Blake Cassels & Graydon continues to be at the top of Canadian competition law, and is considered “the firm to beat” by several of its rivals. Practice head Brian Facey leads a team boasting 18 partners and 14 associates, all of whom have their hands full with high-profile merger control and behavioural cases. The practice group’s global brand pulls in an impressive range of international work; the team was local counsel to Anheuser-Busch InBev when the beer company acquired SABMiller, Holcim in the cement company’s tie-up with Lafarge, and General Electric on its tie-up with Baker Hughes.
When it comes to merger control, Blakes lawyers say they have been involved in nearly half of the deals that have reached a second stage review at the Competition Bureau of Canada, mostly taking the lead by acting for the purchaser. The team advised Bell Canada when the telecommunications company purchased Manitoba Telecom Services; to secure clearance, Bell had to agree a suite of divestments to help establish a fourth entrant in the affected area’s mobile services market. The firm was also counsel to Agrium on its agri-merger with Potash, and to ChemChina for its agri-merger with Syngenta. It won Canadian clearance for Superior Plus’ planned acquisition of Canexus based on the efficiencies exception, but the deal fell through after the US Federal Trade Commission sued to block the sodium chlorate makers’ tie-up. More recently, Blakes acted for Superior Plus when it bought Gibson Energy’s propane distribution business – a deal also cleared on efficiencies, which is a defence under Canadian competition law.
The team is a powerhouse with respect to competition litigation. Blakes advises Dow in litigation over a non-compete agreement; defends Labatt Brewing in a lawsuit arising from the Beer Store joint venture; represents Visa against an interchange fees class action; and acts for clients in 17 different auto parts class actions. Blakes also defends Mitsui OSK Lines in class actions relating to an alleged global shipping cartel.
The Blakes Competition, Antitrust & Foreign Investment Group is widely acknowledged as the leading practice in Canada. Blakes houses a formidable team of practitioners with recognized expertise in every aspect of competition law and foreign investment review. The Competition group is frequently retained by major domestic and international companies and law firms to provide strategic counsel and representation. Blakes’ lawyers have been involved in the largest and most complex mergers in Canadian history, and have led the Canadian aspects of some of the largest global transactions, including internationally recognized innovative matters. Blakes is also a leading firm with respect to securing merger approvals for non-Canadian purchasers under Canada’s foreign investment laws.
Blakes is at the forefront of high-profile competition litigation matters, including contentious mergers, advertising, abuse of dominance, reviewable trade practices and other civil matters before the Canadian Competition Tribunal, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. Blakes’ lawyers also appear before the superior courts and the Supreme Court of Canada on criminal matters and class actions.
Blakes has a proven track record of success acting for clients on multinational transactions and investigations where coordination among counsel and agencies in the United States, Europe and other jurisdictions is a paramount objective. Blakes’ lawyers understand how Canada’s competition and foreign investment laws fit within the broader context of complex corporate transactions and business affairs, providing clients with timely, practical and strategic advice to ensure compliance with competition laws while facilitating transactions and assisting to realize business objectives.