Merger Control

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Our Brussels-based lawyers have extensive merger control experience at all levels of scale and complexity, both as advisors and as regulators. This includes successfully guiding deals to clearance through first and second phase reviews at both EU and national levels, negotiating commitments and managing referrals to and from the European Commission.

In addition to large-scale acquisitions and joint ventures, we regularly undertake multi-jurisdictional filing analyses in cases that do not trigger EU thresholds and manage any subsequent notifications.

Assessment of Notification Requirements

The type of transaction that qualifies as a notifiable ‘merger’ can differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Moreover, each jurisdiction will apply different notification thresholds and timetables for review. Our team works in close cooperation with colleagues in the U.S., as well as with our extensive network of reliable contacts in other countries, to develop and execute an appropriate notification strategy in a timely manner.

Substantive Assessment

Prior to notification, we will assess the likely complexity of merger control proceedings. In complex cases, this may involve working in close cooperation with external economists. Depending on the outcome of this assessment, we will provide practical guidance on adapting the transaction to avoid merger control or minimize delays.

Notification of the Transaction

We manage the entire notification process on behalf of our clients. Our lawyers appreciate the importance of a strong and effective relationship with the commercial teams in effectively navigating the merger control process. In some circumstances, cooperation with external IT providers is required in order to process large amounts of data in a very limited period of time. We have developed best-friend relationships with external providers to guarantee time and cost-efficient solutions in such cases.

We have managed and coordinated notifications and merger procedures in more than 40 jurisdictions worldwide, from Brazil to China and from Australia to the United States. Industries involved include air transport, agriculture, automotive, chemicals, energy, fast moving consumer goods, food, life sciences, media, medical devices, mining, paper, telecoms, tobacco, dredging, and steel.

Our considerable experience includes acting for interveners and third parties to whom information requests have been addressed. In this context, we understand the importance of identifying our clients’ interests and objective, and we have a great record of success in achieving desired outcomes.

Our Team

Our team of lawyers combines their thorough knowledge of competition law with skills acquired through their work for a broad range of industries. They are highly recommended in respected legal journals such as the Legal 500 EMEA and Chambers Europe.

Thomas De Meese “is praised by clients for being ‘straight to the point and giving very practical answers,’ as well as being ‘very responsive and business-oriented’.” Chambers Europe, 2021

“According to clients, Thomas De Meese combines ‘both legal and business knowledge with an excellent feeling for the sensitivities of our specific business’. He has a varied competition practice, advising on merger clearance, vertical integration, abuse of dominance and cartel investigations.” Chambers Europe, 2019

 “Thomas De Meese […]advised Liberty Global on its acquisition of De Vijver Media. Sources note his ‘responsiveness and hands-on, customer-friendly approach’.” Chambers Europe, 2016

“Jules Stuyck is a well-respected figure among market commentators, who note his long-standing presence in the Belgian competition sphere and his broad experience across aspects of competition and trade law.” Chambers Europe, 2020

“Respected academic Jules Stuyck is described by clients as ‘very thorough, easy to work with and adapts very well to changes in a litigation. His first-class strategic legal thinking is also an extremely precious asset’.” Chambers Europe, 2017

Representative Matters

  • Advised a global cable TV and telecommunications operator in relation to a Phase II EU clearance of its acquisition of a TV content provider involving complex behavioral remedies.
  • Advised a U.S. supplier of light-weight and specialty metals in relation to a $1.5 billion acquisition requiring EU clearance of a producer of specialist components for aerospace and other hi-performance applications.
  • Advised the same U.S. corporation in relation to an unrelated transaction, also in the light-weight metal components sector, requiring notification and clearance in various national jurisdictions.
  • Advised a leading U.S. telecommunications firm in relation to a $5 billion outsourcing transaction in the IT sector.
  • Obtained unconditional merger clearance from a national competition authority for a merger giving rise to a 90% market share.
  • Obtained structural remedies from the European Commission for an intervener in relation to a multi-billion dollar aerospace joint venture.
  • Obtained the amendment of remedies imposed by the Belgian Competition Authority following changed market circumstances.

View More

"New Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER) and Guidelines: What’s Changing for Distribution Relationships?" Crowell & Moring Webinar, 2022. (September 20, 2022). Speakers: Thomas De Meese and Marieke Van Nieuwenborgh.
Speech/Presentation
UK’s Competition Law Based Collective Action in the Crypto Space (August 30, 2022). Author: Peter Broadhurst.
Publications
"EU Institutions Reach Agreement on Foreign Subsidies Regulation," Antitrust Law Alert (July 20, 2022). Contacts: Karel Bourgeois, Vassilis Akritidis, Karl Stas, Flavie Van Maldegem
Client Alert/Newsletter
"Belgium to Introduce Foreign Direct Investment Screening Regime by 2023," Antitrust Law Alert (June 22, 2022). Contacts: Karel Bourgeois, Karl Stas, Julie van Hevele
Client Alert/Newsletter
"Revision of Horizontal Block Exemption Regulations and the Horizontal Cooperation Guidelines," Crowell & Moring Webinar, 2022. (June 9, 2022). Speakers: Thomas De Meese, Karel Bourgeois, and Karl Stas.
Speech/Presentation
"EU Commission Adopts New Rules for Distribution Agreements: What’s to Come for Distribution Relationships in the Digital Age?," Antitrust Law 'In The News' (May 18, 2022). Contacts: Thomas De Meese, Marieke Van Nieuwenborgh
Client Alert/Newsletter
"Digital Markets Act: EU Institutions Agree on New Rules to Curb the Power Of “Big Tech” Platforms," Antitrust Law Alert (May 17, 2022). Contacts: Thomas De Meese, Karl Stas, Yaël Rager
Client Alert/Newsletter
"EU Competition Authorities Respond to Ukraine Crisis: More Flexibility for State Aid and Cooperation Among Companies," Antitrust Law Alert (March 30, 2022). Contacts: Karel Bourgeois, Flavie Van Maldegem
Client Alert/Newsletter
"Adjusting Competition Policy To The Digital And Green Transition: The European Commission Publishes Draft New Rules For Cooperation Between Competitors," Antitrust Law Alert (March 24, 2022). Contacts: Thomas De Meese, Karl Stas, Flavie Van Maldegem
Client Alert/Newsletter
"Perspectives from the Belgian Competition Authority," Crowell & Moring Webinar, 2022. (March 23, 2022). Moderators: Thomas De Meese and Karel Bourgeois.
Speech/Presentation

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Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with offices in the United States, Europe, MENA, and Asia that represents clients in litigation and arbitration, regulatory and policy, and transactional and corporate matters. The firm is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation and government-facing matters, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

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