Led by Brian A Facey, BLAKE CASSELS & GRAYDON’s practice counts 18 partners, including recently promoted David Rosner, and 14 associates. This past year, the firm has handled a flood of mega deals, which have often needed clearance from multiple enforcers, including Canada’s Competition Bureau.
Blakes is currently providing competition counsel to Bell Canada on its proposed acquisition of Manitoba Telecom Services for C$3.9 billion, as well as to Agrium on its US$36-billion merger with Potash. Partner Julie Soloway is took the lead as Canadian competition counsel to Office Depot in its US$6.3 tie-up with Staples. Both the Canadian Competition Bureau and the US Federal Trade Commission challenged the merger, which the office supply companies abandoned after a US federal court granted a preliminary injunction. The matter was not fully litigated in Canada. The firm also advised Superior Plus in Canada on its C$932-million proposed acquisition of Canexus – the first time the Competition Bureau has cleared a deal based solely on novel efficiencies defence.
In non-merger work, Blakes represented Nestlé against criminal charges that the Swiss company fixed prices with other chocolate makers, and won access to Hershey’s leniency application. The Public Prosecution Service of Canada entered a stay of the proceedings in November 2015 against Nestlé and its former president Robert Leonidas, who were the last remaining criminal defendants in the case. The firm is also representing Mitsui and others in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia class actions alleging price fixing in the ocean shipping industry.
The Blakes Competition, Antitrust & Foreign Investment Group is widely acknowledged as the leading practice in Canada. Named “Competition Law Firm of the Year” for 2016 by Chambers Canada, Blakes houses a formidable team of practitioners with recognized expertise in every aspect of competition law and foreign investment review. The Competition group is frequently retained by major domestic and international companies and by international and domestic law firms to provide strategic counsel and representation in merger reviews, cartel investigations, abuse of dominance cases, distribution practices, advertising matters and other competition issues. Blakes’ lawyers have been involved in the largest and most complex mergers in Canadian history, and have led the Canadian aspects of some of the largest global transactions, including internationally recognized innovative matters. Blakes is also a leading firm with respect to securing merger approvals for non-Canadian purchasers under Canada’s foreign investment laws.
Blakes is at the forefront of high-profile competition litigation matters, including contentious mergers, advertising, abuse of dominance, reviewable trade practices and other civil matters before the Canadian Competition Tribunal, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. Blakes’ lawyers also appear before the superior courts and the Supreme Court of Canada on criminal matters and class actions.
Blakes has a proven track record of success in acting for clients on multinational transactions and investigations where co-ordination among counsel and agencies in the United States, Europe and other jurisdictions is a paramount objective. Blakes’ lawyers understand how Canada’s competition and foreign investment laws fit within the broader context of complex corporate transactions and business affairs. The Firm’s vast resources and leading expertise in virtually every area of business law enables its lawyers to provide clients with the timely, practical and strategic advice necessary to ensure compliance with competition laws while facilitating their transactions and assisting them in realizing their business objectives.