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Competition

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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    Competition 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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    17/03/2015
    CMS Com­pet­i­tion is­sues in M&A trans­ac­tions
    22/03/2019
    European Com­mis­sion launches on­line "eL­e­ni­ency" tool
    On 19 March 2019, the European Com­mis­sion an­nounced the launch of its new on­line tool to sub­mit state­ments and doc­u­ments in le­ni­ency and set­tle­ment pro­ceed­ings in car­tel and non-car­tel co­oper­a­tion cases.
    17/03/2015
    CMS Com­pet­i­tion ser­vices: Dawn raid re­sponse team
    21/03/2019
    Su­per­charged crim­in­al dis­clos­ure or­ders to ob­tain over­seas data will...
    The Crime (Over­seas Pro­duc­tion Or­ders) Act 2019 re­ceived Roy­al As­sent in Feb­ru­ary 2019. Its op­er­at­ive pro­vi­sions are not yet in force, but when they are, it will en­able UK au­thor­it­ies, without hav­ing to go through the cum­ber­some mu­tu­al leg­al as­sist­ance pro­cesses.
    Dr. Harald Kahlenberg
    17/03/2015
    CMS E-Guide to Mer­ger Con­trol
    15/03/2019
    EU law trumps na­tion­al law when de­term­in­ing the en­tity li­able for...
    On 14 March 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Uni­on (CJEU) pub­lished a ground-break­ing pre­lim­in­ary rul­ing in the case Skanska In­dus­tri­al Solu­tions and Oth­ers (Case C‑724/17), find­ing that the de­term­in­a­tion of who is li­able for dam­ages for an in­fringe­ment.
    05/09/2014
    State Aid in the en­ergy sec­tor
    Cur­rent is­sues - Sum­mer 2014
    13/03/2019
    Oil & Gas: Rem­edy gran­ted against agent for cor­rup­tion in win­ning...
    In HPOR Ser­vi­cos de Con­sultor­ia Ltda v Ocean Rig UDW Inc. and An­oth­er Com­pany [2018] EWHC 3451 (Comm), the Com­mer­cial Court was asked to deal with the con­sequences of, non-dis­clos­ure of, past cor­rup­tion by an agent in re­la­tion to sub­sequent con­tracts to act.
    23/06/2014
    CMS Guide to Mer­ger Con­trol in Europe 2014
    22/02/2019
    Shar­ing in­form­a­tion about com­pany valu­ations: the FCA is­sues its first...
    On 21 Feb­ru­ary 2019, the Fin­an­cial Con­duct Au­thor­ity (FCA) is­sued its first form­al de­cision us­ing its com­pet­i­tion en­force­ment powers since the FCA be­came a con­cur­rent com­pet­i­tion reg­u­lat­or in 2015, a de­cision which finds that three as­set man­age­ment firms breached.
    22/02/2019
    The FCA finds lim­ited is­sues in its Whole­sale In­sur­ance Brokers Mar­ket...
    On 20 Feb­ru­ary 2019, the Fin­an­cial Con­duct Au­thor­ity (FCA) pub­lished its fi­nal re­port clos­ing its mar­ket study in­to the whole­sale in­sur­ance brokers mar­ket, in an un­usu­al step which could largely be re­garded as a suc­cess for brokers giv­en the lim­ited cri­ti­cisms.
    20/02/2019
    European Par­lia­ment backs EU wide frame­work for screen­ing for­eign...
    On 14 Feb­ru­ary 2019, the European Par­lia­ment voted to en­dorse the first ever EU-wide tool for screen­ing for­eign dir­ect in­vest­ment (FDI) on the grounds of se­cur­ity and pub­lic or­der. The vote brings the EU one step closer to put­ting in place a frame­work al­low­ing.