Brussels

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
Avenue Louise, 480 / 3B
1050 Bruxelles

T: +32 2 290 18 20
F: +32 2 290 18 21
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The Brussels office is the hub of our European Antitrust & Competition Practice and also represents Belgian and international clients in an array of corporate and commercial transactions as well as litigation matters.

Our Antitrust & Competition Team provides cutting-edge advice on all aspects of European and EU national competition law. The multi-language Brussels team works seamlessly with our Antitrust & Competition teams in London, Paris, Frankfurt, and in the United States, navigating clients through their most challenging matters. We regularly represent international corporate clients, financial institutions, and private equity sponsors on complex merger control matters before the European Commission and national competition authorities, such as the German Bundeskartellamt or the French Autorité de la concurrence, securing clearances or acting as interested or intervening parties. We have a proven track record of managing seamless global merger control investigations in virtually every part of the world. The Brussels office is also regularly involved in Foreign Direct Investment screening filings across Europe, particularly before the French and German regulators. In addition, our team regularly advises on EU and national cartel and abuse of dominance investigations, including leniency applications and settlement negations. Together with our market-leading antitrust litigation practice, we offer a unique holistic service comprising governmental investigation and follow-on damage litigation. Clients also regularly call upon us for advice in commercial antitrust matters, such as distribution systems and cooperation agreements, and for antitrust litigation before the Courts of the EU and national courts. Another strong pillar of our Brussels team is its focus on EU State Aid advice.

The Brussels office handles complex public and private business transactions in Belgium and abroad covering a broad range of industries. The team advises on M&A, joint ventures, venture capital, general corporate matters (including advice on corporate governance, shareholders agreements, directors’ liability and disclosure requirements). The practice also includes public takeover, listings, offerings on securities markets and private placements. With our integrated multi-jurisdictional private equity teams in the US and in Europe, we represent a number of world’s leading private equity funds in a broad range of private equity transactions. In addition, our lawyers have significant experience in the areas of financial markets and investment regulation, including representing banks, investment advisers and other securities professionals in their relationships with Belgian regulatory authorities.

The Brussels office’s prominent litigation practice covers a broad array of contentious matters, ranging from complex commercial or corporate litigation to white collar crime defense and investigations. We offer creative solutions to our clients’ most tangled and complex disputes, whether it involves a labyrinthine series of contracts and agreements, a joint venture ordeal, a heated shareholder battle, accusations of fraud, a problem with a regulator, or other bet-the-company events. We regularly appear before judicial and arbitration courts of Belgium. Our white-collar team comprises experienced trial lawyers and former officers of enforcement agencies. We represent companies and financial institutions and their executives, in high-stakes matters and all types of financial investigations, such as (cross-border) bribery, money laundering, export controls, trade sanctions and human rights. Our team regularly assists clients in criminal and governmental investigations, and conducts internal investigations for clients and their boards. We also counsel our clients on the development and the improvement of compliance programs. Together with our litigators in our other European and U.S. offices, we provide an integrated platform of legal services covering multiple jurisdictions and geographies.

Corporate / M&A

We represent clients in mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, venture capital and general corporate housekeeping matters.  Our practice includes the representation of buyers, sellers and investors in all types of acquisition transactions in a broad range of industries.  Our Brussels lawyers are skilled at solving an array of complex issues arising out of the incorporation, day-to-day corporate management and winding-up of large and medium-sized corporations.

Takeover Bids

  • Representation of Fortis Group in its takeover on Générale de Banque - Banking
  • Representation of AXA in its takeover of Royale Belge - Insurance
  • Representation of Transiciel in its takeover of Ariane Group - Computing
  • Representation of CNP in its takeover of GIB - Retail
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Public Offerings

Our public offerings practice includes handling public takeovers, as well as listings and offerings on securities markets. Our lawyers have been appointed as counsel to bidders and target companies in a significant number of national and international takeover bids and are regularly retained to handle all steps of such transactions.

Sales and Purchases of Corporations

  • Advised on the sale by CNP (Frère Group) of Dupuis to Dargaud
  • Advised on the sale of EBA (European Belgian Airlines) to Virgin
  • Advised on the acquisition by CNP of Ijsboerke Group
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Banking and Finance

We have significant experience in the areas of financial markets and investment regulation, including representing banks, investment advisers and other securities professionals in their relationships with Belgian regulatory authorities.

Securities

  • Fortis Group - Assisting the Fortis Group in the creation of a unified type of stocks through the stapling of shares, thereby avoiding the difficulties of a dual listing and helping to improve the group's access to capital markets.
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Litigation and Arbitration

The Brussels office has built a significant litigation practice. Our lawyers are often asked to intervene as counsel or arbitrators in domestic and international arbitrations.  We are known for our experience in all major areas of business and corporate litigation, including shareholders' disputes, battle-for-corporate-control and professional liability actions.

Litigation

  • Assisting the Belgian Federal Government in reaffirming before the highest court in Belgium (“Cour d'Arbitrage”) the continuous rights of the National Bank of  Belgium on its foreign currency and gold reserves totaling €12 billion.
  • Defending the interests of a private corporation (with a controlling Belgian State interest) in numerous multimillion euro suits against various contractors and subcontractors with respect to its 240,000 square meters in the Berlaymont Building, which headquarters the European Union.
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Bankruptcy

The Brussels office has been regularly involved in judicial composition and bankruptcy proceedings as counsel to debtors and creditors.

Business Reorganization and Restructuring

  • Advising significant corporations in composition procedures under the Belgian equivalent of chapter 11.
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Business Reorganization and Restructuring

The Brussels office regularly assists public and private corporations in internal restructurings and strategic alliances as they relate to a host of circumstances, including potential insolvency issues.

Business Reorganization and Restructuring

  • Advising significant corporations in composition procedures under the Belgian equivalent of chapter 11.
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European Union Law

The conditions for conducting business in Europe are set by the various EU institutions. Although most European rules are implemented at the national level, the basic EU rules and principles are decisive in establishing their interpretation and application.  Our team regularly assists clients in cases involving interpretation issues at the EU level.  We have developed a particular focus on environmental, data protection and customs law.  We also represent clients in trade matters, such as dumping and subsidy cases.

Antitrust

Our antitrust team in Brussels comprises several lawyers of different nationalities who work in close cooperation with antitrust specialists in the other Willkie offices. We are regularly involved in cartel and monopolization cases before the European Commission and national competition authorities. We defend the interests of our clients in administrative proceedings before the authorities, and actively litigate antitrust matters before national and community courts. The integration of our litigation and substantive antitrust experience allows us to provide clients with comprehensive service to meet all of their antitrust needs. Counseling activities include pricing issues, distribution arrangements and horizontal cooperation agreements. The team also offers a variety of additional antitrust-related services such as compliance programs and audits that assess whether clients' business practices present significant antitrust risk, in which cases we quickly develop measures to reduce the risk.

Antitrust

Antitrust: EC Investigations
  • Bitumen sector
  • Paper sector

Antitrust:  Cartel Cases Before the EC and European Court of Justice
  • Base Chemicals
  • Cement
  • Electronics Equipment
  • Financial Services
  • Sodium Gluconate

Antitrust: Proceedings Before National Competition Authorities (as Intervener)
  • Energy
  • Petrol
  • Newspaper
  • Pharmaceutical
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Merger Filings

The Brussels and U.S. offices closely coordinate their activities with respect to international transactions that require approval of antitrust authorities. Our lawyers are skilled in assessing the jurisdictions in which merger filings are required (or advisable), preparing the filings and coordinating the merger advocacy process across borders. We have a significant track record in avoiding the imposition of any divestment of assets on behalf of clients. In both Europe and the U.S. our lawyers have gained a reputation for avoiding second-stage investigations through effective advocacy within strict regulatory time constraints.

Merger Filings with the EC

  • Aluminum Auto Parts Industry
  • Animal Food Products
  • Energy
  • Glass Packaging  
  • Heat Cost Allocators
  • Specialized Chemical Products
  • Supermarkets
  • Water Meters
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State Aid Issues

Our Brussels lawyers have developed a significant practice advising clients on state aid issues. The practice focuses on avoiding state aid liabilities in corporate transactions and in financing operations. The team also intervenes in procedures before the EU Commission and litigates state-aid issues before the EU courts in Luxemburg.

Regulated Industries

Since the early 1990s, the Member States of the European Union have opened network industries to competition. The Brussels team has developed deep experience in dealing with the complicated regulatory issues that this liberalization presents in various Member States. Our activities in this area focus on industries in the energy, telecommunications and water supply sectors.

Publications / News / Events

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Recognition, Honors & Awards

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