GCR 100 2024

CMS

CMS

Professional notice

Austria

Recommended

Partners Bernt Elsner and Dieter Zandler co-lead the Austrian competition team at CMS, supported by Marlene Wimmer-Nistelberge, who was promoted to partner in May 2022, and two associates. The group advised parking and mobility operator Best in Parking on the sale of a 25% minority investment to financial services group Macquarie Asset Management, which the AFCA cleared without objections in May 2023. The group also advised ALPLA Group on the establishment of a joint venture with Spanish packaging company Inden Pharma, which won approval in 2023. Other notable merger control work includes assisting Yildirim in its acquisition of Terra Mineral Fertilizer, the largest shareholder of Croatian fertiliser company Petrokemija, which the AFCA cleared without conditions in January 2023.

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Recommended
CMSBernt Elsner, Dieter Zandler3 partners, 2 associate1Mayr-Melnhof Holz Group, ALPLA, Best in Parking, Yildirim, ABB E-mobility, DPE Deutsche Private Equity, Mayr-Melnhof Packaging Group, ABB Asea Brown Boveri, Hasslacher Group, Leyrer + Graf Baugesellschaft, Schrott- und Metallhandel M. Kaatsch/Scholz Group

Belgium

Recommended

The Belgian competition practice at CMS is led by partners Annabelle Lepièce and Dirk Van Liedekerke, who oversee eight associates. The firm advises clients on some impressive confidential matters. Public work includes advising Horeca Totaal in its attempted acquisition of Metro Cash & Carry outlets during the latter’s restructuring proceedings. After Sligro Food Group won the bid to acquire the stores, the team assisted Horeca Totaal as a third-party complainant during the BCA’s subsequent merger review. The firm said this was the first case in which novel questions regarding judicial reorganisation rules interacted with merger control laws. The team also continues to defend FIFA in private litigation challenging its allegedly anticompetitive player transfer rules. The Court of Appeal of Mons asked the European Court of Justice to wade in on the dispute in September 2022.

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Recommended
CMSAnnabelle Lepièce, Dirk Van Liedekerke2 partners, 8 associates2Proximus, Marcegaglia, NBH Belgium, Horeca Totaal, FIFA / Diarra, Walloon Region, Brussels Region, European Industrial Gases Association (EIGA), French Speaking Community, FIFA, Belgian State, Agence du Numérique, Interreg, AXA

Brussels

Recommended

Michael Bauer leads the Brussels competition practice at CMS, which includes eight other partners spread across the Belgian capital, Amsterdam and London, including Jacqueline Vallat and Siobhan Kahmann, who were promoted in May 2022. The group represents FIFA in a preliminary referral to the ECJ concerning the compatibility of transfer rules with EU competition law. The firm also acted for Belgian telecommunications company Proximus in the creation of its joint venture with insurer Ethias for the roll-out of optical fibre network in certain regions. The transaction did not trigger EU merger thresholds, but it was notifiable in three member states, leading the parties to file the deal with the commission in January 2023 before winning unconditional clearance one month later.

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Recommended
CMSMichael Bauer9 partners, 1 counsel, 18 associates3Alra Foods, Birkenstock (LVMH), Eiffage, GSK, Ineos, Johnson & Johnson, Markenverband, Omya, Proximus, RAG

Colombia

Recommended

CMS maintains a strong presence in Latin America, with a proficient team in Bogotá helmed by Lorenzo Villegas-Carrasquilla. The firm’s recent work is confidential, but the local line-up deftly handles merger control matters and continuously advises top international and Colombian companies on competition issues.

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Recommended
CMSLorenzo Villegas-Carrasquilla1 partner, 6 associates0 

Czech Republic

Recommended

Partners Tomáš Matějovský and Libor Prokeš co-chair the Prague-based antitrust practice at CMS, which has two associates. The firm advised US-based industrial automation provider Rockwell Automation on its €2.1 billion acquisition of software company Plex Systems, which closed in September 2021. The rest of the firm’s casework is confidential. 

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Recommended
CMSTomáš Matějovský, Libor Prokeš2 partners, 2 associates0Rockwell

Germany

Highly recommended

CMS houses one of Germany’s largest competition practices, led by Rolf Hempel in Stuttgart. The 12-partner team – which is spread across Brussels, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich and Düsseldorf – represents big-name clients such as Allianz and Volkswagen. The firm advised the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action on the nationalisation of Securing Energy for Europe (SEFE), which required a derogation from EU gun-jumping rules to close the deal in November 2022. Partner Michael Bauer led the team defending Coca-Cola’s largest global bottler CCEP in a lawsuit brought by Edeka alleging the company abused its dominance by halting supply when the claimant refused to pay different prices. The Hamburg Regional Court lifted an interim injunction for CCEP to supply products at previously agreed prices to Edeka in 2023. The firm also defends Johnson & Johnson in multiple follow-on damages claims arising from a national drugstore cartel.

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Highly Recommended
CMSRolf Hempel12 partners, 25 associates2Allianz, Atlas Copco, Alnatura Produktions- und Handels, Birkenstock, Dirk Rossmann, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, Johnson & Johnson, German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, Scholz, Volkswagen

Hungary

Elite

The CMS competition team is led by Szabolcs Szendrő and includes fellow partner Dóra Petrányi and three associates. The Budapest team advised Magyar RTL on its acquisition of Central Digital Media, which the HCA blocked following a Phase II probe. The television channel appealed against the prohibition to Hungary’s top court, which found the enforcer issued an invalid decision. Recent litigation activities, meanwhile, include assisting MOL in private damages actions stemming from the European trucks cartel. The firm has also been enlisted by OTP Bank in the HCA’s multilateral interchange fee investigation and subsequent appeals. Other clients include Medtronic, which requested help in an investigation into alleged bid-rigging on public procurement tenders in the healthcare sector.

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Elite
CMSSzabolcs Szendrő2 partners, 3 associates0Medtronic, Magyar RTL Television, Airbnb, Viagogo, Magyar Telekom, Johnson & Johnson, MOL, Aldi, OTP Bank

Netherlands

Recommended

The competition practice at CMS is steered by Edmon Oude Elferink, who works alongside two counsel and four associates. Waste-to-energy company AEB tapped the firm to steer its planned €450 million sale to AVR, but the ACM blocked the deal in May 2023 following a Phase II probe. Other notable work includes assisting industrial equipment manufacturer Atlas Copco in its takeover of Lewa and Geveke, which closed in August 2022 after securing unconditional Phase I clearance from the ACM. The practice also continues to defend Japanese airline All Nippon Airways against damages claims before the ECJ that follow on from the air cargo cartel. 

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Recommended
CMSEdmon Oude Elferink1 partner, 2 counsel, 4 associates0All Nippon Airways, Atlas Copco, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, Brenntag, Hill International, Diageo, AEB, Volker Wessels, Louwman Group, Kubota-Kverneland

Norway 

Recommended

Headed by Henrik Nordling, CMS’ competition team consists of three partners and five associates. While the practice is weighted towards state aid, it acted for ENWA Water in its sale to SKion Water, securing a rare Phase II unconditional clearance from the NCA. It is also advising the Lotteries Entertainment Innovation Alliance in its bid to create a joint venture between the national lotteries of Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and France. Elsewhere, it represents NorgesGruppen, Norway’s largest groceries company, in its acquisition of a 50% share in a real estate holding company together with Stor-Oslo Eiendom. 

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Recommended
CMSHenrik Nordling3 partners, 5 associates0Schibsted, Multiconsult, Låssenteret, NorgesGruppen, Norwegian Ministry of Trade, ENWA, CEPI, Cramo, UECC, LEIA, Bane NOR and A & A Salte

 Poland

Highly recommended

The competition team at CMS is led by partner Małgorzata Urbańska, who works with one counsel and nine associates. The firm helped Van Tilburg-Bastianen Group and its Polish subsidiary TB Truck & Trailer Service – an authorised dealer of DAF heavy vehicles – settle a UOKiK cartel probe into the truck sales market. Both companies filed for leniency and secured reduced fines as part of a wider €26.8 million package of sanctions levied by the watchdog in January 2023 against six dealers and eight of their executives. The team also represents cleaning equipment manufacturer Kärcher in its appeal against a €5.5 million fine for imposing minimum resale prices on its distributors. Although Kärcher applied for leniency and received a reduced fine, the company disputes the amount of the sanction. Notable transactional work includes acting for renewable energy solutions provider Hydro Rein and real estate asset manager Commerz Real in their joint venture to develop solar projects in Denmark, which was unconditionally cleared by the Polish enforcer.

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Highly recommended
CMSMałgorzata Urbańska1 partner, 1 counsel, 9 associates1Alstom, Bayerische Motoren Werke, Stuart, Haribo, Kärcher, Panattoni Development, MOL Group, Medtronic, Bausch & Lomb, Honeywell

Portugal 

Recommended

The Lisbon-based competition group at CMS is chaired by Luís Miguel Romão, who is backed by three associates. Behavioural matters make up the bulk of the firm’s competition work, including representing German retailer Lidl in its appeal against a €5.2 million fine for its role in the retail sector hub-and-spoke cartel case. CMS is also defending railroad Knorr-Bremse España in a standalone private damages claim lodged by engineering company Incomef for allegedly breaking competition rules to win a public tender. The team continues to represent Portugal’s Primeira Liga and its 19 professional football clubs in appealing against sanctions dispensed by the competition authority for agreeing unlawful no-poach agreements. 

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Recommended
CMSLuís Miguel Romão1 partner, 3 associates1Liga Portugal and 19 football clubs, Accenture Portugal, Lidl Portugal, Knorr-Bremse España, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, Ana Aeroportos de Portugal, MOP – Multimédia Outdoors Portugal, Keller Williams Reality, Goldman Sachs International, L’Oréal Portugal, EssilorLuxottica Portugal

Romania

Recommended

CMS is distinguished by its regional capability in Central and Eastern Europe and by the strength of its broader European platform – the firm has 225 competition lawyers in 49 cities. Taking charge in Bucharest are Horea Popescu and Cristina Popescu, who lead a team that handles important matters for clients in the TMT, consumer products, financial services, energy and real estate sectors. Lately, the firm has assisted Alten in its acquisition of digital technology company Qualitance, which was cleared at the end of 2022. The group also acted for packaging company All4Labels Group in its acquisition of Romprix Exim, which closed in the first quarter of 2023. The ensemble’s other activities – including abuse of dominance cases and other merger control matters – are confidential.

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Recommended
CMSHorea Popescu, Cristina Popescu2 partners, 1 counsel, 2 associates0Alten, All4Labels Group GmbH

 Spain

Recommended

Carlos Vérgez and two associates make up the Spanish antitrust team at CMS. Aside from an impressive portfolio of confidential matters, the firm advised Thomson Reuters and Wolters Kluwer on the joint sale of their Spanish legal publishing businesses to rival Karnov Group, which the CNMC cleared with commitments in Phase I in November 2022. The team also counsels Logista Publicaciones in its planned acquisition of Distribuidora de Publicaciones del Sur (Distrisur), which it currently jointly controls alongside Distribuciones Generales Boyacá. The CNMC opened a Phase II investigation of the transaction in December 2022, warning the deal could facilitate collusion between the two competitors.

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Recommended
CMSCarlos Vérgez1 partner, 2 associates0Coca-Cola European Partners, Thomson Reuters, Logista, Boluda, KKR, Macquarie Capital, Hero, DIGI Spain

Switzerland 

Elite

CMS is one of the few international firms to have a strong Swiss competition practice. Led by partners Marquard Christen, Patrick Sommer and Pascal Favre, the team has a stellar conduct practice, advising clients in various cartel and abuse proceedings before the Swiss agency. Indeed, the firm continues to represent Swisscard in an investigation accusing the company, Credit Suisse and UBS of boycotting Apple and Samsung mobile payment services in favour of a local Swiss mobile app. The team also counsels a confidential Swiss bank in a preliminary investigation by Switzerland’s Competition Commission (ComCo) examining illegal information exchanges on employee salaries, in what is the agency’s first labour markets probe. Meanwhile, the group helped publisher Hachette Group convince the Federal Supreme Court in August 2022 that more than 90% of alleged parallel import restrictions initially sanctioned by ComCo did not violate competition rules. The court remitted the case back to the Federal Administrative Court to reduce fines. CMS also acts for a confidential client in a ComCo probe into a suspected cartel that allegedly fixed the price of an essential stomach medicine. In a notable merger control matter, the firm advised pharmaceutical logistics company Voigt Group in its joint venture with rival Phoenix Pharma, a four-to-three deal. ComCo cleared the transaction without conditions following a Phase I investigation in February 2023.

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Elite
CMSPatrick Sommer, Marquard Christen, Pascal Favre4 partners, 4 associates2Bayer (Switzerland), Swisscard, Rabobank, Cruspi, Tognetti Auto, Koch Group, Hachette Group,Voigt

United kingdom

Recommended

The growing UK antitrust team at CMS is steered by Brian Sher. Wendy Nicolson joined the partnership from Pinsent Masons in October 2022, while Siobhan Kahmann was promoted to partner in May 2023. The firm also poached Jean-Francois Willems from Allen & Overy in June 2022 and Rebecca Timms from Mayer Brown in June 2023 – both of whom took up counsel positions. The group counselled BT on its joint venture with Warner Bros Discovery for their United Kingdom and Ireland sports broadcasting business, securing unconditional Phase I clearance from the CMA in June 2022. The team also advised Canadian cloud software company Dye & Durham on the CMA’s review of its completed purchase of TM Group, which resulted in the UK watchdog ordering the companies to unwind the deal in August 2022, following an in-depth probe. CMS continues to defend Microsoft against a standalone abuse of dominance lawsuit brought by ValueLicensing.

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Recommended
CMSBrian Sher7 partners, 2 counsel, 12 associates1Alliance Pharma, BAE Systems, BT, Cadent Gas, Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, Microsoft, Octopus, ParentPay / ESS, SSE, Thomson Reuters

Ukraine 

Recommended

Partners Olga Belyakova, Borys Danevych and Maria Orlyk lead the competition team at CMS in Ukraine. They recently helped the German government secure merger clearance in Ukraine for its acquisition of a 99% stake in Uniper Group in an energy crisis measure that provides financial relief to Uniper as Germany’s largest importer of natural gas. The Kiev office of CMS also supported Volkswagen and Umicore in obtaining clearance for a joint venture to produce cathode material for manufacturing battery cells. 

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Recommended
CMSOlga Belyakova, Maria Orlyk, Borys Danevych3 partners, 4 associates0German government, Eli Lilly and Company, Johnson & Johnson, Volkswagen/Umicore, Hengton/LEONI

CMS is a Future Facing international law firm. With more than 70 offices in more than 40 countries and 5,000+ lawyers worldwide, we combine deep local market understanding with a global overview, giving us the ability not only to see what’s coming, but to shape it.

With our unique collaborative structure and our considerable geographic footprint, we provide legal advice that embeds our understanding of local markets in a global context. Our CMS teams in key business hubs around the world have deep insights into the coming issues relevant for local markets, providing the advice that best meets your needs. At the same time, they collaborate closely with each other across sectors and borders, working as one global team to serve you across multiple jurisdictions.

In a world of ever-accelerating change where technology is increasingly important in the deployment of global strategies, our clear, business-focused advice helps clients of every size to face the future with confidence. We’re immersed in your world. Your interests and priorities are at the heart of what we do.

Our lawyers are genuine experts in their fields, with a grasp of detail that’s second to none. Our next-generation mindset is woven into all we do. It means we can anticipate the likely challenges, accelerate our pace and create the space to develop innovative solutions.

Your interests and priorities are at the heart of what we do.

Webiste: www.cms.law

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