With 29 lawyers, Blake Cassels & Graydon has the largest antitrust group of any firm in the GCR 100. It is also the only firm without a headquarters in the US or the UK to feature in the GCR 20. The Canadian firm received a high number of votes from rivals and corporate counsel, while five of the firm’s 16 competition partners are Who’s Who nominees – more than any other Canadian firm.
|Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP|| |
|Global head: Calvin Goldman|
|Home jurisdiction: Canada|
|Total size of firm: 531|
|No. of competition lawyers: 29|
|% of firm specialised: 5|
|Who’s Who nominees: 5|
|Equity partners: 16|
|Senior associates: 2|
|No. of lateral partner hires: 1|
|No. of partner departures: 0|
|No. of internal promotions: 1|
The competition practice is led by Calvin Goldman, a former commissioner of Canada’s Competition Bureau. According to one corporate counsel, “the depth of his experience is unrivalled”. Brian Facey and Robert Kwinter are also highly regarded, while Neil Finkelstein is described as “probably the finest competition litigator in the country”.
The majority of the firm’s competition lawyers are based in Toronto, though it has specialists in Calgary, Ottawa and Vancouver, too. The practice grew this year by recruitng partner Carolyn Naiman from rival firm Torys. Naiman, who specialises in deal-related competition work, joined Blakes’ Toronto office in March. In January, the firm promoted Toronto competition specialist Jason Gudofsky to partner.
This year saw Blakes advise Labatt on its C$201 million acquisition of rival brewer Lakeport. Canada’s Competition Bureau, concerned the deal could reduce competition, launched an investigation. It filed an appeal after failing to win an injunction to give it more time for its inquiry. The bureau also launched a lengthy review of CTVglobemedia’s C$1.7 billion acquisition of rival media company CHUM. According to Blakes, which advised the buyer, the deal generated an “unprecedented number of third-party document production orders”. In an unusual about-face, the bureau rescinded the production orders.
Blakes also advised Akzo Nobel on Canadian aspects of its £8.1 billion takeover of its UK rival ICI, and likewise Nestlé on its US$2.5 billion takeover of Novartis’s medical nutrition business. It co-advised Bell Canada in a C$51.7 billion takeover by a Canadian consortium, which was the largest private equity deal in Canadian history. And it advised Carlyle on its US$5.5 billion joint acquisition with Onex of Allison Transmission; Weyerhaeuser on the US$3.3 billion sale of its fine papers business to Domtar; Home Depot on the US$10.3 billion sale of HD Supply to two private equity groups; and XM Satellite Radio on its US$13 billion merger with Sirius Satellite Radio.
On the litigation front, Blakes is advising Korean conglomerate Samsung in relation to class proceedings arising out of the alleged DRAM cartel, and German airline Lufthansa in connection with class proceedings stemming from the alleged air cargo cartel.
Blakes is also representing Microsoft Canada in relation to ongoing class actions in Canada, as well as a number of companies in cartel litigation related to alleged cartels in the rubber chemicals, SRAM, fine papers, and Polyether Polyols industries. In addition, Blakes represented the Federation of Law Societies during the Competition Bureau’s review of the legal profession.
Blake Cassels’s other competition clients include General Electric, Visa, BHP Billiton, Interbrew, Vivendi Universal, International Paper, UPS, Schneider Electric, Johnson & Johnson and Citigroup.