Philipp Girardet advises on a broad range of EU and UK competition law issues, including international merger control matters, complex cartel defence cases, competition litigation as well as general compliance advice, across a wide spectrum of industry sectors, including e-commerce, consumer goods, telecoms, financial services, pharma and transport. He also advises on UK criminal cartel offence matters. He was the Deputy Director of the Cartel Investigations division at the UK Competition Authority (then the Office of Fair Trading) and the Co-Chair of the Leniency Working Group of the European Competition Network (ECN) from 2005 to 2007.
Philipp is recognised as a leading practitioner in the area of Competition/European law by both Chambers UK (2021) and Chambers Europe (2021). Chambers noted that “Philipp Girardet receives considerable praise for his work both on EC or CMA behavioural investigations and on large-scale mergers” and highlights that clients find him "incredibly reliable, quick and decisive" and that he presents “his advice in an easily digestible format.” Others comment that he “does not sit on the fence and is willing to give punchy advice.”
Philipp is also recognised by The Legal 500 UK (2021) for ‘EU and Competition’, with clients commenting that he is “first class – his advice is sharp, pragmatic, commercial and cuts to the heart of the issue” and that he is a “truly outstanding practitioner in his field”.
Willkie’s London Competition team was named a finalist in The Lawyer Awards (2020) for ‘Competition & Regulatory Team of the Year’ and also as a finalist in the Legal Business Awards (2020) for ‘Competition Team of the Year’.
Philipp's significant matters include advising*:
Merger Control - Corporate
- Franklin Templeton on its $4.5 billion acquisition of Legg Mason
- FIS in its $42 billion agreement to merge with Worldpay, Inc.
- Assurant, Inc. in its $2.5 billion acquisition of The Warranty Group
- Expedia Group on its acquisition of SilverRail Technologies, Inc.
- Expedia Group on its investment in Traveloka
- Expedia Group on its buyout of the AirAsia Go platform from Air Asia
- Kraft Heinz on its acquisition of a portfolio of Kraft ketchup and mayonnaise brands from Mondelez International, Inc.
- A number of FMCG suppliers on the UK Competition & Markets Authority investigation into the Tesco/Booker and Sainsbury’s/Asda mergers
Merger Control - Private Equity
- Stanley Capital on its acquisition of global specialty pharmaceutical company, Noden Pharma DAC
- FTV Capital in its growth equity investment in London-based pet insurer Bought By Many
- FTV Capital on its acquisition of Sysnet Limited, a leading provider of cyber security and compliance solutions operating in over 60 countries worldwide
- Searchlight Capital Partners on its take private of Opus Group AB, a Sweden-based technology-driven global leader in the vehicle inspection and intelligent vehicle support markets
- CapVest Partners LLP and its portfolio company Valeo Foods in its acquisition of Campbell’s European Chips Business
- FFL Partners, through its portfolio group Laurel Solutions, in the crossborder acquisition of Servelec Technologies (2019)
- Warburg Pincus on its investment in Avaloq
- Bregal Freshstream on its investment in Intergas
- Insight Venture Partners on its investment in Darktrace
- CapVest Partners in its disposal of its remaining Fund II portfolio companies to HarbourVest
- Insight Venture Partners on its investment in Receipt Bank Limited
- Universal Music Group (UMG) in its $1.6 billion acquisition of EMI Music
- Fyffes on its proposed $1 billion merger with Chiquita
- Telefonica (O2) in relation to its defence of a damages claim brought by Phones4U (in administration) in the English High Court
- Expedia Group in relation to various inquiries into online booking platform MFN clauses
- A leading toy manufacturer in relation to their physical and online distribution policies across the EU
- Fyffes in the European Commission’s cartel investigation into the supply of bananas
- Universal Music Group in relation to the European Commission’s iTunes investigation
- A party in the European Commission’s automotive cartel parts investigation
- A party in the European Commission’s LCD investigation and related follow-on damages claims
- A party in relation to follow-on damages claims arising out of the European Commission’s CRT cartel case
- A party in the UK competition authority’s civil and criminal cartel investigation into the supply of agricultural products
- American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) in the European Commission’s International Association of Classification of Societies (IACS) case
* Philipp advised on some of these matters at his prior firm.
From 2005 to 2007, Philipp was the Deputy Director of the Cartels branch of the UK competition authority (then the Office of Fair Trading), where he was responsible for the OFT’s civil cartel cases and for developing and operating the authority’s leniency policy.
During that period, he co-chaired the Leniency Working Group of the European Competition Network (ECN). He also worked closely with the European Commission, the US Department of Justice and the OECD Competition Section on competition policy and enforcement issues.
Philipp frequently speaks on competition law issues in the UK and abroad:
- “Competition Law Challenges in the Digital Sphere”, UK Competition Law Conference Chair, London, 23 February 2021
- “Is Global Leniency in a Death Spiral?”, GCR Live 9th Annual Antitrust Law Leaders Forum, Miami, February 2020
- Chairing panel on “In-house perspectives on anti-competitive information exchanges”, UK Competition Law 2020 conference, London, February 2020
- “Competition Reorg: Hipster Antitrust, EU Revisionism, Brazilian Progressivism and Brexit”, Washington D.C., March 2019
- Compliance – what is now best in breed?, GCR Live Brussels, July 2018
- Dawn Raids Workshop – Getting your response right, Association of Foreign Banks, London, June 2018
- Retail Roundtable – the CMA's decision in Tesco/Booker and its possible views on Sainsbury's/ASDA, London, May 2018
- Brexit – What now? Implications for Business, London, July 2016
- Hot Topics in Competition Law, Shanghai, September 2015
- Hong Kong Competition Ordinance: Preparing for Investigations – an EU perspective, Hong Kong, September 2015
- Doing Business Online – Getting It Right in Europe, London, June 2014
- EU Competition Law and Information Exchange, LexisNexis webinar, London, October 2013
- Antitrust and the Music Industry, 17th Annual International Bar Association (IBA) Competition Conference, Florence, September 2013
- Preparing for and Dealing with Dawn Raids, LexisNexis Conference for In-house Legal Advisors, London, September 2013
- Chairing a seminar with Alex Chisholm, the (then) CEO designate of the new Competition and Markets Authority, June 2013
- Cartels: Conducting Audits and Developing a Critical Action Plan, ABA conference, New York, September 2012
- “First Company Director Disqualification Order Imposed by the UK Competition Authority,” (Willkie Farr & Gallagher Client Memorandum, December 2, 2016)
- Competition Law Insight, “The Eturas case: Online platforms offer no special protection for possible cartel conduct,” April 12, 2016
- Co-editor of Global Legal Group’s “International Comparative Legal Guide to Cartels & Leniency” (2012 to 2016)
- Financial Times, “House Rules: Guidelines for buying government property, and the OFT investigation into property management services,” January 22, 2014
- Willkie’s London Competition team was named a finalist in the 2020 Legal Business Awards for Competition Team of the Year
- Recognized in Chambers UK, Chambers Europe, Legal 500 and Who’s Who Legal: Competition, Who’s Who Thought Leaders: Competition and Best Lawyers: UK/Competition
- Recipient of The Lawyer’s Competition Team of the Year 2013 award for work on Universal Music’s successful acquisition of EMI Music
- Legal 500, which rates him as a leading individual in his field, reports that clients found him “awesome” and appreciate his “understanding of their business objectives.” Chambers and Partners notes that clients admire that he "doesn't sit on the fence and is willing to give punchy advice."
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