AZB & Partners (AZB) was founded in 2004 with a clear purpose to provide reliable, practical and full–service advice to clients, across all sectors. Having grown steadily since its inception, AZB now has offices across Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Pune. We have an accomplished and driven team of 450+ lawyers committed to delivering best–in–class legal solutions to help clients achieve their objectives. Our greatest strength is an in–depth understanding of legal, regulatory and commercial environments, in India and elsewhere.
The AZB Competition/Antitrust team advises clients on matters across the spectrum of competition law, including merger control, cartels and abuse of dominance investigations, leniency applications and other antitrust matters related to commercial agreements. Our 22-member team, spread across our offices in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai, enables us to deliver large mandates in a timely and efficient manner. AZB has been closely associated with the development of competition law jurisprudence in India, including in relation to new age and emerging markets, such as online search, new media and digital payments.
The Competition team acts as the nongovernmental advisor to the Competition Commission of India and was actively involved in the ongoing review of competition law, as a special invitee member of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to the Competition Law Review Committee and as a member of its antitrust, digital economy and regulatory structure working groups.
The team also works with industry bodies such as the Confederation of Indian Industries to help consolidate their concerns and recommend appropriate legislative changes to the Competition Act, 2002 and the associated regulations. For instance, AZB played a central role in the review of the Competition Act, 2002 by the government appointed Competition Law Review Committee. Also, AZB, in a joint initiative with the Confederation of Indian Industry, drafted the first antitrust manual for compliance during COVID-19 that was well received and appreciated by the industry as well as the antitrust regulator. It is also currently assisting the Parliamentary Standing Committee for Finance that is reviewing the Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022.
AZB excel in all key areas of competition law, and are well-known for handling highly sophisticated, precedent-setting cases in the tech sector. AZB has been the clear go-to firm for these cases, advising clients such as Google, Meta, Swiggy, Whatsapp, Urban Company, OYO, PayPal, Expedia, Uber and others.
The Competition team boasts of one of the top merger control practices in India, and has advised on several significant mergers that have been reviewed by the CCI. Our experience includes working on variety of merger control issues, including complex divestiture packages, behavioral remedies and gun-jumping issues in the large global and domestic transactions that are notified to the CCI. Some notable examples include HDFC Bank/HDFC Limited, BTS1/Viacom18, Bombardier/Alstom, Disney/Fox, Google/BAL, Shell/Sprng, GSK/Pfizer, Reliance Jio/Facebook and Tata/Air India. .
The team is also known for its substantive experience in enforcement matters. For instance, we have previously assisted Competition Commission of India in one of the landmark decision in CCI v SAIL. We have also successfully represented clients such as JTEKT, GSK, TAM, Qube, IATA, Indus Towers, Rane Brake Lining Limited amongst others in antitrust matters involving cartels, leniency and abuse of dominance. The team also provides end–to–end support in all enforcement cases, beginning with assistance at the time of ‘dawn raids,’ to investigation by the Director General, followed by oral and written submissions before the CCI and finally in appeal before the appellate tribunal and Supreme Court. We are have and continue to represent Google in its investigations before the Director General’s Office, the Competition Commission of India and the Appellate Tribunal.
AZB Team comprises Samir R. Gandhi who is a Senior Advisor and partners, Ram Kumar Poornachandran, Bharat Budholia Hemangini Dadwal, Gaurav Bansal and Toshit Shandilya who service clients across New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. They have all handled complex merger transactions and representing clients in precedent setting behavioral matters before the Competition Commission of India, the Appellate Tribunal, various High Courts, and the Supreme Court.