Antitrust & Competition

The Antitrust practice group of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP comprises approximately thirty lawyers specializing in all aspects of antitrust and competition law drawn from eight offices (New York, Washington, Paris, London, Frankfurt, Brussels, Milan and Rome). The Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP Antitrust practice group enjoys a strong reputation on both sides of the Atlantic.

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European Antitrust Practice Group

Led by Jacques-Philippe Gunther, the European Antitrust practice group comprises about twenty lawyers drawn from six different offices (Paris, London, Frankfurt, Brussels, Milan and Rome).

It has significant experience in a broad range of competition law issues including:

  • Merger control
  • Vertical / Horizontal agreements
  • Abuse of dominant position (predatory pricing, loyalty rebate, cross subsidization, restrictive practices)
  • State aids
  • Assessment of complex agreements (joint ventures, R&D, long term supply, exclusive arrangements, minority interests...)
  • Distribution law (general terms and conditions, distribution agreements, commercial agent agreement, resale at a loss)
  • Regulatory (banking, insurance, telecom, gas, electricity)
  • Leniency and compliance programs

In particular, the European team has developed a strong professional relationship with competition authorities both at the European level (European Commission, European Community Court and Court of Justice) and at the national level (in particular especially in France, London, Germany, Belgium and Italy).

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US Antitrust Practice Group

The European and North American Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP offices work in close cooperation.

The North American antitrust practice group comprises about fifteen highly specialized lawyers in two offices (New York and Washington).

It assists European, American and international companies in matters encompassing the entire spectrum of competition law:

  • Merger filings
  • Litigation before competition authorities
  • Private enforcement (especially numerous class actions)
  • Advisory work on antitrust matters
  • Compliance programs

Our team consists of several former members of competition authorities, and recognized specialists in competition law : William H Rooney, Wesley Powell, Jeffrey Korn, Matthew Freimuth (New York) and Theodore C.Whitehouse (Washington DC).

Recent and Representative Experience

Merger control
  • Willkie’s advised Teva Pharmaceutical Industries before the European Commission in its $6.8 billion acquisition of pharmaceutical company Cephalon.
  • Willkie advised CMA CGM in the context of its agreement with French sovereign fund Fonds Stratégique d’Investissement (FSI), whereby FSI invested $150 million in CMA CGM through the subscription of bonds redeemable in shares, ultimately granting FSI a 6% stake in CMA CGM’s capital.
  • Willkie represented EDF in obtaining clearance from the French competition authority for the acquisition of Photowatt, a French company specialized in the manufacturing of photovoltaic cells, at the time in insolvency proceedings.
  • Willkie advised CMA CGM in the sale of a 49% stake in its wholly owned subsidiary Terminal Link for €400 million to China Merchants Holdings International (CMHI), the largest public port operator in China, as part of the implementation of a strategic partnership with CMHI.
  • Willkie represented Teva before the EC in obtaining regulatory clearances for its $5 billion acquisition of Ratiopharm in 2010.
  • Willkie counseled Eurotunnel before the French Competition Authority in its takeover of certain assets of Sea France, active in the cross-Channel transportation market, within the framework of winding-up proceedings.
  • Willkie counseled Arkema in a merger clearance procedure before the European Commission of a €550-million acquisition of the resins division of Total, a worldwide leader in the oil and gas sector, including multi-jurisdictional filings in Brazil, China, South Africa, Turkey, Ukraine, USA.
  • Willkie represented Rexel before the French Competition Authority in relation to the acquisition of SCT Toutelectric.
  • Willkie advised Orange in the creation of a procurement joint venture for fixed and mobile telecommunication products with Deutsche Telekom. The transaction has been notified before national competition authorities in Germany, Austria and Poland.
  • Willkie represented PAI Partners in the context of the notification to the European Commission of the acquisitions of Yoplait, Kiloutou, IPH, Labeyrie Fine Foods, Euro Media Group and DomusVi Dolcea Participations.
  • Willkie advised ADB in the context of the acquisition of Lucebit and Erni which was approved by the German, Austrian and Ukrainian competition authorities.
  • Willkie represented Centerbridge Partners and Angelo Gordon for the notification to the French Competition Authority of the acquisition of FransBonhomme.
  • Willkie counseled EDF in securing merger clearance before the European Commission of a €700-million acquisition by EDF of exclusive control over Edison, the third Italian energy operator.
  • Willkie advised Lagardère, its subsidiary Aélia and Aéroports de Lyon to receive the approval of the French Competition Authority in the joint venture process between Aélia and Aéroports de Lyon.
  • Willkie carried out the notification process before nine juridisctions regarding Perstorp’s joint venture with PTT Global Chemical (China, USA, Germany, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Cyprus and Ukraine).
  • Willkie represented Gaz de France in its $159 billion merger with Suez. Our EU team led the merger review process before the European Commission and coordinated numerous merger review filings throughout the world.
  • Willkie advised CMA CGM with regards to an investigation launched by the European Commission against several liner shipping companies regarding potential anticompetitive agreements and/or abuse of dominant position.
  • Willkie advised Orange with regards to the European Commission’s investigation related to Internet market services access and alleged abuse of dominant position.
  • Willkie advised Orange in the annulment of the Paris Court of Appeal’s judgment in a dispute brought by Subiteo on a “follow-on” basis.
  • Willkie advised CMA CGM with regards to an investigation related to sea transport services from North Europe to the French West Indies.
  • Willkie represents EDF before the antitrust authority in the context of an alleged abuse of dominant position against SUN’R.
  • Willkie advised Orange before the Court of Appeal (Paris) in the context of an alleged abuse of dominant position against Cogent.
  • Willkie advised GDF Suez in obtaining the largest antitrust fine reduction in a major EU cartel case in the energy sector (more than €230 million). The team was nominated in the category “Litigation of the year” by Global Competition Review.
  • Willkie advises Arkema in the opening by the European Commission of proceedings concerning agreements and abuse of dominant position in relation to standardization issues (“patent ambush”).
  • Willkie represents Teva in three European antitrust investigations relating to patent settlement agreements and the functioning of the French generics market.
  • Willkie represents the Crédit Mutuel in three major ongoing cases before the French competition Authority, the French Supreme Court and the European authorities relating to interchange fees.
  • Willkie represented Meteo Consult in the context of a claim to the French Competition Authority against Météo-France about the use of its State’s subsidy to offer low prices on its commercial activity (cross-subsidies).
  • Willkie represents Orange in several litigations (damages proceedings with respect to anticompetitive practices).
  • Willkie represents Ebay with respects to the European Commission’s formal investigation under Article 102 TFUE launched in November 2010 regarding potential abusive practices implemented by Google.
  • Willkie also represented GDF Suez in a relation to an alleged abuse of a dominant position on the French gas transport and gas supply markets. The matter settled with the Commission with no penalty.
  • Willkie represented Orange before the French competition Authority and French courts against Outremer Télécom for an alleged abuse of dominant position.
  • Willkie represented the Ligue Française de Football (“LFP”) in a dispute regarding the exclusive distribution of Orange Foot channel. This high-profile dispute was opposing telecom operators SFR and Free to incumbent company France Telecom and LFP.
  • Willkie advises Amaury Group in a case relating to alleged abuse of dominant position between two daily French newspapers.
  • Willkie represented France Televisions before the French competition authority in a case brought against an agreement under which France Televisions granted Orange the exclusive right to broadcast some of its programs.
State Aids
  • Willkie represents Transdev with regards to two negative decisions from the European Commission following formal investigation procedures related to SNCM.
  • Willkie represents the French State in Obtaining EC Approval for €1.2 Billion PSA Group Aid.
  • Willkie advised Crédit Mutuel in the Livret Bleu case. The European Commission at first judged that Crédit Mutuel was granted an incompatible state aid. We obtained the annulment of the decision and proved the absence of state aid.
  • Willkie advised COFACE and the French State with regards to the investigation from the European Commission regarding the financing of a nuclear power station in Finland. The Commission concluded to an absence of state aid.
  • Willkie advises France Télévisions in an annulment action brought before the General Court of the EU by TF1, M6 and Canal+ with regards to the financing scheme benefiting France Televisions.
  • Willkie advises EDF with regards to an investigation by the Commission regarding the buy out by EDF of a distressed company and the compliance of the transactions with regards to state aids issues.
  • Willkie advises COFACE with regards to a complaint filed (development of the complaint, formal procedure) against the state aid received by the credit export institution (SA Ducroire) via an overcapitalisation. The Commission adopted anegative decision with issue of a recovery order.
  • Willkie advises GDF Suez and three French banks with regards to an investigation by the EC related to tax EIGs (formal procedure).
  • Willkie advised GDF Suez with regards to several state aids issues.
  • Willkie advised Caisse Centrale de Réassurance with regards to a complaint filed by SCOR before French administrative courts related to the compliance of the insurance against natural disasters in terms of state aids.
  • Willkie advised the majority shareholder of a company benefiting from a potential state aid granted by the acquisition of a stake by the Banque Publique d’Investissement (criterion of the private investor, private pari passu intervention).
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