Antitrust/Competition

Overview

Competition law is an important part of everyday commercial relationships. All businesses, no matter what their size or field of activity, need to be aware of the impacts of competition law on prospective mergers, agreements, strategic plans and general commercial behaviour. The consequences of failing to comply with the law are serious, for both companies and, increasingly, the individuals working for them.

We adopt a commercial and pragmatic approach, delivering practical and tailored advice to a wide range of clients on all aspects of competition law. We have been involved in some of the most ground-breaking cases that have shaped the way in which competition law is enforced in the UK today. We brought the first ever challenge to an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) merger clearance decision which, contrary to many commentators' predictions at the time, was successful and led the OFT to change its approach to assessing mergers. We were also instrumental in securing the first ever intervention by the Secretary of State in a media case (BSkyB/ITV) for the benefit of our client, Virgin.

Our "can do" attitude and ability to find innovative solutions to complex issues enables us to help our clients achieve their business objectives, even in the most difficult cases. By persuading the OFT not to pursue cases of alleged anti-competitive behaviour against Reebok and Woolworths, we ensured that our clients - unlike others - were not fined in cartel cases. On the merger front, our tactics and approach have helped clients to avoid in-depth probes in cases leading to high market shares - in one case over 90 per cent.

The application of competition law requires a detailed understanding of each client's business and the markets in which they operate. We will invest the necessary time and effort to get to know your business and help you to advance your interests whether you are, on the one hand, directly involved in mergers or under investigation by competition authorities or, on the other, seeking to disrupt mergers or complain about the conduct of third parties.

Recognition

  • "'We were really impressed with Macfarlanes' service, availability and passion to drive the case forward.' and 'the team is very polished and technically very good'."

    Chambers UK 2017

  • "Macfarlanes LLP has 'an unusually high level of experience and expertise in EU and competition law for a firm of its size'."

    The UK Legal 500 2014

  • "Partner-led representation, with notable expertise in merger control matters, 'they have a great depth of knowledge and expertise'."

    Chambers UK 2014

  • "'I would totally recommend them,' says one client, 'they are very engaging and quite insightful'."

    IFLR 1000 2013

  • "Macfarlanes LLP is noted for its 'high responsiveness, high quality advice and good value. Practice head Marc Israel is 'highly commercial and proactive'."

    The Legal 500 UK 2013

  • Recognised by Global Competition Review as a world-leading competition practice.

    Global Competition Review

Practice head

Malcolm Walton

Partner

+44 (0)20 7849 2575

Related publication

Some thoughts on Brexit: potential implications for aspects of competition law in the UK