GLEISS LUTZ has one of the biggest antitrust teams in the country, which houses some of Germany’s most talented competition lawyers. Petra Linsmeier leads the team, which includes Ingo Brinker, Ulrich Denzel and Ulrich Soltész. The nature of the firm’s work is demonstrated in its client list, which includes Facebook, Daimler, Siemens, Deutsche Telekom and Booking.com.
Partner Matthias Karl represented German car parts maker ZF Friedrichshafen in its acquisition of commercial vehicle supplier WABCO. The European Commission approved the deal unconditionally after a Phase I review in January 2020. Gleiss Lutz was lead counsel on the deal and worked together with international law firms to coordinate filings across 10 jurisdictions, including Brazil, South Africa, India, China and the United States. In a more local matter, the team is advising bearings makers Miba and Zollern in their attempt to overturn an FCO merger block. A ministerial override in 2019 allowed the tie-up to progress, but the companies want to reverse the agency’s decision so they do not have to comply with the conditions that the German Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy imposed on the tie-up. The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf heard oral arguments in August 2020, and a decision is pending. In another high-profile German deal, Brinker represented Remondis in its acquisition of Duales System Deutschland. The European Commission referred the deal to the FCO, which blocked the tie-up after finding the merged entity would hold a dominant position in the recycled hollow glass products market. The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf upheld the enforcer’s decision in May 2020.
The firm’s portfolio of behavioural work complements its busy merger control practice. Brinker and fellow partner Christian Steinle advised Booking.com in the FCO’s investigation into the use of its most-favoured-nation (MFN) clauses and continue to act for the company in related litigation. The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf previously overturned the enforcer’s decision to ban the use of narrow MFN clauses, ruling that the clauses are necessary to ensure a fair exchange of services between booking platforms and accommodation providers. The Federal Court of Justice agreed in August 2020 to hear the agency’s appeal against that decision. Brinker also represents Facebook in its appeal against the FCO’s abuse of dominance decision issued in 2019. The Düsseldorf court had rejected the FCO’s request to implement its order immediately pending court proceedings; however, in July 2020, the Federal Court of Justice (FCJ) ruled that the agency’s order can be enforced straight away. In cartel work, the firm advises steel maker voestalpine in multiple FCO cartel investigations in the steel and railway sectors. The agency fined voestalpine, thyssenkrupp and Ilsenburger Grobblech €646 million in December 2019 for fixing the price of rolled steel plates. Denzel and fellow partner Christian von Köckritz defend Daimler in the sprawling Trucks cartel litigation, coordinating the defence and local counsel in multiple jurisdictions across Europe in what is one of the largest-ever cartel damages cases.
GLEISS LUTZ was one of the first German law firms to establish a Brussels practice in 1962, and it has been active in the market ever since. Ulrich Soltész heads the competition team and is supported by partner Christian von Köckritz along with counsel Harald Weiss. The firm advises copper manufacturer Wieland-Werke in its appeal filed last year against the European Commission’s decision to block its acquisition of Aurubis’ flat-rolled products business. Together with German-based partners Ulrich Denzel and Martin Raible, Köckritz advises HeidelbergCemet and Schwenk Zement in their appeal against the commission’s decision to block their joint venture with Cemex Croatia. The General Court rejected the companies’ appeal in its entirety in October 2020. The team also represents Canon in its appeal against a €28 million gun-jumping fine from the EU in 2019 for allegedly implementing the acquisition of Toshiba Medical Systems before notifying it to the agency.
Regional Law Firm of the Year – Europe (GCR Awards, 2020)
”They are fantastic in both merger control and cartel investigations. I really couldn't say enough good things about them.“ (client, Chambers Europe 2020)
Law Firm of the Year for Competition/Antitrust (Best Lawyers, 2018)
Gleiss Lutz is one of the leading premium independent law firms in Germany, with more than 350 lawyers, including 85 partners. Its practice covers all areas of business law. The firm’s lawyers are renowned experts in their respective fields who work in cross-disciplinary teams on integrated legal solutions.
The Gleiss Lutz antitrust practice enjoys a stellar reputation. It has been involved in shaping antitrust law since day one, having played an active role in all major international developments and cases for more than 60 years. The combination of expertise, top-quality advice and a practice-oriented approach makes Gleiss Lutz one of the leading competition practices in Europe.
Cartel investigations: With experience gained from participating in more or less all cartel investigations before the European Commission and many cartel investigations all over the globe over the last years, Gleiss Lutz is the law firm of choice for high-profile cases. Especially in the area of the Commission’s settlement proceedings, the firm is a pioneer.
Actions for damages: Gleiss Lutz has been involved in the development of “private enforcement” from the outset. Its leading position is illustrated by the representation of a client in the first follow-on case at the German Supreme Court. In actions covering various jurisdictions, Gleiss Lutz plays a strategic and coordinating role, working together with law firms across the globe.
Merger control: Gleiss Lutz is regularly involved in complex cases. In cross-border proceedings, Gleiss Lutz provides strategic advice in the run-up to the acquisition, and coordinates the filing of the required notifications worldwide.
Antitrust: Gleiss Lutz’s antitrust practice also has highly regarded experts for compliance matters and also for state aid. Because of the significant experience and partner-driven approach to matters, clients regularly retain the services of Gleiss Lutz for international internal investigations, most recently in Brazil, Pakistan, Korea, Turkey and China.
Dr. Petra Linsmeier
T: +49 (0) 89 21667-207
E: petra.linsmeier [email protected]