BLAKE CASSELS & GRAYDON continues to top the Canadian competition bar for size of practice and breadth of matt ers, and is considered “the fi rm to beat” by several of its rivals. Practice head Brian Facey leads a team boasting 18 partners and 12 associates, though it lost partners Jason Gudofsky and Debbie Salzberger to McCarthy Tétrault in March 2018, and David Rosner to Goodmans in February. More temporarily, partner Randall Hofl ey joined the Competition Bureau in January for a two-year term as general counsel and senior enforcement adviser.
Blakes’ global brand pulls in an impressive range of international work. In 2017–2018, it helped to shepherd several transformative and precedent-sett ing deals through the Competition Bureau’s merger control process, mostly taking the lead by acting for the purchaser. The team was lead counsel to Amazon on its $3.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Markets and Marathon Petroleum in its energy market tie-up with Andeavor. It also advised Praxair in its proposed acquisition of Linde to create the world’s largest supplier of industrial gases, and lens maker Essilor International on its merger with eyewear frame company Luxott ica Group to create a integrated global provider of glasses.
Closer to home, Blakes counselled Kinder Morgan with its proposed sale of the Trans Mountain Pipeline System to the Canadian government. It won Canadian clearance for Superior Plus’s acquisition of Gibson Energy based on the effi ciencies exception, and ultimately convinced the Competition Bureau to accept a remedy requiring divestitures of less that 5% of acquired propane volumes. The fi rm advised Pembina Pipeline in its acquisition of energy infrastructure company and Bell Canada in its buyout of Manitoba Telecom Services. The team is also a powerhouse with respect to competition litigation. It defended Labatt Brewing in a lawsuit arising from the Beer Store joint venture, and Facey provided strategic counsel to the Toronto Real Estate Board as it sought to appeal against an abuse of dominance decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.
The blakes competition, antitrust & foreign investment group is widely acknowledged as one of the leading practices in Canada. Named “Competition Law Firm of the Year” for 2018 by Benchmark Canada, Blakes houses a formidable team of practitioners with recognised 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 recognised 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 coordination 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 realising their business objectives.