques Derenne is renowned for his state aid work and Ciara Kennedy-Loest is a public procurement specialist. Levitt has been busy recently, advising shipping company Maersk in the Commission’s price signalling investigation and in its P3 alliance with two rivals, approved unconditionally by the Commission, though the deal has since been abandoned after it was prohibited in China. He is also representing one of the parties in the car shipping investigation. Meanwhile, partner Christopher Thomas obtained EU approval for a joint venture between Mitsubishi Heavy Industry and Hitachi to merge their thermal power generation capacity.

China

Having moved to Beijing 18 months before the AML came into force, HOGAN LOVELLS’ China antitrust chief Adrian Emch says he has gained significant understanding of the country’s competition law and the processes around it. This has helped the team establish a decent foothold in the market advising on all aspects of antitrust law, including in key areas such as distribution and the crossover between competition and IP.

Among a plethora of confidential matters, Emch and his group recently advised IBM on gaining Mofcom approval for the sale of the company’s x86 server business to Chinese rival Lenovo. The firm also represented Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in filing with Mofcom regarding the creation of a wind turbine joint venture with Vestas. There’s plenty more on the behavioural front, with the firm involved in probes across a range of sectors, but they too remain confidential.

France

Pierre de Montalembert leads the competition practice at HOGAN LOVELLS in Paris. The firm has remained busy in all aspects of competition law, and continues to represent leading French banks including Banque de France, BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole and their representative association in matters related to the settlement of the French Competition Authority’s investigation of interchange fees. De Montalembert is advising Friessinger Mühle in its appeal against a fine over a Franco-German flour cartel and the team is advising Texas Instruments France on the competition law implications of its retail distributorships. Last year also saw the firm represent new client CNP Assurances in its acquisition of a 51 per cent shareholding interest in Santander Insurance Life and Santander Insurance Europe.

Germany

Who’s Who Legal nominee Martin Sura leads the three-partner competition practice atHOGAN LOVELLS, which is divided among offices in Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Munich. It advises Autobahn Tank und Rast regarding the distribution of fuel rights at motorway petrol stations and eBay in connection with the FCO’s investigation of online distribution arrangements and the pilot cases against Asics and Adidas. It also successfully defended the FCO in a €1 billion damages claim from Danish hearing aid manufacturer GN Store Nord regarding the prohibition of its tie-up with rival Sonova. Three courts rejected GN’s case in the first official liability lawsuit ever filed against the authority.

Mexico

Ricardo Pons Mestre, a nominee to Who’s Who Legal: Competition, and Omar Guerrero run the antitrust group at HOGAN LOVELLS BSTL, which was formed in August when the Anglo-American legal giant merged with local firm Barrera Siqueiros Torres y Landa. 2014 also saw some personnel changes: partner Bernardo Ledesma Uribe left the firm, but Santiago Ferrer Pérez was promoted, leaving Hogan Lovells with three partners and five associates spending most of their time on Mexican antitrust issues.

The firm’s work over the past year has included significant transactions, such as advising airplane maker Textron in its acquisition of Beechcraft and continuing to help Sherwin-Williams in the fallout from its scuppered deal with Comex. Other transactional clients include ACE and Xpedx. On the behavioural side the company remains active in the CFC’s poultry cartel investigation. Samsung, Roche, International Paper and Bachoco are all new clients this year.

Poland

Although the HOGAN LOVELLS team predominantly acts before the Polish Office for Competition and Consumer Protection and represents clients in proceedings before Polish courts, it also has experience before the European Commission in merger control and other antitrust cases.

Hogan Lovells counsel Robert Gago, who heads the competition practice, says his team is kept busy by PKN Orlen. The firm is long-time counsel to Poland’s largest company and the main player in the energy market. For example, it represents Lithuanian refinery Orlen Lietuva in European proceedings examining whether Lithuania’s incumbent railway operator abused its dominant position. It assists another client with a complaint to the Polish competition authority and a sector regulator in instigating an investigation of abuse of dominant position and exclusionary practices.

Spain

HOGAN LOVELLS’ Madrid antitrust practice is led by Casto González-Páramo, who was promoted into the firm’s partnership last January. He is supported by two associates. This year, the team led reinsurance company SCOR in its defence of a damage claim lodged by rival Musaat for SCOR’s alleged role in decennial insurance cartel, a case that is now pending before the Supreme Court. González-Páramo also advised Brookfield Infrastructure Partners on an EU merger notification of its acquisition of berths at the ports of Auckland and New York, and advised Globalvia – a joint venture between FCC and Bankia – on merger control issues related to its agreement with three pension funds, including notifications to the European Commission. The firm also advised the world’s leading credit insurer Euler Hermes on the development of Solunion, an international joint venture in the credit insurance business with Spanish insurer Mapfre.

United Kingdom

HOGAN LOVELLS continues to outshine most of the competition with its excellent six-partner London team, two of whom are nominees to Who’s Who Legal, including global practice co-head Suyong Kim. Angus Coulter is in charge of the UK practice while Nicholas Heaton specialises in competition litigation. Partner Mark Jones joined in November 2013 from Norton Rose Fulbright.

The practice benefits from a strong public law department, as shown by its ongoing representation of Stansted Airport, persuading the Civil Aviation Authority to deregulate its passenger and cargo businesses. In other aviation cases, Hogan Lovells advises Air Canada in its appeal against the Commission’s air cargo decision and its joint venture with Lufthansa and United Airlines. On the transactional side, the firm advises publishing company Trinity Mirror on its investment in Local World and Liberty Global on its divestment of Chellomedia to AMC. In March, it secured unconditional Phase II clearance in the UK for a joint venture between clinical waste companies Tradebe and Sita.

United States - California

international powerhouse HOGAN LOVELLS continues to develop its California-based antitrust practice as a cartel and private litigation hub. Local practice leader Megan Dixon brings significant antitrust experience to the team. Dixon is a former DoJ prosecutor and a specialist in criminal antitrust issues. She is joined by three other part-time antitrust litigators: Robert Hawk, Michael Shepard and Dean Hansell, a former Dewey & LeBoeuf lawyer based in the firm’s Los Angeles office. While much of the team’s work is confidential, it is involved in theLibor investigation and the car shipping cartel investigations in Europe and the United States. The team is acting for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in the auto parts case, securing a relatively slim US$14.5 million fine before the Department of Justice. Hui Hsiung, the former AU Optronics executive now in prison for LCD price fixing, is also a client.

United States - New York

Headed by Who’s Who Legal nominee Sanford M Litvack, HOGAN LOVELLS’ New York office boosted its international profile in February 2014 when it appointed former DoJ adviser Rachel Brandenburger as a senior adviser and foreign legal consultant. The firm had a role in some of the most difficult major deals of the past year, including advising long-time client Alstom on the sale of its power businesses to GE, and AP Moller–Maersk in its effort to create a shipping joint venture. The firm continues to act for Air Canada in the ongoing air cargo cartel litigations, and for a confidential client in the car shipping follow-ons. In 2014, it negotiated resolutions of a bank’s liability to the DoJ on what it says were “very favourable terms,” and private claims have been rejected by a New York federal court.

United States - Washington, DC

HOGAN LOVELLS continues its run as one of the strongest antitrust groups in the district. Led by Who’s Who Legal nominee Janet L McDavid – whom one rival lawyer calls “formidable” when pitching for new work and advising clients – the team of 25 or so specialists includes two other Who’s Who Legal nominees and an extensive global network that gives DC lawyers access to resources and clients around the world. The promotion in 2014 of health-law expert Leigh Oliver and the hire of former antitrust division prosecutor Kathryn Hellings brings to 12 the number of antitrust partners inside the beltway.

The Hogan Lovells team spent the past year operating in industries that have attracted the interest of the antitrust agencies. McDavid successfully advised IBM on the $2.3 billion sale of its x86 server business to China’s Lenovo, coordinating filings in over 10 different jurisdictions. Its antitrust lawyers are also counsel to Alstom on the sale of its power businesses to GE and the acquisition of GE’s transport signalling business – a deal that needs 28 filings – and helped News Corp buy Harlequin, the Canadian publisher of racy women’s fiction.

Litigation was also a major source of work for the Hogan Lovells team last year. It remains locked in litigation around the country for Blue Cross Blue Shield, defending against allegations of allegedly anti-competitive clauses in its contracts with health-care providers. The group successfully defended Suncor Energy against price discrimination claims and won a multi million-dollar counterclaim against the convenience-store plaintiff. The team is also involved in several confidential behavioural cases, including the DoJ’s credit default swaps investigation and follow-on class actions.

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