GCR 100 - 20th Edition


14 January 2020

United States: New York

The lone antitrust boutique in this survey, AXINN remains among the top firms in one of the world’s biggest markets. The firm says the demand for its counsel on antitrust litigation “is exploding”, and that it has never seen a higher demand for its services overall. The team is expanding to deal with that extra work, adding partners Lisl Dunlop from Manatt Phelps & Phillips and Peter Herrick from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. The office lost four associates but brought in six new ones.

The eponymous John Harkrider and partner Russell Steinthal were lead counsel to Silver Lake Partners and Endeavor in the latter’s tie-up with Learfield. The two merging companies are among the biggest names in the college sports marketing business, and their deal received a second request from the Department of Justice’s antitrust division before securing the green light. The firm acted as lead antitrust counsel for Thermo Fisher Scientific on its $925 million purchase of Gatan from Roper Technologies and its $1.7 billion acquisition of gene therapy company Brammer Bio. Axinn worked for HIG Capital on the sale of recycled paperboard producer Caraustar Industries to Grief for $1.8 billion. Additionally, it acted for KIK Custom Products in its purchase of pool and spa chemical company NC Brands and with respect to the merger of two non-profit health insurance companies. Axinn also counselled Stanley Black & Decker in its acquisition of a 20% stake in MTD Products, which cleared the US Federal Trade Commission and Germany’s Federal Cartel Office.

Perhaps the firm’s most prominent work comes from its long-term client Google, particularly defending the internet company’s advertising business. The firm plays a key role in aiding Google with replies to regulatory inquiries from around the world. In “old economy” behavioural work, Axinn was one of the few firms to earn pre-discovery dismissal of claims against its client Friedrich Boysen GmbH in the Auto Parts litigation. The firm was also nominated for GCR Litigation of the Year for cartel defence related to a settlement its client Nishikawa Rubber Company reached with indirect purchasers. The work continues for Nishikawa in related opt-out and Canadian lawsuits.

United States: Washington, DC

Practice co-chair Michael Keeley heads the DC office of antitrust and intellectual property boutique Axinn. Keeley has seen the firm grow immensely in the 20-plus years he’s been at the firm; the DC operation now features seven partners, two counsel and 14 associates who focus solely on antitrust. This year, it added former deputy assistant attorney general Leslie Overton; former FTC attorney Steven Lavender, who helped litigate the agency’s challenge to Ottobock/Freedom Initiatives; and partner Tiffany Rider from elite firm Skadden.

Partner Rachel Adcox, who appeared on GCR’s shortlist for Litigator of the Year, is leading the defence of Tyson Foods against claims the company conspired to fix the price of broiler chicken, and in a separate follow-on matter related to pork. Adcox is also serving as lead counsel for multiple defendants in the Automotive Parts antitrust litigation. Partner Richard Dagen guided the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center through the dismissal of a private antitrust lawsuit alleging monopolisation of the market for worker’s compensation insurance. Axinn is also working for long-time client HIG Capital on several acquisitions, and is representing Momenta Pharmaceuticals in three separate antitrust matters. It is known for representing major players in the technology industry, including Google and Dell.

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