GCR 100 2024

Kirkland & Ellis

Kirkland & Ellis

Professional notice

United kingdom

Recommended

Led by Paula Riedel, Alasdair Balfour and Sally Evans, the competition team at KIRKLAND & ELLIS stands out for its merger control work. The antitrust group now counts 10 partners, following the promotions of Joel Gory, Shahrzad Sadjadi and Sion Davies in September 2022. Riedel and fellow partners Matthew Sinclair-Thomson and Athina Van Melkebeke counselled NortonLifeLock on its $8.6 billion acquisition of cyber security software rival Avast, which the CMA cleared without conditions in September 2022 following a surprise Phase II investigation. Evans led the team representing Noble Corporation in its £2.6 billion merger with Maersk Drilling, which the CMA approved in September 2022 with divestment remedies. The team also advised Brookfield on the sale of university accommodation provider Student Roost, to a joint venture between GIC and Greystar Real Estate Partners. The CMA cleared the deal with conditions in Phase I in December 2022.

FirmsHead(s) of competitionSizeNo of WWL NomineesClients
Recommended
Kirkland & EllisPaula Riedel, Alasdair Balfour, Sally Evans10 partners, 11 associates8Gen Digital, Noble Corporation, Blackstone, Thoma Bravo, EQT Partners, Cobham, Bain Capital, JPMorgan, Allwyn AG, Avaya

United States: Illinois

Elite

James Mutchnik, a former attorney at the Department of Justice (DOJ), leads KIRKLAND & ELLIS’ antitrust litigation practice from Chicago. With 12 partners and four associates based in Illinois, the team spent the past year hard at work defending clients from class-action lawsuits and advising on merger control matters. Kirkland represented divestiture buyer Fortune Brands during the DOJ’s challenge to lock manufacturer Assa Abloy’s purchase of Spectrum Brands. The government settled that lawsuit in May 2023, approving Fortune as the purchaser of several Spectrum assets. Kirkland also represented private equity firm Thoma Bravo in its $2.3 billion acquisition of identity software company ForgeRock, which closed three months later. Meanwhile, in early 2023, the team helped settle price-fixing allegations made by chicken purchasers against Sanderson Farms. Kirkland also works on several precedent-setting cases, including advising UnitedHealthGroup subsidiary Surgical Care Affiliates in the DOJ’s first-ever criminal no-poach charge.

FirmsHead(s) of competitionSizeNo of WWL NomineesClients
Elite
Kirkland & EllisJim Mutchnik12 partners, 4 associates3AE Industrial Partners, Eli Lilly, Fortune Brands, Orthopaedic Associates of Michigan, Propulsion Holdings, Sanderson Farms, Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, The Dow Chemical Company, Thoma Bravo, UnitedHealthGroup

United States: New York

Recommended

While largely focused on deal work for private equity groups, KIRKLAND & ELLIS bagged an impressive litigation victory on behalf of Impax Laboratories in May 2022 when a DC federal court rejected the FTC’s allegations that the company’s agreement with Endo amounted to an anticompetitive pay-for-delay scheme. The team – which is led by Ian John and counts six partners and 10 associates– also secured a settlement for Impax in the related private litigation on the eve of trial in July 2022, agreeing to pay $145 million to settle retailers’ allegations. Meanwhile, Kirkland acts for Bain Capital in multiple deals, including its investment in CI Financial, and American Trailer World on the sale of several of its businesses to DexKo. Other merger control mandates saw the team advise Clayton Dubilier & Rice on the purchase of exterior building products manufacturer Cornerstone Buildings and EQT on its acquisition of assets from Tug Hill, the latter of which secured conditional approval from the FTC.

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Recommended
Kirkland & EllisIan John6 partners, 10 associates2Bain Capital, Charter Communications, EQT, FJ Management, Fortune Brands, Gilead Sciences, Glenmark, GTCR

United States: Texas

Highly Recommended

Olivia Adenorff and Rachael Rezabek run the antitrust team at KIRKLAND & ELLIS’ Texas office. Since joining from Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in 2019, the two partners have built up the practice, representing some big-name clients with the help of three associates. Adenorff leads Kirkland’s defence of Allergan in a lawsuit alleging sham patent litigation and illegal reverse payments. The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit sided with Allergan in March 2023, but the plaintiff has appealed again. The team also represents Pulse Network, a Discover Financial Services subsidiary, in its case accusing Visa of driving smaller debit networks out of the market. Kirkland previously persuaded the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to overturn a decision dismissing that lawsuit.

FirmsHead(s) of competitionSizeNo of WWL NomineesClients
Highly Recommended
Kirkland & EllisN/A2 partners, 3 associates0Allergan, Credit Karma, Gilead Sciences, GoodRx, OpenDoor Labs, Pulse Network, Young Living Essential Oils

United States: Washington, DC

Outstanding

Matt Reilly, Andrea Murino and Richard Cunningham steer KIRKLAND & ELLIS’ competition practice in Washington, DC. The group’s 12 antitrust partners include Lucie Duvall, who was promoted in October 2022. Kirkland was one of several firms that helped UnitedHealth Group defeat the DOJ when it opposed its $13.8 billion proposed acquisition of Change Healthcare in September 2022. Kirkland acted for UnitedHealth on two other in-depth DOJ investigations that both closed on a single day in February – and it also defends UnitedHealth subsidiary Surgical Care Affiliates against criminal no-poach charges levied by the Antitrust Division and a private lawsuit piggybacking on those claims. The firm, which is especially active in the pharmaceuticals and healthcare sectors, defends AbbVie against a series of reverse payment and sham litigation antitrust suits related to its testosterone replacement. It also assisted Celanese on its purchase of DuPont’s mobility business; Eli Lilly on its proposed $2.4 billion acquisition of Dice Therapeutics; and gas producer EQT on its $5.2 billion buyout of upstream assets from Tug Hill. The FTC approved the latter deal in August 2023, conditioned on the merging parties not sharing board members and unwinding a separate joint venture that the agency claimed was anticompetitive.

FirmHead(s) of competitionSizeNo. WWL nomineesClients
Outstanding
Kirkland & EllisMatt Reilly, Andrea Murino, Richard Cunningham12 partners, 3 counsel, 7 associates4UnitedHealth, AbbVie, Eli Lilly, Celanese, Tenet, EQT, Fortune Brands, GoodRx, Oak Street Health, Resonetics

Our Antitrust & Competition Practice Group guides clients through their greatest challenges and opportunities relating to fair competition in a global marketplace. Our integrated team advises on all aspects of competition law. We provide preeminent criminal and civil antitrust litigation defense, government investigation defense, expedited transaction clearance and real-world counseling experience. Our attorneys worked as former prosecutors, supervisors and attorneys in the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division (DOJ), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and as prosecutors at a wide variety of other law enforcement agencies.

We work with buyers and sellers through all facets of the mergers and acquisitions regulatory clearance process, starting at the earliest stages of a deal to identify, allocate and reduce potential antitrust issues. By assessing the level of regulatory risk at the outset, we can better prepare the legal and economic analyses necessary to navigate clients through the entire deal negotiation and clearance process.

We have developed cost-effective systems and specially trained personnel for the preparation of Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (HSR) and foreign merger control notifications. We consistently file more HSR notifications in U.S. transactions than any other law firm in the world.

Our trial-ready reputation gives us an edge in antitrust litigation. We routinely defend our clients in their most important government-initiated investigations and in private antitrust cases in federal and state courts against the DOJ, the FTC and state attorneys general. In Europe, our attorneys successfully handle cases before the U.K. Competition Appeal Tribunal, the English High Court and the European Court in Luxembourg.

Litigation

Kirkland’s antitrust litigation practice is led by a core group of experienced and practical trial lawyers who successfully defend clients in their most important government-initiated and private antitrust cases. The team’s experience covers the full spectrum of antitrust claims, including cartels, monopolization, pricing disputes, unfair competition, price discrimination, intellectual property and merger-related litigation.

Mergers & Acquisitions

Kirkland has immense experience in U.S. and foreign M&A clearances. Kirkland files over 200 Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (HSR) notifications annually – the Firm files HSR notifications in approximately 17 percent of all transactions reported to U.S. antitrust agencies annually – and regularly handles transactions requiring European, Asian and Latin American antitrust clearances. Working closely with Kirkland’s corporate attorneys, the antitrust group provides realistic pre-transaction assessments, assists in contractual risk allocation negotiations, and secures expedited regulatory clearances.

International

Kirkland has extensive experience working with the antitrust and competition agencies around the world. Kirkland has competition lawyers in London and Shanghai, plus a network of competition attorney contacts, including throughout Australia, Brazil, Canada, the European Union, the remainder of Europe, Japan, Mexico, South Africa and many other countries. This network ensures seamless compliance with the relevant notification requirements and allows for prompt competition clearances from those authorities.

Website: www.kirkland.com

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