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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 is a highly technical area of EU law and has generated a wide range of evolving case law. Compliance with State aid rules is therefore an issue in any public intervention that involves State resources.

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    Law-Now: Com­pet­i­tion
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    15 April 2020
    CMS an­nounces 41 new part­ners in 2020 glob­al pro­mo­tions
    In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS is pleased to an­nounce the pro­mo­tion of 41 new part­ners glob­ally in 2020, span­ning 15 cit­ies across Europe, Lat­in Amer­ica and Africa. The UK ac­counts for just un­der half of glob­al pro­mo­tions with 18 new part­ners ap­poin­ted.
    08 April 2020
    CMS Ex­pert Guide to State Aid Dur­ing Coronavir­us Crisis
    Any busi­ness in the world could be af­fected by the coronavir­us (COV­ID-19) pan­dem­ic. For many, ur­gent meas­ures need to be taken to avoid ser­i­ous fin­an­cial con­sequences as a res­ult of these chal­len­ging and un­pre­ced­en­ted times. Against this back­drop, gov­ern­ments are in­tro­du­cing new meas­ures to provide dir­ect fin­an­cial and non-fin­an­cial sup­port to busi­nesses of all sizes. Any such meas­ures need to com­ply with EU State Aid law and many will re­quire ap­prov­al by the EU Com­mis­sion.
    03 June 2020
    COV­ID-19 – UKIPO re­views and ex­tends peri­od of ‘in­ter­rup­ted days’
    The UKIPO has re­viewed and again ex­ten­ded the so-called peri­od of ‘in­ter­rup­ted days’ which star­ted on 24 March 2020 to at least 22 June 2020. An ‘in­ter­rup­ted day’ is defined as “a day in which...
    30 July 2019
    CMS ad­vises Equitix and Kan­sai-led con­sor­ti­um on ac­quis­i­tion of 50% stake...
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    27 March 2020
    CMS Ex­pert Guide to Com­pet­i­tion Law Dur­ing Coronavir­us Crisis
    02 June 2020
    Mer­gers: European Com­mis­sion opens in-depth in­vest­ig­a­tion in­to Air Canada's...
    On 25 May 2020, the European Com­mis­sion de­cided to open an in-depth in­vest­ig­a­tion un­der the EU Mer­ger Reg­u­la­tion in­to the ac­quis­i­tion of Transat by Air Canada. The Com­mis­sion is con­cerned that the ac­quis­i­tion...
    September 2019
    CMS Com­pet­i­tion Con­tact Card
    26 March 2020
    CMS Ex­pert Guide to Sta­bil­isa­tion and Re­struc­tur­ing Ini­ti­at­ive
    29 May 2020
    The On­line Harms White Pa­per: can pro­gress be made dur­ing the COV­ID-19...
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    14 June 2019
    CMS ad­vises Gamesys on its £490 mil­lion stra­tegic com­bin­a­tion with JPJ...
    CMS ad­vises Gamesys on its £490 mil­lion stra­tegic com­bin­a­tion with JPJ Group plc to cre­ate world-class on­line gam­ing com­pany. Find out more.
    25 April 2018
    CMS Ex­pert Guide to Mer­ger Con­trol in Europe
    Find here an over­view of the main mer­ger con­trol rules at EU level and in all European coun­tries. The rules are ex­plained in each case by ref­er­ence to spe­cif­ic ques­tions.
    28 May 2020
    CMA launches in­vest­ig­a­tion in­to on­line re­views amidst in­creased on­line...
    As the UK comes to the end of its 10th week of lock­down, rad­ic­al change has taken place in the op­er­a­tion of daily life. The green shoots of post lock­down life are be­gin­ning to show, with shops set to...