Rapid change for the global economy increases the challenge of competition law compliance
International economies thrive on competition, with businesses striving to outperform each other through innovation, service and price to meet clients' and customers' needs and wants. By upholding the principles of fair competition, competition law performs an essential role in fostering and maintaining a free and open economy.
For businesses, compliance with competition law requires a thorough understanding of how it applies to everyday commercial dealings – such as distribution and supply contracts with resellers and customers, purchasing agreements, technology transfer arrangements and interactions with competitors. It also involves recognising when merger or other regulatory filings might be required.
Those that fall short can expect robust interactions with enforcers, with the risk of heavy fines for serious infringements. A competition investigation, which can begin with an unannounced dawn raid, is a shock for any business; a wrong move can lead to potentially costly outcomes, including – in addition to fines and disrepute – liability for cartel damages. Victims of cartels and other competition law infringements have greatly improved opportunities to recover any losses.
At the same time, the international economy is undergoing profound and rapid change, with digitalisation driving new ways of thinking among competition authorities and legislators about how to regulate platforms, marketplaces and data.
Alongside digital transformation, geopolitical change and the implications of the pandemic have led to growing caution by governments over technology transfer and inward investment. Many countries have introduced investment controls to enable government scrutiny of transactions that potentially raise issues of national security. Such controls capture a far wider range of transactions than merger control: minority investments, real estate transactions, intellectual property transfers and asset acquisitions can all potentially be caught alongside mergers and acquisitions.
The benefits of innovation, sustainability and rapidly evolving markets also come with the increasing challenge of competition law compliance. Businesses need advisors with recognised knowledge and experience of competition law to guide them through this landscape.
Osborne Clarke's international competition team has extensive experience defending and promoting clients' interests in transactions, investigations and disputes. We offer a range of legal capabilities and sector expertise across our international network of offices and the ability to work quickly and efficiently across multiple jurisdictions to deliver pragmatic and cost-effective solutions for our clients.
The international economy is undergoing profound and rapid change, with digitalisation driving new ways of thinking among competition authorities."
Insights: Competition, antitrust and trade
European producers given greater obligations to decarbonise with extended producer responsibility and greenwashing regulation
Leading telecommunications company
Advised on a major acquisition and successfully obtaining EU merger clearance
Advised on competition law compliance of a data-sharing product
Advised on the merger of its Spanish life and non-life insurance businesses into their English counterparts pursuant to the European Cross-Border Merger Regulations
An electricity supplier
Defended in connection with a section 26 investigation into the metering market
International utility companies
Obtained EU merger control clearance for a joint venture between two international utility companies
A leading marine company
Advised and obtained unconditional merger clearance from the OFT, following a number of third party complaints and a complex CRM process
A leading rail company
Secured merger clearance for £1.1b takeover of the UK's largest rail franchise
A leading telecommunications company
Represented in the Competition Appeal Tribunal in respect of regulatory appeals against two Ofcom price control decisions
A telecoms company
Acted in the context of an Ofcom investigation.
Hydrogen peroxide cartel
Advised on collective follow-on action against the members of the hydrogen peroxide cartel in Germany.
Represented an automotive trade association before the European Commission and German authorities regarding antitrust law applicable to the motor vehicle sector.
Defended an international commodities distributor in German antitrust investigation and settlement agreement
Obtained unconditional German merger clearance for USD multibillion acquisition of gas pipelines from Shell and ExxonMobil