GCR 100 - 15th Edition


16 March 2015


At CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz, practice head Bernt Elsner takes on a mixture of competition and public procurement work. He works with three associates in Vienna, while two additional partners also take on some competition work alongside their main practices. The firm’s strong pan-European network means it has been asked to coordinate several multi-jurisdictional filings, including working for private equity group KKR in connection with the vertical merger between SBB and Telemach Group. Here, the Austrian office coordinated filings by six of the firm’s eastern European offices. Last year the team took on important work for LUKOIL – Russia’s second-largest oil company – filing for EU approval for its acquisition of OMV’s lubricants business. It is also advising Telekom Austria in its acquisition of one of Macedonia’s leading internet, mobile and landline providers, Blizoo.


The German competition practice of CMS is the largest in the firm’s expansive network, counting 13 partners, two of counsel and four counsel. Partner Markus Schöner leads the group, while the former head of practice, Stuttgart-based Harald Kahlenberg, is nominated to Who’s Who Legal. Over the years, CMS has established itself as a go-to firm for highly regulated markets such as energy and telecoms. Last year, a cross German/Brussels team advised Telefónica on its four-to-three merger with E-Plus, which saw the telecoms giant successfully resist the German’s enforcer’s opposition to the merger and instead offer a package of network-sharing commitments to gain approval from the European Commission.

This was one of more than 50 merger cases the CMS team dealt with last year, which also included acting for Swedish conglomerate Atlas Copco in its US$1.6 billion purchase of a UK manufacturer, and advising global scrap metal company Scholz in the 40 percent stake of its business to Toyota Tsusho. The firm frequently takes a leading role in follow on damage claim proceedings, acting variously on the claimant and defendant side. While most matters remain confidential, CMS last year defended an engineering company against claims by customers and litigated for Kabel Deutschland on their proceedings against Deutsche Telekom regarding overpriced infrastructure fees.


Robert Bosman leads CMS Derks Star Busmann’s practice in Amsterdam. The Netherlands branch of the international CMS network is comprised of two partners and six associates who have secured major wins in both behavioural and merger work over the past year. CMS successfully represented Dutch construction company Ballast Nedam at the European Court of Justice in its appeal of the General Court’s unfavourable cartel ruling. The firm assisted Telefonica in a successful Phase II merger clearance at the Commission regarding its intended acquisition of German telecoms operator E-Plus.


At CMS Russia, partner Maxim Boulba works alongside five associates who focus largely on competition. The team benefits enormously from being part of the CMS global network – both in terms of case referrals and the support that such geographic reach can bring. While the firm has some Russian clients, most of its work comes from international companies with Russian operations. In merger control, the firm helped French construction company Vinci to obtain clearance of a joint venture, while on the behavioural side, the CMS team provided legal support to GE Global Operations during a dawn raid by the FAS. Alcatel-Lucent, Medtronic and Honeywell are also among the firm’s clients.


CMS Slovakia is a reputable stand-alone practice with the added advantage of the firm’s multi-jurisdictional network. Junior partner and former competition authority official Nad’a Spustová leads the team, which also includes two associates and a public procurement partner. Over the past year, the firm’s client portfolio has seen considerable growth, particularly in the energy and insurance sectors. CMS Slovakia continues to advise Slovnaft, the largest oil refinery in Slovakia, on its discount policies, as well as in judicial proceedings to appeal the abuse of dominance penalty handed down by the country’s competition authority.


Patricia Liñán took over as practice head of CMS Albiñana & Suárez de Lezo’s competition practice this year. Former head Diego Crespo remains at the practice, and the pair are supported by four associates.

The firm has been active in most of the authority’s largest cartel investigations, including acting for Lactalis – the leading milk processor in Spain – in a landmark cartel investigation, which included several appeals before different courts against the dawn raids carried out in 2012. The firm also assisted Arruti and Siecsa in a cartel in the construction sector, and in the coordination of their respective appeals before the Audiencia Nacional where the companies managed to achieve significant reductions. It also assisted office equipment company Adveo in its successful appeal against the decision regarding the envelope’s export cartel, which led to the annulment of a €2 million fine.

In mergers, the firm helped oil company ACOR in the creation of a joint venture with Portuguese Sovena group for the production and commercialisation of refined oil, where the SCA fined ADVEO €2 million. The appeal was upheld and the fine cancelled. The team assisted with two merger notifications on behalf of optical equipment maker Essilor: the acquisition of a 51 per cent stake in Transitions Optical and a 50 per cent stake of Polycore Optical, and also helped the company design a compliance programme.


Practice head and Who’s Who Legal nominee Patrick Sommer leads a three-partner practice of himself, Alain Raemy and Stefan Brunnschweiler at CMS Switzerland. They represent a Koch Group architectural hardware company in two price-fixing investigations, one pending before the competition commission and the other before the federal administrative court. Swisscard AECS and Credit Suisse are the firm’s clients in the investigation of domestic interchange fees. CMS assists Bank Julius Bär in the authority’s Forex investigation, and Rabobank in the Libor/Tibor/Euribor investigations.

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