George S. Cary has decades of experience in sophisticated antitrust matters, representing companies on industry-transforming transactions and complex monopolization litigation.

He regularly guides clients through global mergers and acquisitions involving the most challenging regions and issues, and his diverse litigation docket features cases involving the application of antitrust to intellectual property and high-technology markets. Chambers and Partners has ranked George in its top tier of global antitrust lawyers every year for the last decade and Benchmark Litigation named him Antitrust Lawyer of the Year for three consecutive years (2016-2018).

Before joining the firm in 1998, George served as Deputy Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition (FTC), where he oversaw a record number of merger transactions. He was lead trial counsel for the FTC in its successful challenge of the Staples/Office Depot merger, considered the most significant merger case of the decade, and he was the recipient of the Brandeis Award, awarded to the FTC’s outstanding litigator. Prior to joining the FTC, George was an antitrust and litigation partner in a Los Angeles-based law firm.

Notable Experiences

Merger Clearance Highlights

  • T-Mobile US and Deutsche Telekom in T-Mobile US’s merger with Sprint Corporation for a total combined enterprise value of $146 billion.

  • The Dow Chemical Company in numerous transactions, including its $130 billion all-stock merger of equals with DuPont, one of the largest and most complex international antitrust transactions ever completed.

  • 21st Century Fox in The Walt Disney Company’s $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox after the spin-off of certain businesses.

  • Abbott Laboratories in its $25 billion acquisition of St. Jude Medical, involving antitrust clearance in more than a dozen jurisdictions.

  • GlaxoSmithKline in its three-part, multibillion-dollar transactions with Novartis involving the major restructuring of its Consumer Healthcare, Vaccines and Oncology businesses; named “Matter of the Year” by Global Competition Review in 2015.

  • Medtronic in its $49.9 billion acquisition of Covidien, which received global clearance less than six months after the deal’s announcement.

  • Western Digital in its $17 billion acquisition of SanDisk and in its previous $4.8 billion acquisition of Hitachi Global Storage Technology, in approval in the U.S., EU, China, and other jurisdictions.

  • Dollar Thrifty in its $2.3 billion acquisition by Hertz, as well as in the competing bids by Avis.

  • Deutsche Telekom in its proposed $39 billion sale of T-Mobile USA to AT&T.

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Antitrust Litigation Highlights

  • T-Mobile and Deutsche Telekom in the federal court trial brought by a coalition of state attorneys general challenging the merger of T-Mobile and Sprint, which resulted in a combined company with an enterprise value of $146 billion.

  • Sanofi US in defeating a multibillion-dollar monopolization case by a competitor challenging Sanofi’s loyalty discounts program.

  • Keurig Green Mountain in monopolization litigation brought by competitors and purported class action plaintiffs, including successfully defending against a preliminary injunction seeking to block the launch of Keurig’s 2.0 coffee brewer – a decision that was subsequently upheld by the Second Circuit.

  • Teladoc in winning a landmark preliminary injunction against the Texas Medical Board, in a case challenging the board’s actions to restrict competition.

  • Sabre Holdings in defending against litigation brought by American Airlines and US Airways challenging non-discrimination provisions in its agreement to distribute its flights and fares through Sabre’s computerized reservation system.

  • Gilead Sciences in winning dismissal on all counts of a purported class action alleging unfair competition and Affordable Care Act violations.

  • Travelocity in winning complete dismissal of a class action alleging an industry-wide conspiracy involving online pricing of hotel rooms.

  • Broadcom in appellate victory against Qualcomm in a first of its kind monopolization suit upholding application of antitrust principles to failure to license standard essential patents on fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms.

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Selected Activities

  • International Trade Advisory Commissioner, U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative
  • Member, California Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission (responsible for evaluating all nominees to the California state trial and appellate courts)


FTC & DOJ Propose Radical Changes to Merger Guidelines,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, July 24, 2023

Sweeping Changes to Premerger (HSR) Process in the United States Proposed by Enforcement Agencies,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, June 30, 2023

U.S. DOJ and FTC Announce Plan to Revamp Merger Guidelines,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, January 2022

The ‘Twenty-First Century Antitrust Act’ Raises the Risks of Doing Business in New York,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memorandum, June 2021

Fifth Circuit Upholds FTC’s Impax Decision in First Fully Litigated Post-Actavis Reverse Payment Decision,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memo, April 2021 

T-Mobile Sprint: Winning The Case The Experts Said Couldn’t Be Won Podcast, Episode 2The Deal, October 2020 

U.S. Agencies Publish Final Revised Vertical Merger Guidelines,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memo, July 2020

Avoiding or Defeating Potential Antitrust and Other Civil Suits Relating to Anti-Price Gouging Laws,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memo, June 2020

‘Exploitative’ Abuse of Dominance and “Price Gouging” in Times of Crisis,” Cleary Gottlieb Alert Memo, March 2020; republished by Concurrences, April 2020

“Mergers in China: An Overview of Leading Case Law” (Concurrences Competition Case Law Digest: A Synthesis of EU and National Leading Cases), September 2017; republished in September 2019

“The European Commission’s Flawed Understanding of Innovation Concerns,” Europäisches, deutsches und internationales Kartellrecht, Otto Schmidt, 2018

Concerted Action in Standard-Setting” (The Cambridge Handbook of Technical Standardization Law), December 2017

“Mergers in China: An Overview of Leading Case Law” (Concurrences e-Competitions Bulletin), December 2016

“Too Many Gatekeepers? The Costs of Globalized Merger Control” (Antitrust in Emerging and Developing Countries: Africa, Brazil, China, India, Mexico . . ., 2nd edition), June 2016

“Divergence Then and Now: What Does the U.S./EU Experience Tell Us About Convergence with MOFCOM” (William E. Kovacic: An Antitrust Tribute – Volume II), April 2014

“The Case for Antitrust Law to Police the Patent Holdup Problem in the Standard Setting” (Antitrust Law Journal), January 2012

“Antitrust Implications of Abuse of Standard-Setting” (George Mason Law Review), October 2007