Hogan Lovells covers an interesting range of competition areas. Matthew Levitt is one of the go-to lawyers for shipping, and practice head Ciara Kennedy-Loest is a public procurement specialist. The team lost its leader, Jacques Derenne, in October 2015, after he left the firm to set up Sheppard Mullin’s EU competition practice. Kennedy-Loest and, before his departure, Derenne worked alongside a huge Hogan Lovells global team representing Alstom in the sale of its energy businesses to GE, finally achieving Phase II clearance in 2015. The team also represents container shipping company Maersk Line in the DG Comp investigation of price signalling in the container shipping sector.
Having moved to Beijing 18 months before the AML came into force, Hogan Lovells’ China antitrust head and Who’s Who Legal: Competition nominee Adrian Emch is widely respected for his significant understanding of the country’s competition laws and processes. The team has established a decent foothold in the market advising on all aspects of antitrust law, including in key areas such as distribution and the crossover between competition law and IP. This year the team grew following the hire of IP/antitrust specialist Alan Chiu from Mayer Brown JSM.
Among a plethora of confidential matters, Emch and his team recently guided Alstom through merger control proceedings arising out of the €12.35 billion sale of its energy business to General Electric. The firm also advised IBM on the US$2.3 billion sale of its x86 server business to Lenovo, the largest technology deal in China in 2014, as well as the US$1.5 billion sale of its microelectronics business to GlobalFoundries. The team represented Kingfisher during the sale of its Chinese B&Q chain of DIY stores to local supermarket chain Wumart, and assisted Danfoss in its joint venture with Bosch Thermtechnik, preparing the merger filings for both joint venture partners and obtaining clearance less than two months after filing. There’s plenty more on the behavioural front, with the firm involved in probes across a range of sectors, but they too remain confidential.
Hogan Lovells has competition partners in each of its three German offices – Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Munich – and has recently picked up several interesting cases, say Düsseldorf-based Who’s Who Legal: Competition nominee Martin Sura and Hamburg partner Marc Schweda. Indeed, the team has attracted and retained a raft of high-profile clients such as Alstom, Axel Springer, BlackBerry, ExxonMobil, Moët Hennessy, Mitsubishi and, uniquely, the FCO itself, when Schweda persuaded Cologne’s Regional Court to throw out a €1.1 billion case by Danish hearing aid manufacturer GN Store Nord, which alleged the enforcer wrongly blocked the sale of one of its business units to a rival. The Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court dismissed an appeal against the decision by GN Store Nord in 2014. Sura acted for Dr Oetker in the FCO’s consumer goods probe. With fellow Düsseldorf partner Martin Fähndrich, Sura also advised ZTE in its standards-essential patent fight with Huawei at the European Court of Justice, which led to a controversial opinion by Advocate General Melchior Wathelet in late 2014 that explored when standards-essential patent holders can injunct their users.
Ricardo Pons Mestre, a nominee to Who’s Who Legal: Competition , and Luis Omar Guerrero Rodríguez run the antitrust group at HOGAN LOVELLS BSTL, which was formed in August 2014 when the Anglo-American legal giant merged with local firm Barrera Siqueiros y Torres Landa. That year, partner Bernardo Ledesma Uribe left the firm, but Santiago Ferrer Pérez was promoted, leaving Hogan Lovells with three partners and four associates spending most of their time on Mexican antitrust issues.
The firm’s work over the past year has included its work in the in Cofece’s poultry cartel investigation, where it advises the National Poultry Association and the country’s largest chicken producer, Bachoco. Cofece also opened a cartel investigation in the egg industry, in which the firm advises the same clients. On the transaction side, the firm is acting for Pilgrims in its tie-up wtih Tyson, which Cofece cleared in a tight four-to-three vote, and Owens-Illinois in the sale of its glass business to Vitro. Samsung, Procter & Gamble and General Electric are also clients.
Although without a dedicated competition partner HOGAN LOVELLS boast an impressive range of internationally recognisable clients. The team is led by counsel Robert Gago and represented companies before the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection and in proceedings before Polish courts. The team also has experience presenting merger control and other antitrust cases before the European Commission.
The firm remains the long-term counsel to PKN Orlen, Poland’s largest company and main player in the energy market. Hogan Lovells represented the company’s Lithuanian subsidiary in a complaint it prepared to the European Commission against the dismantling of 19km of rail track by state-owned Lietuvos Geležinkeliai. The complaint states the track removal limited the potential for competition in the rail freight market. The firm also represented Polish banks mBank and BGZ BNP Paribas in an intercharge fees case. It also represented Aviva Towarzystwo Ubezpieczeń na Życie and BZ WBK in the merger notification proceeding before the European Commission, and is representing Airbus Defence and Space and WorldVu Satellites in merger control proceedings.
Hogan Lovells’ Madrid antitrust practice is led by Casto González-Páramo, who is supported by two associates. This year, the team has defended a range of clients from different sectors against the authority. The firm advises Fiat-Chrysler in the authority’s largest ever cartel investigation. It also advised road transport company, Campillo Palmera after it was implicated by an investigation into the refrigerated transport. The team is also advising Schweppes on the antitrust aspects of a distribution agreement it entered into with PepsiCo. On the merger side, Golbalvia is a client, as is Spanish insurer Mapfre, which the team advised on its acquisition of DirectLine in Germany and Italy. The €550 million deal was completed in May.
As can be expected from most of London’s corporate firms, Hogan Lovells is busy in merger control and behavioural matters – but it is especially strong in litigation. It represents both Air Canada and Korea Air in the sprawling air cargo follow-on litigation, and acts for Alstom on damages claims following on from DG Comp’s gas-insulated switchgear cartel decision. Aside from representing the firm in the National Grid case, which settled last year, Hogan Lovells continues to advise the firm on other UK litigation. Hogan Lovells also advised DFDS in the Eurotunnel case. Partners Nicholas Heaton, Christopher Hutton, Suyong Kim and Ivan Shiu, along with counsel Paul Chaplin, head up the litigation side of the practice.
The firm also bags impressive work in the more traditional areas of merger control and behavioural work. Kim and fellow partner Mark Jones were part of a global Hogan Lovells team that acted for Alstom as it sold its energy business to US company General Electric. The mammoth €12.5 billion deal was ultimately cleared after a lengthy review process in multiple jurisdictions, including Europe, which accepted commitments to end its in-depth investigation. Back on home turf, the London team represented UK media conglomerate Trinity Mirror during the CMA’s investigation of suspected agreements between estate agents not to advertise fees or discounts. The UK enforcer closed its investigation with a £91,000 fine.
United States - New York
Headed by former DoJ antitrust division chief Sanford M Litvack, HOGAN LOVELLS’ New York office promptly put ex-DoJ adviser Rachel Brandenburger, now a senior adviser and foreign legal consultant, to work for Alstom on the newly consummated sale of its energy business to General Electric and its acquisition of GE’s transportation signalling business. The firm also counselled IBM through global antitrust review in the US$1.5 billion sale of its microelectronics business to GlobalFoundries, which needed and received clearances in the US Europe, and Asia, and AP Moller – Maersk A/S on forming the biggest shipping alliance in the world, which the EU and US approved but China prohibited.
Hogan Lovells represents Credit Suisse in litigation claiming that it and other financial institutions colluded to block exchange trading of credit default swaps, and has a large inter-office team defending a client in criminal and civil litigation.
United States - Washington DC
Hogan Lovells recruited Kathryn Hellings in 2014 from her position as assistant chief of the antitrust division’s national criminal enforcement section, and her 11 years at the DoJ add to the pool of government experience brought by FTC alumni Robby Robertson, Joe Krauss and Bob Leibenluft. Practice chair Janet McDavid says the union of Washington-based Hogan & Hartson and London-based Lovells has led to the firm handling more deals on a global basis. For example, Alstom’s sale to GE requires notification in 28 jurisdictions, and gets 24-hour coverage from the firm’s offices in Europe, the United States and Asia.
While the majority of Hogan Lovells’ antitrust deal work has other firms handling the transactional aspects, McDavid says a growing amount is generated in-house. Other recent multi-jurisdictional mergers on which the competition team advised include IBM’s US$2.3 billion sale of its x86 server business to Lenovo and US$1.5 billion sale of its microelectronics business to Global Foundries; Orbital Science’s US$4.5 billion purchase of ATK, cleared through a DoJ second request; and the integration of Mitsubishi Hitachi’s and Siemens’ metal plant building businesses.
Hogan’s antitrust litigators face complex and cutting-edge issues, such as the class action alleging territorial allocation by Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, which partner Leigh Oliver says “goes to the core” of the insurers’ business model. Daimler Trucks selected Hogan Lovells to replace its previous counsel in defending against claims the company conspired with Eaton to maintain the latter’s near-monopoly in truck transmissions. The firm is also defending follow-on actions in auto parts and credit default swaps investigations, having represented the clients in DoJ investigations, and is also advising a generic drug maker in a DoJ investigation.
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