GCR 100 - 16th Edition

Stikeman Elliott LLP

Professional notice

Canada

Rival lawyers admit the competition practice at corporate heavyweight Stikeman Elliott has taken off since 2012, when practice head Paul Collins returned after two years heading up the Competition Bureau’s mergers branch. In litigation, Stikeman’s personnel are similarly admired: partner Katherine L Kay is perhaps Canada’s top competition litigator. Susan M Hutton and Lawson A W Hunter both have active regulatory practices in Ottawa, while Shawn C D Neylan in Toronto covers everything from bureau and internal investigations of potential violations to mergers and the attendant concerns about national security and foreign investment.

Collins and rising star Michael Kilby represented newspaper company Transcontinental in the acquisition of 74 local newspapers from Quebecor. Other local deals requiring antitrust counsel included Marriott’s acquisition of Delta Hotels; Rogers Communications’ purchase of Mobilicity; and Sobeys’ buying Atlantic Co-Op grocery business and also selling the Lucerne dairy business to Agropur. On the big-ticket international mergers, Stikeman acted for Nokia in its US$16.6 billion acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent; Allergan in the sale of its generic drug business to Teva; the divestiture buyer in the Holcim/Lafarge tie-up, CRH, which bought €6.5 billion in assets; Alstom’s sale of €12.35 billion in businesses to General Electric; and Medtronic in its US$49.9 billion acquisition of Covidien.

Merger control lawyers at Stikeman will often work on the bureau’s abuse of dominance investigations. But for criminal and litigation work, Kay is in charge. She and fellow litigators Eliot Kolers, Danielle Royal and Montreal-based Yves Martineau advise clients in multiple investigations and class actions, including several auto parts companies accused of colluding with rivals to fix prices. Kay has a relationship with Air Canada, after counselling the country’s biggest airline on a challenged cross-border joint venture with United Airlines, and has long served as counsel in the air cargo case. The team successfully defended Canadian National Railway from the Competition Bureau’s inquiry into its rail transportation and transloading practices.

The competition team at corporate heavyweight Stikeman Elliott has had a “hell of a run” since 2012, says its practice head Paul Collins. That year saw straight-talking Collins return to the practice after two years heading up the Competition Bureau’s mergers branch, and rival lawyers admit the practice has taken off since then. In litigation, Stikemans’ personnel are similarly admired: partner and double Who’s Who Legal nominee Katherine Kay is perhaps Canada’s top competition litigator. Who’s Who Legal nominees Susan M Hutton and Lawson A W Hunter both have active regulatory practices in Ottawa.

Collins likes to think the firm gets its pick of the trickiest deals before Canada’s competition bureau. It is hard to deny that Stikemans has been on many of the most complex reviews of the past year or so. Collins and rising star Michael Kilby represented newspaper company Transcontinental in the acquisition of 74 local newspapers from Quebecor. The bureau ended its review with inventive remedies to test claims that several titles were unviable as competitors. The team also helped supermarket chain Sobeys buy Safeway’s 213 Canadian stores for C$5.8 billion, which required minute market-by-market analysis. Right now, Collins is working with Botox-maker Allergan in a US$54 billion hostile takeover by Quebec’s Valeant Pharmaceuticals. The hostile nature means timing and access to information are especially tricky, Collins says.

Merger control lawyers at Stikemans will often work on the bureau’s abuse of dominance investigations. But for criminal and litigation work, Kay is in charge. She and fellow litigators Eliot Kolers, Danielle Royal and Montreal-based Yves Martineau advise clients in multiple investigations class actions, including up to a dozen auto parts companies accused of colluding with rivals to fix prices. Kay has a long relationship with Air Canada, having represented the country’s biggest airline in a challenged joint venture with United Airlines and has long served as counsel in the air cargo case. The team is representing CIBC against a swell of class actions challenging interchange-fee rules, and has also had success recently on behalf of Tim Hortons and distributor Gordon Food Services in two lawsuits that test when plaintiffs can bring antitrust counts in franchise lawsuits.

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