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Portrait ofBrian Sher

Brian Sher

Partner
Head of Antitrust, Competition and Trade

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
Cannon Place
78 Cannon Street
London
EC4N 6AF
United Kingdom
Languages English, French

Brian leads the UK Antitrust, Competition and Trade Team. He is an experienced and trusted competition law adviser, having practised exclusively in the field of EU, UK and international competition law and merger control for over 25 years. He is dual qualified: Solicitor, England and Wales and Advocaat, Dutch Brussels Bar (A-List). He works out of London and Brussels.

Brian’s was named one of the Top 10 Prominent UK Competition Law Lawyers Dominating 2023 (Business Today Lawyer Awards 2023). He led the CMS team that won Legal Business Awards Competition Team of the Year 2020. He has been described as “indefatigable in serving his clients” (Legal 500 Competition Litigation 2022) and “quite exceptional. He is an extremely good lawyer: clever, thoughtful, and he has good business and economic judgement." (Chambers and Partners UK: Competition Law - London 2022). He has long been ranked as a leading individual for competition law in Chambers and Partners and is ranked as a Global Leader in Who’s Who Legal.

Brian advises major international corporates on competition matters in their distribution, pricing, technology licensing and competitor collaboration arrangements. He has deep experience of investigations and inquiries, competition litigation and appeals, and is widely known for his abuse of dominance expertise. He has substantial UK and EU merger control experience, having obtained numerous clearances in Phase 1 and 2 proceedings, both unconditionally and with remedies. He also advises in related areas including foreign direct investment (both the UK National Security & Investment Act and international coordination), digital and utility regulation, EU state aid/UK subsidy control and consumer law. Brian‘s experience spans a wide range of industry sectors including technology and media, life sciences and healthcare, energy and infrastructure, transportation, manufacturing, consumer, retail and financial services.

Brian is co-chair of the Joint Working Party of Bars and Law Societies of the UK on Competition Law and a member of the steering committee of the CMS Global Antitrust, Competition and Trade practice. He gained two years‘ management consultancy experience and training prior to becoming a lawyer. 

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"Brian is a brilliant competition lawyer, he is immensely experienced, really a true quality person in competition law matters."

Chambers, EU and Competiton, 2023

"Brian Sher is outstanding. He has a real intellectual hunger to understand competition law and a work ethic which is second-to-none, clients appreciate his unhesitating devotion to their cause."

Legal 500 Competition Litigation, 2023

“Brian has really impressed me on the matter we have been working together on for 18 months. His knowledge of competition law and his ability to distil complex facts and provide pragmatic, risk-based advice to clients is impressive. He also commands loyalty from his team and provides an environment in which they can express their views and excel.”

Legal 500 United Kingdom: London, EU and Competition 2022

Relevant experience

  • A car manufacturer on the ongoing parallel European Commission and CMA investigations into end-of-life vehicles.
  • A TV production company on the CMA’s ongoing investigation into freelance/employed labour supporting TV content.
  • ParentPay/ESS, a leading educational technology provider, on a CMA abuse of dominance investigation (settled with novel commitments including an independent adjudication mechanism, 2023).
  • BT on its 50:50 joint venture with Warner Bros. Discovery to create a new sports offering for the UK and Ireland, combining BT Sport and Eurosport (CMA phase 1 clearance, 2022).
  • Octopus on its purchase of Bulb and defending associated judicial review proceedings in relation to alleged subsidy, 2022-2023. Appeal defence ongoing.
  • A Macquarie-led consortium on its purchase of 60% of National Grid (largest UK energy transaction in recent years; CMA, EUMR and NSIA clearances, 2022).
  • Cadent, the UK's largest owner of gas distribution networks, on the RIIO-2 gas distribution price control and its appeal to the CMA (successful on the majority of grounds appealed, 2021).
  • GlaxoSmithKline, the lead party, in the UK's first reverse patent settlement investigation and one of the OFT/CMA's longest and most high profile prohibitive competition law inquiries, and on its appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal and (unique) reference to the Court of Justice of the EU (40% reduction in fine and abuse of dominance fine overturned, novel issues at the IP/competition interface, 2021).
  • Cox Automotive and Auto Trader Plc on their joint venture to create Dealer Auction, a leading online auction company for the wholesale remarketing of vehicles (CMA phase 1 unconditional clearance despite high market shares) – for which CMS won Legal Business Awards Competition Team of the Year, 2020.
  • ParentPay, a leading schools payment software provider on its merger with leading management information systems provider Education Software Solutions (cleared unconditionally at phase 1 in 2021 despite significant market shares in adjacent markets).
  • A global pharmaceutical company in coordinating the defence and settlement through mediation of a multi-party competition damages civil claim.
  • A global pharmaceutical company defending abuse of dominance counterclaims in pan-European trademark infringement litigation.
  • Cox Automotive / sale of its online business to consumer vehicle platform Motors.co.uk to eBay.
  • Brookfield Renewable on its 50:50 JV with KKR to acquire leading independent solar platform X-Elio.
  • A consortium of investors on the acquisition of Electricity North West.
  • Alliance pharmaceuticals on the CMA prochlorperazine competition law investigation and appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
  • An investor in ground rents on the CMA leasehold consumer law investigation.
  • ThirdWay Interiors on the CMA investigation into design and fit-out of office space (settled with reduced fines).
  • Resolution Chemicals on the EU Lundbeck investigation.
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Memberships & Roles

  • Solicitor, England and Wales.
  • Advocaat, Dutch Brussels Bar (A-List).
  • Co-chair of the Joint Working Party of the Bars and Law Societies of the UK on Competition Law.
  • Steering Committee Member, Global Antitrust, Competition and Trade Group, CMS.
  • Member of the Law Society's European Group.
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Publications

  • GCR’s IP and Competition (inaugural chapter, with Magnus Wallsten, 2020).
  • International Skating Union General Court hearing: points of interest for the application of EU Competition Law, European Competition Law Review - September 2020.
  • EU excessive drug pricing: Competition law and regulation - Two ways to skin a cat: a paper presented at the ABA 2020 panel ‘Rising drug prices – is antitrust the cure?’, with John Markham.
  • GCR’s Antimonopoly and Unilateral Conduct in the UK (2017 to 2020) with Jacqueline Vallat.
  • The end of the beginning: The CMA’s conclusions on Online Platforms and Digital Advertising, CMS Law Now, with Jacqueline Vallat and Kabir Garyali - June 2020.
  • And the beat goes on…CMA continues crackdown on RPM in the music sector, CMS Law Now, with Shona Murphy -  July 2020.
  • CJEU strengthens suppliers of luxury goods – their third-party platform bans do not violate antitrust law, CMS Law Now, with Markus Schöner, Denis Schlimpert and Annemieke Hazelhoff - December 2017.
  • From the Courtroom to the Opinion: AG Wahl resets the standard for rebates in Intel - October 2016.
  • Keep Calm - Yes; Carry on - No!  A response to Whish on Intel, Journal of European Competition Law and Practice - April 2015.
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Lectures list

  • Annual visiting lecturer on the Kings College, London Competition LLM (in abuse of dominance and rebates) since 2000.
  • Originator and chair of the Informa Connect Pharmaceuticals and Competition Law conference, Brussels, now in its tenth year.
  • Reverse Patent Settlements and the GSK case, Law Society podcast, June 2020.
  • Review of CMA’s recent enforcement actions and market investigations, Informa’s UK Competition Law conference 2020.
  • Frequent chair and speaker at conferences and events in London, Brussels and North America, including IBA and ABA. Part of UK trade delegation to India, speaking on Competition Law, 2010.
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Education

  • 1990 - B.C.L., First Class, Merton College, Oxford University, Oxford.
  • 1989 - M.A. (Law), First Class, Merton College, Oxford University, Oxford.
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12/05/2022
10 key aspects of the revised EU competition law in the field of distribution...
The new Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER) and the new accompanying Vertical Guidelines (VGL) were published on 10 May 2022. The new VBER will enter into force on 1 June 2022 and apply for the next twelve years. The new VBER/VGL introduce sev

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UK merger control reform: significant expansion planned in the Digital...
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Current economic pressure impacting businesses and their supply chains, combined with more pressing demands for better ESG and innovation, are driving businesses to collaborate more closely. This includes...
25/04/2023
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CMS’ interactive Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer law regulatory...
Welcome to CMS’ interactive Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer law regulatory hub. Here you will find all of the resources you need on the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill and the UK’s regulatory landscape following the Government publication of its long-awaited Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill.
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Digital Markets Act/ Digital Markets Unit: key implications for businesses
The EU has led the way with the introduction of sector-specific regulation to address competition and wider issues with large online platforms designated as "gatekeepers".  The EU Digital Markets Act...