Getting ahead of the competition - fairly
What is involved?
Compliance with competition and antitrust laws is absolutely vital for all businesses. Antitrust risk should never be ignored – ultimate responsibility rest with the Board and senior management.
Global and UK competition authorities and specialist sector regulators wield significant investigatory powers. They scrutinise and challenge M&A deals and joint ventures, punish cartels, resale price maintenance and other anti-competitive arrangements, fine dominant companies for abusive conduct, and reform failing markets.
On top of that, the UK laws on foreign direct investment, public procurement subsidy control (state aid) and trade remedies impose substantial regulatory burdens on global and UK businesses alike. The additional legislative challenges following the UK’s departure from the EU alongside its continued membership of the WTO are novel, significant and tricky to navigate.
It is crucial that your business and staff fully understand and follow competition law to avoid severe penalties, including huge fines, punitive director disqualification, lengthy prison sentences and vast exposure to damages claims. The reputational damage and time devoted to defence are substantial and the agreements themselves may be void and unenforceable.
Competition law can also be used as a sword to keep your competitors ‘clean’ and allow your business to compete on a level playing field.
Illegal anti-competitive behaviour may not be obvious to everyone. It is a thorny area of law and is is crucial to avoid the traps. It can include restricting resellers’ activities, amicably agreeing with competitors not to undercut each other’s prices, making deals to share markets or customers, discussing your strategies and intentions, and sharing other sensitive information with each other.
Freeths’ Competition department regularly helps clients – including many household names – comply with all aspects of competition law and use competition law to their advantage. We offer considerable expertise in delivering bespoke competition compliance policies and training programmes, as well as ongoing support if competition concerns do arise. Where breaches have occurred, we advise on leniency applications, investigations and overall defence/claims strategy.
Our team includes ex-City competition lawyers who together have amassed considerable practical experience helping businesses navigate the complexities of competition law. We can deliver in-person or virtual training sessions tailored to our client’s business needs, as well as carry out competition law audits to identify the overall level of antitrust risk within an organisation.
Why choose Freeths?
- We have first-hand experience of working with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in competition and merger investigations and market studies/investigations
- Our competition lawyers include former CMA practitioners, with leading in-house regulatory experience, offering clients invaluable regulatory insights
- As “business people first and lawyers second”, we will see problems from your point of view and help you alight on a solution that works for your business
- You can rely on our competition lawyers to be commercially-minded and easy to work with
- Our specialist team offers up-to-date advice on key legal principles, helping you avoid pitfalls
- We will regularly update you – in person, in writing, online and by email – on the latest commercial activity and legislative changes
- We integrate cross-disciplinary expertise across the range of competition disciplines
- We offer innovative cost structures and bespoke billing solutions for our clients
We can help you minimise antitrust risk under UK competition laws, as well as steering you through any antitrust, merger or market investigation you face. We can also help you successfully bring claims or defend disputes involving UK competition law, including competition litigation, cartel damages actions and class actions.
Led by Head of Competition, Andrew Maxwell, Freeths have a dedicated and expert Competition department advising, representing and trusted by clients on all aspects of UK competition law, antitrust, merger control, dispute management and regulation.
We also have a wide variety of sector experts who can help you with Corporate Defence & Regulatory, Energy and Waste, Financial Services, Food, Healthcare, Hospitality & Leisure, Insurance, Pharmaceuticals, Procurement or Retail concerns.
Call any member of our expert department now to find out how we can help you.
Alternatively complete the form below:
0345 030 5793
0345 077 9581
0190 835 0200
0345 077 9646
0345 128 6997
0345 274 6900
0345 077 9561
0345 030 5658
Green Agreements: Collaborating with competitors on environmental sustainabilityArticles 15th Nov 2023
Automotive Industry: A new Motor Vehicles Competition Law Block Exemption is now in forceArticles 2nd Jun 2023
A changing antitrust landscape under the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers BillArticles 25th May 2023
“We have always been extremely impressed with the service provided.”
"Freeths’ lawyers are acknowledged for their ‘excellent service and specialist expertise'."
“...very responsive, personable and provides practical solutions tailored to our needs. A pleasure to work with.”
(Julia Runnacles, (then) Head of Legal, Hasbro Europe)
“We are very pleased with this outcome and would thank you for your expertise here."
(Jane Hull, Underwriting Director, Tokio Marine HCC)
“I appreciate your support and Freeths collectively as always."
(Andrew Pike, Managing Director, Hubergroup)
“I’m really happy with the work you’ve done for us and so I hope you don’t mind I’ll be coming to you with anything we need advice on in the future!”
(Jenni Richards, Federation Manager, British Glass )
- Advising potential claimants in respect of claims for damages from the major truck manufacturers, arising out of The European Commission’s 2016 Judgment that MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco, and DAF all broke EU antitrust rules, colluding for 14 years on both truck pricing and the passing on of the costs of compliance with stricter EU emission rules. This resulted in a record fine of €2,926.499,000.
- Representing clients throughout CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) investigations, including Royal and Sun Alliance Insurance plc in the Private Motor Insurance market investigation and market study.
- Advising a food sector client on an abuse of dominance claim under EU/UK competition law and a procurement challenge, involving complex cross-border competition and procurement issues.
- Advising the Legal Department of a London airport in respect of a whole host of valuable/important issues. These included contractual, competition and environmental queries, and disputes with its concessions, ground handlers and car park operators.
- Advising a UK company on substantial follow-on actions against Visa and MasterCard, relating to alleged anti-competitive conduct associated with credit/debit card multilateral interchange fees.
- Providing UK merger arbitrage advice to a recognised hedge fund on a CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) merger inquiry involving a large grocery retailer.
- Advising a UK company in respect of CMA investigations into alleged cartel activity in the galvanised steel tanks market.
- Advising a vertically integrated, global business on a leniency application, and on the application of EU and UK competition law to its dealings with competitors and retailers.
- Advising organisations on substantial follow-on damages actions against international truck manufacturers, arising out of EU infringement findings.
‘Doing the right thing’ is at the heart of Freeths. Find out more about our excellent client service and the strong set of values that guide the way we work.
Talk to us
Freeths are a leading national law firm with 13 offices across the UK. If you have a query about our services or just want to find out more, why not give us a call?
Contact: 03301 001 014