GCR 100 - 19th Edition

Gleiss Lutz

20 December 2018

Brussels

Gleiss Lutz is proud to house one of Brussels’ oldest competition practices, which was established in 1962. The team, which is led by Ingo Brinker and includes the well-regarded Ulrich Soltész, has a large portfolio of clients based in Germany. The firm’s traditional focus is the automotive industry, with the Brussels team representing Daimler in DG Comp’s truck cartel investigation and continuing to coordinate the vehicle maker’s defence against a raft of follow-on claims in 15 countries. The team has also represented clients in 15 separate auto parts cases. The firm runs a well-respected state aid practice, and is working on several merger control files, including a confidential gun-jumping probe against a major electronics company.

Germany

The 49-strong competition team at Gleiss Lutz is led by Ingo Brinker, who works with seven other partners and seven counsel, three of whom were newly promoted at the start of 2018. The rest of team is made up of six associated partners and 28 associates.

Brinker currently represents Booking.com in its appeal against the Federal Cartel Office’s hotel booking decision, about which the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court expressed misgivings in 2017. A ruling in that case by the Düsseldorf court was pending at the time of writing. A team led by partner Martin Raible advised sustainable-construction company Caverion Corporation in a cartel case before the Federal Cartel Office, with the company reaching a €40 million settlement agreement. The firm also advised German conglomerate Siemens in a landmark investigation by Greece’s Competition Commission, which saw the enforcer issue €80 million in fines to 15 companies in 2017 for rigging tenders on public construction works.

High-calibre merger control and litigation work also compliments Gleiss Lutz’s impressive behavioural record. It represented Schwenk Zement in its proposed acquisition of a cement plant from Opterra. The Federal Cartel Office took the deal to Phase II in 2017 and Schwenk Zement ultimately abandoned the deal. Ulrich Denzel successfully led the team defending Heidelberg Cement against two damages actions brought by Cartel Damage Claims. CDC was unsuccessful in its first attempt to obtain damages before the Düsseldorf Regional and Higher Regional Courts, while the Mannheim Regional Court dismissed CDC’s second action. Munich-based partner Petra Linsmeier is defending Deutsche Telekom against two actions brought by cable operators Vodafone and Unitymedia, where the plaintiffs allege that it abused its dominant position by charging excessive fees for cable ducts. The Federal Court of Justice decided on Vodafone’s claim in 2017 and referred the case back to the Regional Court of Frankfurt. Unity’s claim was heard before the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court in 2018. Both cases were still pending at the time of writing.

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