GCR 100 2021

4. White & Case

4. White & Case

Professional notice

Merger ranking:7Cartel ranking:-Litigation ranking:6
Global HeadJ Mark Gidley
No. of jurisdictions with a GCR-ranked competition team12
Practice size266
Percentage of partners/counsel in Who’s Who Legal9%
Lateral partner hires1
Partner departures0
Former senior enforcers who are partners/counsel16

White & Case rose two spots in our rankings this year under the continued guidance of J Mark Gidley, who has led the global antitrust practice since 2002. A former acting assistant attorney general at the US Department of Justice, Gidley is joined by 15 other ex-enforcers, including partner Assimakis Komninos, a former board member and commissioner at Greece’s Competition Commission, and special adviser Hideo Nakajima, the former secretary general of Japan’s Fair Trade Commission. In September 2019, the firm hired Daniel Sokol as a special adviser from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

Pharmaceutical work has long been one of the firm’s great strengths and is indeed the main reason White & Case made our rankings of the 10 best litigation practices. The High Court of England and Wales overturned an £84.2 million fine imposed on client Pfizer for alleged excessive pricing in 2018, which the Court of Appeal of England and Wales subsequently upheld in May 2020. The case has now been sent back to the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal for reconsideration, and the outcome will have significant ramifications on how future excessive pricing cases will be analysed. In the United States, White & Case defends drugmakers in several antitrust class actions concerning reverse payment settlements. It acts for Pfizer in litigation arising from an alleged generic delay scheme with regard to Effexor XR. Meanwhile, the firm secured the dismissal of a class of consumers from a case related to Loestrin on behalf of Allergan in September 2019. It also represents Gilead in a purported class action alleging that the drugmaker entered into anticompetitive agreements and reverse payment settlements to foreclose the market for HIV medication. 

Other behavioural work includes representing Nexans in its appeal against the European Commission’s dawn raids. Although the European Court of Justice dismissed the challenge in July 2020 – which fell outside our research window – the case established that companies raided by the EU enforcer have a right to privacy that allows them to challenge searches of their offices. The firm also defends Nexans against follow-on damages claims arising out of the Power Cables cartel before courts in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Brazil, Italy and Germany. 

White & Case made our listings of the top 10 merger control practices again this year, moving up one spot to seventh place. The firm advised Nidec on its acquisition of Whirlpool from Embraco. The European Commission cleared the deal subject to divestments in April 2019, but partially waived those commitments in May 2020 to allow Nidec to repurchase some of its divested assets. The firm also acted for supermarket group Vindémia on its €219 million sale to Bernard Hayot Groupe, which France’s Competition Authority approved subject to a fix-it-first remedy in May 2020 after a Phase II probe. Another major deal was Saudi Aramco’s acquisition of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, for which White & Case steered the purchaser through merger reviews in 25 jurisdictions, including Phase I probes in the European Union, China and Russia, where it obtained unconditional clearance.

Clients throughout the world seek the advice of White & Case antitrust lawyers. They count on their extensive experience in litigation against governmental authorities or private parties, counseling on delicate questions and comprehensive worldwide coverage of merger control regimes.

White & Case has experience in all aspects of global cartel investigations, including global diversity, parallel civil Sherman Act class actions, European Union proceedings, extradition and extraterritorial discovery.

White & Case advises clients worldwide on the complexities of proposed cross-border transactions (mergers, joint ventures). They produce a regularly updated comprehensive catalogue of global merger notification requirements.

With more than 190 lawyers in 23 offices, White & Case offers clients an integrated worldwide team of competition law professionals, providing a coordinated approach to the increasingly global competitive issues facing our clients: corporations, investment banks, partnerships, trade associations, information exchanges and individuals.

The international nature of White & Case’s antitrust practice has enabled them to develop particular experience in advising on cross-border or international mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, licensing and distribution arrangements and criminal investigations. They also offer comprehensive advice on national requirements in over 70 countries worldwide. They have been privileged to handle some of the most complex multijurisdictional antitrust matters of recent times.

White & Case is in constant direct contact with the world's most influential antitrust authorities through the multijurisdictional lawyers in our Washington DC, New York and Brussels offices. They work closely together with our other competition lawyers worldwide, allowing us to advise on the full range of competition issues in virtually all jurisdictions. Many of our other offices also offer comprehensive global antitrust counseling, including Tokyo, Mexico City, Paris, Moscow, Istanbul, Warsaw, London, Hamburg, Prague and Bratislava.

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