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United Kingdom

Competition law risk is increasingly a board level issue. All businesses need to focus on its impact on their activities.

Mergers require strategic thought up front, as to structuring and substantive competition risk. Pricing and distribution strategies need to be attuned to potential allegations of dominance. Cartel risk needs to be identified and assessed quickly, but accurately. Practical, and sometimes innovative, solutions need to be found in a fast-moving commercial context.

Our team of competition lawyers has extensive experience in helping to navigate these difficult paths so that clients can keep their focus on their business. We have in-depth knowledge of how the competition rules apply in practice across different markets. Our sector focus helps us understand your business environment and get to grips with your issues.

We can help you devise your business strategies to address these challenges and take advantage of the opportunities they offer. We also have hands-on experience of dealing with the competition authorities and courts, and we work with our CMS network of specialist competition lawyers across the EU and beyond. We're experienced in acting on high-profile competition and dawn raid investigations before the UK and EU competition authorities, and we also deal with sector regulators including ORR, Ofgem, and Ofcom. We regularly advise on day-to-day competition issues including commercial agreements and practices, compliance programmes and provide competition law training and audits.

The CMS Competition Practice Group has more than 150 competition lawyers, making it one of the largest competition teams within Europe. Our experts provide you with tailor-made advice on competition issues at both the European Union (EU) and national levels. The competition lawyers spread across the CMS offices are supported by the CMS EU Law Office in Brussels.

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    Investigations & Raids

    With the increase in businesses operating across borders we understand the need to spot potential competition law issues at an early stage. Increasing media prominence is given to competition law infringements, and the level of financial penalties is rising. An unexpected visit from the European Commission or the Competition and Markets Authority, or the launch of a market review or investigation can be a difficult and time-consuming experience.

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    Merger Control

    Merger control is a vitally important element of many transactions. The early identification of where a transaction needs to be notified, and the incorporation of the most appropriate merger control strategy within the deal approach, is essential to its success. If merger control is neglected, the transaction may not proceed, may need to be undone or may not realise its full potential. Our expertise in obtaining merger clearances in the UK, before the European Commission and across the world will smooth the complexities of making your deal happen and help to avoid any nasty surprises. Our primary objective is to ensure that merger control is dealt with efficiently and puts you in the strongest position.

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    Sanctions & Export Controls

    Sanctions and export controls are now a key risk for companies engaged in international trade. The risk of corporate fines and personal criminal liability, combined with constantly changing regimes reflecting changing political developments makes it a high-risk yet complex area of legal compliance.

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    State Aid

    State aid law plays a crucial role in the functioning of markets, ensuring a level playing field. Its importance has been brought into sharp relief in the latest global financial crisis.

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    Law-Now: Com­pet­i­tion
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    Dr. Harald Kahlenberg
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    The CMA has is­sued a con­sulta­tion on its plans and pri­or­it­ies for the com­ing year. Al­though un­cer­tainty over Brexit means that it is con­sult­ing on “pri­or­ity themes” rather than “spe­cif­ic ob­ject­ives”, the CMA con­firms that it will re­tain a strong in­terest in.
    CMS Com­pet­i­tion is­sues in M&A trans­ac­tions
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    From 3 Decem­ber 2018, all traders who sell cross-bor­der to cus­tom­ers with­in the EU must com­ply with the EU Geo-Block­ing the Reg­u­la­tion (the "Reg­u­la­tion"). [1] Un­less per­mit­ted by EU or Mem­ber State law, traders are no longer al­lowed to block or lim­it ac­cess.
    CMS Com­pet­i­tion ser­vices: Dawn raid re­sponse team
    EU in­sti­tu­tions reach polit­ic­al agree­ment on new EU frame­work for...
    On 20 Novem­ber 2018, ne­go­ti­at­ors for the European Par­lia­ment, the European Com­mis­sion and the Coun­cil reached a polit­ic­al agree­ment on a pro­posed new EU frame­work for screen­ing for­eign dir­ect in­vest­ment (FDI) which will al­low EU Mem­ber States to call for in­vest­ments.
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    Cur­rent is­sues - Sum­mer 2014
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    In a land­mark judg­ment, the Court of Ap­peal held that it has jur­is­dic­tion to hear an ap­peal by a pro­posed class rep­res­ent­at­ive against a re­fus­al by the Com­pet­i­tion Ap­peals Tribunal (CAT) to grant a Col­lect­ive Pro­ceed­ings Or­der (CPO).
    CMS Guide to Mer­ger Con­trol in Europe 2014
    The CMA ob­jects to MFN clauses between com­par­is­on site and home in­sur­ance...
    On 2 Novem­ber 2018, the UK Com­pet­i­tion and Mar­kets Au­thor­ity (CMA) an­nounced that it had is­sued a pro­vi­sion­al in­fringe­ment de­cision, to a price com­par­is­on web­site re­gard­ing clauses in cer­tain of its con­tracts with home in­sur­ance pro­viders.
    CMA re­search sug­gests fa­mili­ar­ity with com­pet­i­tion law re­mains low
    The Com­pet­i­tion and Mar­kets Au­thor­ity (CMA) has launched a car­tel aware­ness cam­paign, after com­mis­sion­ing re­search to meas­ure un­der­stand­ing and aware­ness of com­pet­i­tion law. The re­search covered 1,200 busi­nesses of all sizes and in all sec­tors in the UK, and.
    NCA res­ists first chal­lenge to Un­ex­plained Wealth Or­der
    The Na­tion­al Crime Agency (“NCA”) has suc­cess­fully res­isted an ap­plic­a­tion to dis­charge the first Un­ex­plained Wealth Or­der made against “Mrs A” in Feb­ru­ary 2018 (with Mrs A be­ing iden­ti­fied as Zamira Haji­yeva, fol­low­ing a suc­cess­ful chal­lenge of her an­onym­ity.