The competition team at corporate heavyweight Stikeman Elliott has had a “hell of a run” since 2012, says its practice head Paul Collins. That year saw straight-talking Collins return to the practice after two years heading up the Competition Bureau’s mergers branch, and rival lawyers admit the practice has taken off since then. In litigation, Stikemans’ personnel are similarly admired: partner and double Who’s Who Legal nominee Katherine Kay is perhaps Canada’s top competition litigator. Who’s Who Legal nominees Susan M Hutton and Lawson A W Hunter both have active regulatory practices in Ottawa.
Collins likes to think the firm gets its pick of the trickiest deals before Canada’s competition bureau. It is hard to deny that Stikemans has been on many of the most complex reviews of the past year or so. Collins and rising star Michael Kilby represented newspaper company Transcontinental in the acquisition of 74 local newspapers from Quebecor. The bureau ended its review with inventive remedies to test claims that several titles were unviable as competitors. The team also helped supermarket chain Sobeys buy Safeway’s 213 Canadian stores for C$5.8 billion, which required minute market-by-market analysis. Right now, Collins is working with Botox-maker Allergan in a US$54 billion hostile takeover by Quebec’s Valeant Pharmaceuticals. The hostile nature means timing and access to information are especially tricky, Collins says.
Merger control lawyers at Stikemans will often work on the bureau’s abuse of dominance investigations. But for criminal and litigation work, Kay is in charge. She and fellow litigators Eliot Kolers, Danielle Royal and Montreal-based Yves Martineau advise clients in multiple investigations class actions, including up to a dozen auto parts companies accused of colluding with rivals to fix prices. Kay has a long relationship with Air Canada, having represented the country’s biggest airline in a challenged joint venture with United Airlines and has long served as counsel in the air cargo case. The team is representing CIBC against a swell of class actions challenging interchange-fee rules, and has also had success recently on behalf of Tim Hortons and distributor Gordon Food Services in two lawsuits that test when plaintiffs can bring antitrust counts in franchise lawsuits.
Stikeman Elliott's Competition and Foreign Investment Group is one of the highly regarded market leaders in Canada. The Group has extensive experience acting on major transactions, criminal investigations, class and other civil actions, Competition Tribunal proceedings regarding mergers, abuse of dominance and other reviewable matters, and day-to-day compliance in a wide range of industries. Corporations frequently seek the Group’s counsel on high-profile mergers in which coordinated resolution of regulatory issues is critical. Recent experience includes acting as Canadian counsel for CNOOC in its acquisition of Calgary-based Nexen Inc.; Medtronic in its acquisition of Covidien plc; Sobeys Inc. in its acquisition of Safeway Canada; Baxter International Inc. in its acquisition of Gambro AB; and Garda World in its acquisition of G4S Cash Solutions Canada.
The Group's extensive experience as counsel on major multinational transactions allows members to work closely and effectively with M&A attorneys in the Canadian, European, U.S., and Pacific Rim offices of Stikeman Elliott, and with colleagues in leading U.S., European, and Asian law firms. Adding to its global reach, the Group provides critical and timely insight to a growing audience of parties with an interest in competition law developments through its blog, TheCompetitor.ca.
Consistent high rankings of the Group are a product of its in-depth knowledge and expertise. The Group is listed in GCR 100 among the leading global competition law practices and in Chambers Global among the best of law firms and lawyers in Canada.
For information on competition law in Canada, please contact:
Lawson A.W. Hunter, QC
Katherine L. Kay
Shawn C.D. Neylan