We help our clients navigate EU and UK merger control requirements. We also advise clients on the application of worldwide merger control laws and work with local counsel to deliver a seamless co-ordination where multiple filings are required.

Merger control is now a feature of many international mergers and acquisitions. We work closely with our transactional team to deliver a seamless service. This includes carrying out multi-jurisdictional analyses to assess where filings may be necessary and/or prudent. Where filings are required in other jurisdictions, we coordinate closely with the best independent lawyers in each jurisdiction, ensuring that our clients have access to the lawyers with the most relevant advice for their specific deal needs.

Lawyers in our EU and UK merger control practice are experienced at engaging with the competition authorities on all manner of cases, from those that raise limited substantive concerns to those that require an in-depth review, and from those where the first contact is at pre-notification to those where it is necessary to respond to an allegation of failure to notify. This often includes co-ordinating with other expert advisers, such as economic consultants and liaising with the deal teams on the strategic and timing effects where one or more mandatory filings are required. We also ensure that our clients are aware of the limits of pre-completion planning pending the outcome of a merger review. Seeking to integrate ahead of clearance is known as ‘gun-jumping’ and this can give rise to fines, even where the transaction itself raises no substantive issues.

Where transactions have already completed, the parties may nonetheless face a post-merger review (for example in the UK, where prior notification is not mandatory). In these cases, the authorities will often seek to impose hold separate undertakings to ensure that the businesses are not integrated pending the outcome of any review and, in some cases, may even require the unwinding of any integration which may already have taken place. We assist clients in managing what can be an arduous task, including advising on the appointment of a monitoring trustee to oversee compliance with the commitments.

Where necessary, we work with clients to assess where remedies may be required to obtain merger clearance. This will include early assessment of any substantive risks in the light of relevant market information. We will also advise on the nature of remedies that have been accepted by the competition authorities in past cases and will work closely with the deal team to identify appropriate, deliverable remedy options that address identified competition concerns without undermining overall deal rationale.

We also know that mergers and acquisitions can raise issues for third parties and we regularly counsel clients on strategic responses to transactions involving their customers, suppliers or competitors. This can range from assistance with responses to mandatory requests for information, to advising on a comprehensive proactive strategy aimed at influencing the outcome or area of focus of ongoing investigations.

Key contact

Pat Treacy

Contact

Experience

Co-ordinating notifications across a number of European jurisdictions for a leading life sciences client on the disposal of non-core assets.

Advising a US-based software company on a post-completion review by the UK competition authorities.

Advising a UK trade body on its coordinated response to the UK competition authorities on the implications of the proposed Asda/Sainsbury merger on brand owners and manufacturers.

Assisting a client with a strategic third party intervention on an EU review of a merger in the converging technologies sector, leading to significant changes to the proposed merger.

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What others say

Bristows LLP successfully defended Google against Streetmap in a High Court claim for abuse of dominant position, and represented Samsung in regards to a major patent dispute with Unwired Planet, which involved the consideration of the competition law issue of patent “privateering”. Practice head Pat Treacy (‘a brilliant litigator who combines technical strength with impeccable tactical nous’) and Myles Jelf led on both matters. Sophie Lawrance was promoted to partner and ‘has the perfect balance of technical competition and litigation skills’.”

Legal 500 2016

“The ‘excellent’ practice at Bristows LLP is praised for its ‘efficiency’ and ‘in-depth knowledge of the TMT sector’. Practice head Pat Treacy, who ‘skilfully translates the complexities of competition law into pragmatic legal advice’, advised Kimberly-Clark during an investigation launched by the Groceries Code Adjudicator. Sophie Lawrance‘ delivers highly bespoke advice in a measured and digestible way’, and has ‘extremely good knowledge’. Stephen Smith joined from RPC.”

Legal 500 2016

Bristows LLP handles contentious issues at the interface of IP and competition law. Recent highlights include its representation of Google against antitrust damages claims brought by Foundem. Pat Treacy is commended for her ‘good strategic judgement’, and Myles Jelf for his ‘fine legal brain’.”

Legal 500 2015

The ‘responsive’ and ‘commercially-focused’ team at Bristows LLP is well regarded for its expertise in the IP and TMT sectors, where it provides an ‘inventive’ and ‘highly tailored’ approach to clients including Google, Samsung, International Copyright Enterprise Services, Sony, and Laboratoires Servier.

Legal 500 2017

“Boutique IP firm Bristows LLP stands out for its ‘exceptional strength’ at the overlap between IP and competition law, for which the ‘seriously clever’ team is noted for its ‘creative’ approach to competition damages cases.”

Legal 500 2019/2018

Pat Treacy of Bristows LLP is ‘particularly good at the very complicated overlap between intellectual property and competition.’ She recently advised Google on High Court actions alleging search results discrimination.”

Chambers and Partners 2015

Pat Treacy is the head of department at Bristows LLP and has particular knowledge of cases which span competition law and IP law. She has sector-specific knowledge within the life sciences and TMT sectors.”

Chambers and Partners 2016

“Bristows LLP is ‘excellent in all fields in competition law’ and is particularly well regarded for its expertise in the IP and TMT sectors, where it provides an ‘inventive’ and ‘highly tailored’ approach to clients”.

Legal 500 2019/2018

Bristows LLP has particular expertise in the pharmaceutical and TMT sectors, with clients including Les Laboratoires Servier, Samsung and Google. Pat Treacy leads the department.”

Legal 500 2015

“Bristows LLP runs ‘a first-rate competition practice in the areas of IP and pharmaceuticals’ and has thus been able to arguably ‘hoover up all the best competition cases in those sectors’.”

Legal 500 2017

The lawyers are “friendly, nice to work with and definitely know their stuff, so it is a pleasant experience to work with them.”

Chambers and Partners 2019

“The lawyers are excellent counselling partners and the co-ordination with them was tremendous.”

Chambers and Partners 2017

The team is “knowledgeable and experienced, and the advice is clear and concise.”

Chambers and Partners 2019

“Bristows offer very tailored and pragmatic advice.”

Chambers and Partners 2017

Recent rankings and awards

Competition Law Band 5
Chambers Europe 2019 - 2018

Competition Law - Band 5
Chambers UK 2019 - 2018 -2017

Competition Team of the Year
The Lawyer Awards 2017

Competition litigation - Tier 3
Legal 500 2019-2018-2017

EU and Competition - Tier 4
Legal 500 2019-2018-2017