GCR 100 2023

3. White & Case

3. White & Case

Professional notice

Merger ranking:=5Cartel ranking:3Private litigation ranking:=6
Global headJ Mark Gidley
No. of jurisdictions with a GCR-ranked competition team12
Practice size252
Percentage of partners/counsel in Who's Who Legal14%
Lateral partner hires0
Partner departures1
Former senior enforcers who are partners/counsel19

White & Case climbs to third place in our Global Elite rankings, having claimed fourth spot two years in a row. The strength and breadth of the practice is underlined by its presence in our rankings of the world’s 10 best merger control, cartel and private litigation practices. About two-thirds of the firm’s sizeable antitrust practice is based in the US – including practice head J Mark Gidley, who served as acting head of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division between 1992 and 1993. Plenty of standout lawyers contribute from other continents too, such as Tokyo-based special advisor Hideo Nakajima, who previously headed the secretariat at the Japan Fair Trade Commission, and Assimakis Komninos in Brussels, a former board member at the Hellenic Competition Commission. 

White & Case is renowned for its technology focus, working at the heart of some blockbuster antitrust cases in the sector. It is co-counsel to Google as the company appeals against the European Commission’s €4.3 billion Android fine, which the EU General Court cut by €200 million in September 2022 due to errors in the enforcer’s exclusivity analysis. Meta, Amazon and Twitter also call on White & Case for antitrust matters, although the nature of that work is confidential. It is not just household names though, with the firm securing a rare early-stage victory in the meme stock antitrust class actions for Apex in November 2021, when a New York federal court dismissed a proposed class action complaint for failing to plausibly plead the existence of an antitrust conspiracy between the company and defendant brokerages and market makers. 

The antitrust team also continues to advise on significant cases in the pharmaceutical sector, with a decent chunk of work for Pfizer, Servier and Gilead Sciences among other big-name clients. In the US, the firm convinced district courts to dismiss all consumer and product hopping claims in class action litigation accusing AbbVie and Merz Pharma of restricting competition for Alzheimer’s medication Namenda, as well as claims against Boston Scientific affiliate BTG International alleging monopolisation in the sale of prostate cancer treatment ZYTIGA.

Elsewhere, White & Case is co-counsel to Pfizer as the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority reinvestigates the drugmaker for allegedly charging excessive prices for an anti-epilepsy medication. The agency re-accused Pfizer of abuse of dominance in August 2021 after the Competition Appeal Tribunal ordered the CMA to redo parts of its initial probe. The competition group is also representing Servier in its appeal to the European Court of Justice against the EU competition enforcer’s pay-for-delay fine, which was reduced by €100 million by the EU General Court in 2018.

On the merger control side, White & Case advised on the most contentious deal before France’s Competition Authority in recent years: the ultimately-abandoned proposed merger of TF1 and M6, which is controlled by White & Case client RTL. More successful outcomes saw the firm steer Kobalt Music through the CMA’s Phase II review into its acquisition by Sony, which the agency cleared unconditionally in March 2022. It also obtained the EU’s conditional approval for Sun Chemical’s acquisition of BASF’s global pigments business in late 2021.

Across the Atlantic, the firm convinced Mexico’s antitrust enforcer to drop a gun-jumping investigation into client Afore XXI Banorte’s acquisition of Mota-Engil, and obtained clearance in Mexico and the US for Viva Aerobus and Allegiant Air to form the first-ever cross-border joint venture between ultra-low-cost carriers.

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.

Website: www.whitecase.com

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