Cleary Gottlieb’s antitrust group draws on more than 70 years of experience practicing antitrust law on both sides of the Atlantic, providing clients with unified strategy and advocacy. 

We offer clients a unique transatlantic perspective that is invaluable in today’s increasingly borderless business landscape. Our integrated, global team approach was built through a regular, decades-long, exchange of lawyers among our U.S., European and Asian offices.

Our antitrust lawyers work together seamlessly to provide clients with cutting-edge expertise in all areas of antitrust law, including:

  • Pre-merger notification and substantive defense of transactions;
  • Every type and stage of government investigation, including cartels;
  • Wide range of civil and criminal antitrust litigation;
  • State aid awards; and
  • General counseling, antitrust audits, and compliance programs.

Our team includes some of the most highly regarded lawyers in the field, including former senior officials from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition, as well as several lawyers who have worked at the European Courts in Luxembourg.

In recognition of our consistent and unmatched strength in this area, Cleary has been named “Antitrust Firm of the Year” by Chambers Global or Chambers USA five out of the last eight years, and we continue to be the only law firm ranked in the top tier in both the United States and Europe by Chambers Global (2011-2018). In addition, in 2017, Global Competition Review ranked Cleary as the only “Elite” law firm in the Washington, D.C. antitrust bar, and in 2018 and 2019 as the only firm with “Elite” antitrust practices in Brussels and Washington, D.C.

Notable Experience

  • Abbott Laboratories in its $25 billion acquisition of St. Jude Medical; finalist for Merger Control Matter of the Year (Americas) by Global Competition Review in 2017.

  • Alstom in its €15 billion combination with Siemens’ Mobility Business.

  • Air Liquide in its $13.4 billion acquisition of Airgas—creating the world’s largest supplier of industrial gases; finalist for Merger Control Matter of the Year (Americas) by Global Competition Review in 2017.

  • Chemours in a European Commission investigation into its collaborative arrangement with Honeywell to develop a new automotive refrigerant. After a six-year investigation, the EU Commission closed its proceeding without formal charges.

  • Citigroup in the successful closing of the European Commission’s antitrust investigation into credit default swaps; named Behavioural Matter of the Year (Agency—Europe), by Global Competition Review in 2016.

  • Dow Chemical in numerous transactions, including its $130 billion merger of equals with DuPont—the third-largest transaction of all time and one of the most challenging international antitrust transactions ever.

  • Essilor in its announced $49 billion acquisition of Luxottica, owner of Ray-Ban and Oakley.

  • GlaxoSmithKline in its multibillion, three-part transaction with Novartis involving its Consumer Healthcare, Vaccines and Oncology businesses; required approval in more than 20 jurisdictions. Named “Matter of the Year” by Global Competition Review in 2015.

  • Google in the $2.91 billion sale of Motorola Mobility’s mobile devices business to Lenovo and in previous acquisitions including Motorola, Admeld, AdMob and DoubleClick.

  • Hachette Livre and HarperCollins in the context of the European Commission’s investigation into “most-favored-nation” (MFN) clauses and Amazon’s e-book distribution deals with various publishers.

  • Huawei Technologies in a referral proceeding to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) originating from German litigation on standard essential patents before the Düsseldorf Regional Court against ZTE Corporation.

  • Johnson Controls in its merger with Tyco International, creating a combined firm with a market capitalization of over $40 billion.

  • “K” Line in cartel investigations by the U.S. DOJ and other antitrust authorities into possible price fixing in the car shipping industry, as well as in winning complete dismissal of related class actions brought by direct and indirect purchasers of ocean vehicle carrier services.

  • Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha and its subsidiary “K” Line America in winning dismissal of price fixing class actions brought by direct and indirect purchasers of ocean vehicle carrier services—a decision recently upheld by the Third Circuit.

  • Keurig in successfully defending its victory on appeal to the Second Circuit, which affirmed the denial of a motion for a preliminary injunction seeking to block the launch of Keurig’s flagship 2.0 coffee brewer.

  • Lafarge in its €40 billion merger of equals with Holcim, which created the world’s largest construction materials company; required approval in 20 jurisdictions. Named “Merger Control Matter of the Year (Europe)” by Global Competition Review in 2015.

  • Lagardère as intervenor in a successful appeal before the European Court of Justice concerning access to documents in a merger control proceeding concerning the acquisition of Vivendi Universal Publishing.

  • Molson Coors and MillerCoors in connection with AB InBev’s $100 billion acquisition of SABMiller and the related $12 billion acquisition by Molson Coors of SABMiller’s interest in their U.S. joint venture, MillerCoors, and the global Miller brand portfolio.

  • Numerous automotive parts suppliers in global cartel investigations by European Commission, U.S. DOJ and other antitrust authorities into possible price-fixing in the automotive parts industry, as well as advising Aisin Seiki, NSK, Omron and Valeo in numerous class action price-fixing cases.Won dismissal of Faurecia S.A. from the civil cases and denial of plaintiffs’ class certification motion in NSK bearings MDL.

  • Numerous major financial institutions, including Citigroup and HSBC, in investigations in the U.S., Europe and Asia regarding allegations of manipulation and collusion concerning Foreign Exchange (FX) trading, and LIBOR, ISDAFIX and other benchmark rates.

  • Sanofi US in winning summary judgment in a multibillion-dollar lawsuit challenging its loyalty discounts program—a decision upheld by the Third Circuit.

  • SES Astra before the EU General Court in winning the dismissal of appeals against the European Commission decision finding that the state measures at issue constituted unlawful and incompatible State aid.

  • Teladoc in winning a landmark preliminary injunction against the Texas Medical Board, preventing the implementation of a rule that effectively would have ended telehealth in Texas.

  • The Walt Disney Company (EU antitrust) and 21st Century Fox (U.S. antitrust) in Disney’s $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox after the spinoff of certain businesses

  • Western Digital in its approximately $17 billion acquisition of SanDisk, as well as its previous $4.8 billion acquisition of Hitachi’s hard disk drive business, both of which required approval in the U.S., EU, China and other jurisdictions.

  • Whirlpool and Embraco (a majority-owned subsidiary) in cartel litigation regarding the refrigeration compressor industry in the United States and elsewhere, including a successful Sixth Circuit appeal.

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