GCR 100 2024

Ashurst LLP

Ashurst LLP

Professional notice

Australia

Highly recommended

Brisbane-based Alyssa Phillips steers the antitrust practice at ASHURST, working closely with five other partners across offices in Sydney and Melbourne. The firm is a long-time advisor to Google, including on the ACCC’s wide-ranging digital platform services inquiry and the agency’s proposal for an ex-ante regulatory framework. The firm is also advising Woolworths on its planned acquisition of a 55% stake in PETstock, which led to the ACCC revealing in October 2023 that it was probing past unreported acquisitions by the target while separately consulting on a suite of proposed divestments as part of its deal review. Ashurst also advised ANZ on its proposed acquisition of Suncorp’s banking business, which the ACCC blocked in August 2023 and is now on appeal before the ACT.

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Highly Recommended
AshurstAlyssa Phillips6 partners, 23 other lawyers3ANZ, Aurizon, Babcock, Downer Group, Google, ING, NBN, Racing Victoria, Woolworths, Endeavour Group

Belgium

Recommended

Denis Fosselard heads ASHURST’s competition practice, which fields four other partners, including Esther Kelly, who joined the team from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in August 2022. The group is advising FIFA in litigation before national courts challenging its rules capping agent fees, which were introduced in January 2023. The team also helped UEFA intervene in an appeal by Royal Antwerp Football Club against an arbitral award confirming that the association’s player transfer rules comply with competition law, for which a Spanish judge has referred questions to the European Court of Justice. In March 2023, advocate general Maciej Szpunar said UEFA should remove anticompetitive rules that require its member teams to employ a minimum number of “home-grown” players.

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Recommended

Ashurst

Denis Fosselard5 partners, 3 counsel, 8 associates3Imperial Brands, Luxembourg Government, P&O Ferries, FIFA, UEFA, Unilabs, RTBF

Brussels

Recommended

The competition team at ASHURST is led by Denis Fosselard, who works with four other partners, three counsel and eight associates. In a headline-grabbing mandate, the firm defends UEFA against a challenge from the European Super League, which claims the European football governing body violated EU competition rules by banning football clubs from participating in its proposed breakaway league. A Spanish court referred several questions to the European Court of Justice in May 2021 and the European Union’s top court heard oral arguments that year, with a final ruling pending. Elsewhere, the Luxembourg government tapped the group to handle multiple appeals against the commission’s blockbuster state aid rulings relating to Amazon, Fiat and Engie. In litigation, the team counsels Iliad in its bid to have the commission’s conditional approval of a joint venture between Telecom Italia and Vodafone struck down by the General Court. Ashurst also represents FIFA before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, together with Dutch, German and Belgian courts, in private litigation defending its new agent regulations against claims it is anticompetitive

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Recommended
AshurstDenis Fosselard5 partners, 3 counsel, 8 associates3Luxembourg government, APAX, EnI, Imperial Brands, BP, UEFA, Iliad, FIFA, European Broadcasting Union, EU Travel Tech

Italy

Recommended

Partners Denis Fosselard and Gabriele Accardo, the latter of whom was promoted in May 2023, lead ASHURST’s Italian antitrust group from Brussels and Milan. The team, which also includes five associates, advised Visa as a third party in an abuse of dominance investigation by the ICA into Mastercard’s contactless payments for co-branded debit cards. The enforcer closed the case with commitments in October 2022, despite Visa’s opposition. Other recent highlights include acting for French telecoms company Iliad in its appeal against the European Commission’s decision to conditionally clear Vodafone’s joint venture with TIM in March 2020. The team also advised steel manufacturers Ferriera Valsabbia and Alfa Acciai in their appeal against the commission’s concrete cartel decision before the EU General Court, which handed down its judgment confirming the agency’s readopted decision in November 2022.

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Recommended
AshurstDenis Fosselard, Gabriele Accardo2 partners, 5 associates0Visa, Iliad, Babcock International, Xiaomi, Althea Group, Alcon, eToro, IBSA, Carfax/S&P, Ardian

Singapore

Recommended

Angie Ng heads ASHURST’s Singapore competition group, although her practice covers much of the Asia-Pacific region. Ng’s team – which includes five associates, none of whom were based in Singapore as of March 2023 – secured clearance in South Korea for Liberty Steel on its acquisition of certain assets from KG Steel. Ng also advised Cabot on its acquisition of Tokai Carbon, a manufacturer and supplier of carbon black, which is used to increase the range and cycle of lithium-ion batteries.

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Recommended
AshurstAngie Ng1 partner0Cabot, Henkel, Liberty Steel Group, Walsin Lihwa, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha

Spain

Highly recommended

Partner Rafael Baena heads a team of one counsel and three associates at ASHURST. The firm acts for UEFA in ongoing litigation with the European Super League, which is currently awaiting a preliminary ruling from the ECJ after EU advocate general Athanasios Rantos advised in December 2022 that FIFA and UEFA did not abuse their dominance by prohibiting member clubs from joining a breakaway league. On behalf of HP, the firm is appealing against a CNMC decision to close its abuse of dominance investigation into Oracle, which was partially upheld by the Supreme Court and sent back to the Spanish enforcer for re-assessment. The practice continues to advise Elsamex in its appeal against a CNMC road construction bid-rigging decision, while also acting for the same company in an alleged sports infrastructure bid-rigging scheme before the regional competition agency in Murcia. Elsewhere, the firm helped Altadis persuade Spain’s Supreme Court in March 2023 to annul the CNMC’s raid on the cigarette manufacturer as part of an information-sharing cartel investigation. Notable private litigation matters include defending Deutsche Bank in around 60 follow-on damages claims before Spanish courts arising from the EU’s EURIBOR cartel decision.

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Highly recommended
AshurstRafael Baena1 partner, 1 counsel, 3 associates1Santa Lucía, Cerberus Capital Management, Babcock, UEFA, Altadis (Imperial Tobacco), Deutsche Bank, Avincis, Albia Gestión de Servicios, Elsamex, Hewlett-Packard

United kingdom

Highly recommended

ASHURST’s UK competition practice grew with the statement hire of Anna Morfey from Hausfeld in January 2023. The competition team now boasts six partners and two counsel who spend the majority of their time on competition matters. Morrisons has recently turned to the firm for advice on multiple matters, including the CMA’s review of its £7.3 billion sale to US private equity firm CD&R. The UK watchdog cleared the deal in June 2022 subject to the divestment of 87 petrol filling stations owned by Motor Fuel Group. The firm is also advising supermarket chain Morrisons on the CMA’s probe of its already-completed purchase of convenience store chain McColl's. The CMA cleared the deal in October 2022, subject to Morrisons undertaking to divest 28 McColl's convenience stores. In litigation work, the firm represents fleet manager Ryder in damages claims stemming from the EU trucks cartel.

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Recommended
AshurstDuncan Liddell6 partners, 2 counsel, 20 associates4Ryder, Valero, Bank of America, Clinigen Group, Next Fifteen Communications plc, Equitix, Application Developers Alliance, Wm Morrison Supermarkets, Circle Health, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company

Ashurst's integrated team of lawyers and economists combines dedicated experts who assist clients with multi-jurisdictional and local competition law challenges across Europe and in the Asia-Pacific region. We advise clients across all industries including Energy & Natural Resources, Infrastructure, Digital Economy, Financial Services and Real Estate. 

The Ashurst competition team has a long established pedigree in complex and ground-breaking competition investigations, prosecutions and appeals. Across the practice, we have assisted high profile multinational clients in the most prominent cartel and anti-competitive conduct cases over many years, including some of the largest value EU abuse of dominance cases and various ground-breaking cartel cases. The practice is also increasingly involved in large scale follow-on damages actions across the EU, defending and bringing claims.

In merger reviews, we have a long history of successfully assisting clients to achieve their commercial objectives, in Europe, Australia and across Asia in numerous significant multi-jurisdictional matters we handle. We have been involved in cutting-edge developments in EU merger control, including successfully advising on the first European Court of Justice appeal of an EU Merger Regulation decision. We also have an strong track record in appealing merger decisions of the Australian competition regulator. We can be relied upon to use our experience in contesting the ‘hard cases’.

Ashurst also has wealth of experience in relation to state aid and subsidies law, advising clients before the European Commission and European courts.  We have recently advised on some of the largest State aid cases in the EU in the areas of member state tax regimes, government support for large infrastructure projects (in particular transport and energy).  Our State aid and regulatory practice also relies upon our public procurement and EU Treaty expertise to provide clients with seamless advice; in the field of public procurement we advised on four of the largest challenges to be heard by the UK courts last year.

In advising our clients, we seek out risk-based, practical strategies to meet their commercial objectives and defend their commercial interests.  We are also known for our hands on Partner led approach, which clients frequently endorse.  

Our in-house economists remain a unique part of the team's proposition, allowing us to offer clients fully integrated legal and economic expertise. We remain one of the few international law firms with a team of in-house economists, and clients consistently identify this as a key differentiating factor that adds significant value across the board, particularly in complex matters involving detailed economic analysis. This also mirrors the multi-disciplinary teams fielded by regulators.

Website: www.ashurst.com/

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