Antitrust and competition
Freshfields has unrivalled experience and reputation in all aspects of antitrust and competition law, whether in the context of M&A, investigations or litigation, providing deep insight into the legal frameworks and policies that regulatory strategies are built on.
Antitrust and competition law challenges are central to many boardroom decisions in today’s complex and rapidly evolving regulatory world. Authorities are using an increasingly wide range of powers to investigate mergers, markets, and anticompetitive behaviour, making the financial and reputational risks to business ever more acute.
The very interventionist agendas of antitrust enforcers globally make it crucial to engage a legal team with the international expertise to craft integrated strategies, as well as a thorough understanding of local laws and enforcement priorities. With more than 60 partners and over 300 other antitrust and regulatory lawyers based in the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, our global antitrust practice enables us to ensure that clients’ investment decisions and risk management stand up to growing levels of regulatory scrutiny and market opposition.
Our client service is built on our global teams and their market-leading experience of advising across the full range of business sectors. This, together with our proven track record in many of the most challenging and cutting-edge cases, gives us unparalleled understanding of the diverse antitrust challenges that clients face.
Recent client successes
Advising AstraZeneca on the global antitrust and foreign investment strategy for its $39bn acquisition of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, one of the first transactions to be reviewed in parallel by each of the EU, UK and US authorities.
Through this transformational acquisition AstraZeneca has acquired Alexion’s innovative complement pathway technology platform and new product pipeline, enhancing its ability to treat patients with rare diseases worldwide. This significant, cross-border transaction was scrutinised by competition authorities around the world and foreign investment screening in a number of European countries. Our global strategy achieved swift unconditional clearance across jurisdictions.
Advising the London Stock Exchange Group on the global coordination, regulatory engagement and substantive strategy for its $27bn transformational acquisition of Refinitiv, one of the leading global providers of financial markets data and trading venues.
The complex and high-profile cross-border transaction involved reviews by 21 merger control authorities as well as foreign investment screening in the US, Australia and a number of European countries. The deal was subject to a Second Request in the US, but the Department of Justice ultimately closed its investigation and issued a rare public statement explaining why it had concluded the merger did not raise any competitive concerns. The deal also prompted an in-depth Phase II review by the European Commission and the negotiation of a €4.3bn structural remedy and innovative behavioural remedies to secure clearance.
Acting for AB InBev on the global competition strategy for its £78.4bn acquisition of SABMiller, among the top five M&A deals of all time.
The transaction was subject to regulatory clearances in more than 30 countries and required remedies, including a significant disposal of assets across Europe, the US and Asia, and public interest commitments in several jurisdictions.
Advising Evonik on its landmark win (2020) against the US Federal Trade Commission, which had sued to block Evonik’s acquisition of PeroxyChem, a competing hydrogen peroxide producer. This was the first time the FTC had been defeated in a merger challenge since 2015.
Advising various clients, including Continental and Takata, across a number of jurisdictions (including successful immunity applications in the EU) in the car-parts investigation.
This worldwide action, said to be the largest ever investigation into alleged cartels in a single industry (involving the supply of seatbelts, airbags and steering wheels to the automotive sector), was driven by the European Commission, the US Department of Justice, and the competition regulators in Japan, South Korea and Brazil, among others.
Awards & Recognitions
Top of GCR’s Global Elite – 15th time in the top global position
Who’s Who Legal ‘Global Competition Law Firm of the Year’ – for the 19th consecutive year
No 1 for Global Merger Control (GCR 100 Survey)
One of the world’s top two Antitrust Litigation practices (GCR 100 Survey)
One of the world’s top five Cartel Investigations practices (GCR 100 Survey)
Over 70 Who’s Who Legal antitrust leaders globally (more than any other firm)
"[The quality of advice is consistently excellent, they are out-of-the-box thinkers, they go the extra mile.] Excellent abilities to handle cross-border and international elements."
"Unparalleled global antitrust practice is buoyed by multiple market-leading teams [that work on the other side of the table to many of the world’s most important antitrust enforcers]."
"Few firms claim to match the depth of Freshfields merger control, antitrust investigations and competition litigation practices – [let alone all three combined]."
"Super strong internationally, especially on global transactions. [At the forefront of what's happening in the market and involved in all the big investigations.]"
Thomas Janssens Partner
Jamillia Ferris US Head of antitrust, competition, and trade
Dr. Uta Itzen Partner
Kaori Yamada Partner