Antitrust and Competition

LEADERS

Overview

Repeatedly recognized by Chambers and other publications as one of the top antitrust practices in the world, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher’s worldwide Antitrust and Competition Practice Group numbers over 150 lawyers located throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.  Our antitrust team includes former high-ranking officials from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the U.S. Solicitor General’s Office and the European Commission, as well as Fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers.  The practice group is seamlessly integrated with Gibson Dunn’s powerhouse class action and appellate litigation teams to enable the firm to handle any crisis, as well as a matter from inception all the way through the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Antitrust and Competition group handles leading-edge competition matters on U.S. and international competition issues, including:

  • Government review of mergers and acquisitions
  • Cartel investigations and the defense of cartel prosecutions
  • Class action treble damage litigation
  • Private antitrust litigation in the United States and Europe
  • Defense of private sector clients in antitrust actions before government authorities

Gibson Dunn’s merger clearance practice draws on its skilled competition law lawyers in the United States, Europe and Asia, using its deep experience with enforcement authorities throughout the world.  Gibson Dunn takes a highly proactive approach to merger clearance through early analysis of potential antitrust issues and engagement with regulators to efficiently obtain approval of the largest and most complex transactions.  In the past several years we have successfully assisted clients in securing clearance for transactions in a wide range of industries, including obtaining unconditional clearance for three transactions after second request investigations by the DOJ and FTC.

Described as maintaining “one of the world’s premiere cartel defence practices” (Global Competition Review), Gibson Dunn boasts a breadth of experience and deep bench of United States- and Europe-based practitioners that are unparalleled.  We have represented clients in over 100 cartel investigations conducted by the DOJ and competition authorities abroad, and have successfully secured full immunity for more than 50 U.S. and non-U.S. companies and their officers, directors and employees in roughly 20 countries on five continents.  It is our strong belief that no law firm in the world has defended as many corporate clients in cartel matters before the DOJ and the European Union or has successfully obtained non-prosecution protection on behalf of so many companies and individuals as Gibson Dunn.  For that reason, our firm is regularly sought out as the number one choice of counsel to represent, and coordinate the global defense of, companies that are the subject of cartel investigations by enforcement authorities around the globe, as well as to handle the follow-on private treble damage litigation.

No law firm has a more distinguished record of success than Gibson Dunn in handling high-stakes antitrust litigation.  For more than a quarter of a century Gibson Dunn has represented clients in antitrust cases in U.S. federal and state courts against the government and private parties.  These cases have frequently involved cutting-edge antitrust issues and the most challenging class actions.  Rare among antitrust practices, Gibson Dunn’s antitrust litigators are some of the most experienced courtroom lawyers in the United States, with a track record of success winning cases at trial and on appeal.  The firm has extensive experience taking complex antitrust and competition cases to trial and, in combination with one of the top appellate practices in the country, regularly represents our antitrust and competition clients in all levels of appellate courts.

Gibson Dunn’s European antitrust and competition lawyers are based in our Brussels, London, Munich and Paris offices.  They coordinate seamlessly with our U.S. practice to serve clients on all aspects of European Union and EU national competition law, including competition advocacy.

The cases handled by our firm involve disparate fact patterns across a range of industries, fora and postures, but they are linked by a common thread: They represent the most important and most challenging legal matters faced by the firm’s clients.  Our results demonstrate why the largest companies in the world call on us when the stakes are highest and when the path to success is most challenging.

EXPERIENCE & RECENT REPRESENTATIONS

  • Successfully represented Aetna in a novel challenge to a locally dominant health insurer’s exclusionary contracts.
  • Obtained complete dismissal and Ninth Circuit affirmance for Sanofi in a novel, multibillion-dollar antitrust-based False Claims Act case alleging anticompetitive exclusion of generic drug competition.
  • Obtained dismissal for DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. in a class action alleging that DreamWorks and other animation studios Pixar, Lucasfilm, Blue Sky Studios, ImageMovers, Sony Pictures Animation and Sony Pictures Imageworks violated federal and state antitrust laws when they allegedly entered into per se unlawful agreements not to solicit each other’s employees and to fix ranges of compensation for employees.  The Northern District of California granted defendants’ joint motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that plaintiffs’ claims were all time-barred.  The court agreed with defendants that the accrual rule – not the discovery rule – applies to antitrust claims.
  • Secured affirmance from the California Court of Appeal of the dismissal, also obtained by Gibson Dunn, of a putative class action seeking more than $6 billion in restitution from Time Warner Cable (TWC) for allegedly “forcing” Southern California pay TV subscribers to subsidize the cost of new television rights agreements with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Lakers.  Arguing that TWC and all other Southern California pay TV providers should offer these channels on an à la carte basis, plaintiffs claimed that requiring non-sports fans to pay for unwanted sports programming violated California’s Unfair Competition Law.  The Court of Appeal held that because TWC’s shifting of existing sports programming to new channels on the enhanced basic cable tier – even if accompanied by an alleged rate increase – was not a “fundamental change” to the service, federal law and regulations preempted plaintiffs’ claim.
  • Secured affirmance from a Florida District Court of Appeal of the summary judgment we won, two weeks before trial, for AkzoNobel in an antitrust conspiracy case seeking nearly $70 million in damages.  Plaintiffs, terminated distributors of yacht paint, alleged that AkzoNobel’s subsidiary, International Paint, terminated them pursuant to a vertical price-fixing conspiracy.  This case is one of the few ever litigated under the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Leegin decision, also a Gibson Dunn win, applying the rule of reason standard to alleged vertical price fixing.
  • Secured reversal, on behalf of BNSF Railway, of a district court order certifying a class of 30,000 rail shippers seeking many billions in damages in a price-fixing case.  Plaintiffs alleged that BNSF, along with three other major rail companies, conspired to use the fuel surcharges they each imposed in the wake of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to fix prices charged to customers between 2003 and 2008.  The D.C. Circuit granted defendants’ Rule 23(f) petition for interlocutory review, a first for the court of appeals since the rule was adopted in 1998.  The court then concluded that the plaintiffs’ damages model was faulty, vacated the decision, and remanded the matter to the district court.
  • Obtained a victory for Comcast Corporation when the U.S. Supreme Court reversed an order certifying a class of more than two million current and former Comcast subscribers, who alleged anticompetitive conduct on the company’s part but failed to establish that damages could be calculated on a classwide basis.
  • Secured dismissal in the Southern District of New York in a majority of claims filed against UBS AG and 15 other banks in three class actions and four individual actions that claimed unlawful manipulation and collusion in the process of setting the U.S. dollar LIBOR reference rate.
  • Represented Leegin Creative Leather Products in the U.S. Supreme Court in a landmark case overturning the century-old per se rule against resale price maintenance.  The Court overturned its 1911 Dr. Miles Medical Co. v. John D. Park & Sons, Inc. decision, pursuant to which vertical minimum resale price maintenance agreements were per se unlawful.  In Leegin, the Court held that agreements between a manufacturer and its retailers establishing minimum resale prices for the manufacturer’s goods should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis under the rule of reason.  The decision represented a fundamental change in the law relating to product distribution in the United States.
  • Intel in its $16.7 billion acquisition of chipmaker Altera.
  • Hewlett-Packard in its $3 billion acquisition of Aruba Networks.
  • Norbord in its $600 million acquisition of Ainsworth, which created the world’s largest manufacturer of oriented strandboard.
  • AT&T in its acquisition of DirecTV.
  • AECOM in its $6 billion acquisition of URS.
  • A joint venture creating the world’s largest shipping liner consortium, which required antitrust work in 22 jurisdictions.
  • Tenet Healthcare in its formation of an historic $2 billion joint venture resulting in the largest ever acquisition of outpatient surgery centers.
  • Tenet Healthcare in its $1.7 billion acquisition of Vanguard Health Systems.
  • Ameristar in its $2.8 billion sale to Pinnacle Entertainment.
  • Matson in its $500 million acquisition of Horizon.

Gibson Dunn frequently represents its clients in follow-on treble damage civil litigation spawned by government investigations.  Cases have included the following industries and areas:

  • Liquid crystal display
  • Cathode ray tubes
  • Dynamic random-access memory
  • Static random-access memory
  • London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR)
  • Freight forwarding
  • Hawaii-Guam cabotage
  • Urethane
  • Air cargo shipping services
  • Rubber chemicals

Across the European Union, we represent clients in a range of industries in cartel investigations by the EU and various Member States.  These include price-fixing investigations by the German Federal Cartel Office and Germany’s biggest resale price maintenance investigation in history, which covers the entire food and beverages sector.  The wide spectrum of client industries includes:

  • Technology, media and telecommunications (TMT)
  • Consumer goods
  • Display devices
  • Power cables
  • Engineering
  • Liner shipping

Gibson Dunn’s European antitrust and competition lawyers are based in our offices in Brussels, London, Munich and Paris.  They work closely with our leading U.S. antitrust and competition practice to service the firm’s clients on all aspects of European Union and EU national competition law, including competition advocacy.

Our Brussels office, which marked its 10-year anniversary in 2014, serves as the hub of the antitrust and competition group in Europe and, in close coordination with the firm’s other global offices, provides the excellence and distinctive added value sought by our clients.  Our offices have coordinated a number of large and successful representations of clients involved in international merger and joint venture transactions, cartel investigations, abusive behavior investigations and complex international distribution and licensing arrangements.  International corporations, industry associations and government agencies regularly turn to our lawyers for strategic advice and representation on sophisticated matters with a multinational dimension that require the particular insight, technical skills and knowledge of the complex Brussels decision-making process for which our team has become well known.

Clients also frequently come to us for advice on the EU issues affecting their strategic market interests or business models, and the team has a successful record of converting the most difficult competition regulatory challenges into opportunities.  Whether working on an innovative monopolization defense (“abuse of dominance” in the EU), a complex merger review, a sweeping cartel investigation, the development of a sophisticated pan-European sales channel or the exploration of the interfaces between antitrust rules and intellectual property or sector-specific regulation, we have an established record of adopting forward-looking approaches that allow our clients to make informed choices at each critical stage of the relevant procedure.

Recent representations include:

  • Representing ICOMP, a leading industry association dealing with online commerce and antitrust, data protection and intellectual property issues, including in a number of antitrust proceedings initiated by the European Commission concerning Google.  The Commission’s investigation of Google, of global importance and the most high-profile matter of 2015, is a landmark case for the application of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) in the Internet economy.
  • Defending EXSYM Corporation and its part-parent SWCC Showa Holdings Company, Ltd. in the European Commission’s investigation into price-fixing and market sharing in the high and ultra-high voltage power cables sector.
  • Representing a number of internationally renowned brand names on licensing and distribution arrangements in Europe, on the open EC consultations concerning the Technology Transfer Block Exemption Regulation (TTBER), the European Commission’s competition rules for the assessment of technology transfer agreements, digital agenda and compliance with the EU’s emerging policies on e-commerce.
  • Representing clients in a broad variety of sectors (such as energy, infrastructure, TMT and transport) in complex State aid and public procurement cases before the European Commission.
  • Representing some of the world’s leading players in the financial services sector in matters that include the LIBOR and credit default swaps (CDS) competition law investigations, major EU merger filings in the insurance sector and a national filing in Poland regarding local money lending.  In connection with these representations, the Brussels office has developed a very broad-ranging regulatory practice covering all aspects of the financial services sector that includes insurance, reinsurance, the regulation of CDS and the obligations of credit ratings agencies.
  • Providing advisory services to various energy sector stakeholders regarding all key aspects of the EU regulatory framework and State aids policy that apply to the sector, including the details of the 2nd & 3rd Energy Liberalization Package, Renewables, Emissions Trading System and Carbon Capture and Storage.
  • Handling numerous cases in the TMT sector, especially in relation to abusive practices, the development of regulatory policy, the representation of increasingly more clients in mergers falling under the EU Merger Regulation and national merger rules in complex cases, and the provision of advice relating to EU and Member State data protection rules.
  • Secured major settlements for telecommunications sector clients, notably Netia (Poland’s largest alternative fixed-line telecommunications operator) and Si.mobil (Slovenia’s second largest mobile operator) in two separate follow-on actions arising from actions brought under Article 102 TFEU for refusal to deal and predatory pricing/margin squeezing.
  • Successfully defended the specialist software manufacturer MathWorks in a complaint brought by a competitor under Article 102 TFEU for its alleged refusal to license.
  • Represented Chunghwa Picture Tubes, Ltd. in the European Commission’s European LCD, and TV & Computer Monitor Tubes investigations.
  • Representing numerous major companies in merger filings.
  • Acting as European competition counsel to MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A on the establishment of the biggest liner shipping cooperative arrangement in history, a long-term operational alliance on East-West trades called the 2M network.
  • Represented Schlumberger Limited, a global oilfield services provider, as antitrust counsel in a subsea joint venture with Cameron International, a major subsea equipment supplier.  Clearance was obtained in the United States (after a two-month DOJ investigation) and from Brazil’s antitrust authority (CADE), the European Commission and China’s MOFCOM.

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

Who’s Who Recognizes Six Gibson Dunn Partners as Thought Leaders in Competition

-February 6, 2018

Law360 Names Gibson Dunn Among its Competition 2017 Practice Groups of the Year

-January 23, 2018

2017 Year-End German Law Update

-January 7, 2018

The Beginning of the End, or the End of the Beginning? The General Court’s Ruling in the Coty Case

-December 18, 2017

Brexit – Initial deal agreed

-December 8, 2017

Recent Merger Challenge by California Attorney General Heralds Increased State AG Antitrust Enforcement During Trump Administration

-October 2, 2017

Anuario de Derecho de la Competencia 2017 (The Yearbook of Competition Law 2017)

-October 1, 2017

Culpa y Responsabilidad (Guilt and Responsibility)

-October 1, 2017

Anuario de Derecho de la Competencia 2017 (The Yearbook of Competition Law 2017)

-October 1, 2017

Will “Kokesh v. SEC” Put a Kink in the Federal Trade Commission’s Disgorgement Hose?

-July 12, 2017

Bidders Beware …? Recent Developments in the UK Public Takeover Market

-July 6, 2017

Webcast: Resale Price Maintenance Ten Years After Leegin

-June 28, 2017

Lexology Navigator – Cartels

-June 22, 2017

E-Commerce Distribution Policies under EU Antitrust Scrutiny

-June 20, 2017

What the UK Election Result Means for Brexit

-June 9, 2017

What the UK’s Snap General Election Means for Brexit

-April 21, 2017

2016 Mid-Year E-Discovery Update

-April 6, 2017

Webcast: Antitrust Merger Clearance: Strategies for Increasing Deal Certainty

-April 4, 2017

Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Potential Impact on the Development of Antitrust Law

-March 30, 2017

Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Potential Impact on the Development of Antitrust Law

-March 30, 2017

UK Government Triggers Article 50

-March 29, 2017

Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Potential Impact on the Development of Class Action Law

-March 13, 2017

Antitrust in China – 2016 Year in Review

-February 7, 2017

UK Supreme Court Rules Parliament Must Hold Vote on Article 50

-January 24, 2017

Webcast: Antitrust Agencies Issue Guidance for Human Resource Professionals on Employee Hiring and Compensation

-January 24, 2017

2016 Year-End German Law Update

-January 13, 2017

2016 Year-End United Kingdom White Collar Crime Update

-January 11, 2017

2016 Year-End Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update

-January 10, 2017

Antitrust in the Trump Administration

-December 6, 2016

Skating on Thin Ice: The European Commission Challenges the Governance Rules of an International Sports Association as Being Incompatible with European Antitrust Rules

-November 9, 2016

UK High Court Rules That Parliament Must Vote on Triggering Article 50 Process for Brexit

-November 3, 2016

Raising the EU Evidentiary Bar for the “Single and Continuous Infringement” Doctrine

-November 1, 2016

The Advent of 5G: Should Technological Evolution Lead To Regulatory Evolution?

-November 1, 2016

Antitrust Agencies Issue Guidance for Human Resource Professionals on Employee Hiring and Compensation

-October 26, 2016

Practical Advice for Avoiding Hub-and-Spoke Liability

-October 19, 2016

Brexit – UK Government Sets Out Process to Leave EU by 2019

-October 3, 2016

The Interrelationship Between Price Impact and Loss Causation After Halliburton I & II

-October 3, 2016

EU Merger Control in the Pharmaceutical Sector

-August 31, 2016

New EU Inspections to Introduce Competition in the Rail Sector

-August 19, 2016

2016 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update

-July 11, 2016

BREXIT – What Next? Key issues if you are doing business in or with the UK and the EU

-June 28, 2016

What Happens If the United Kingdom Votes to Leave the European Union?

-June 21, 2016

Contrôle des concentrations économiques

-June 1, 2016

2016 Antitrust Merger Enforcement Update and Outlook

-May 24, 2016

Civil Antitrust Litigation in China

-April 30, 2016

Webcast – Getting The Deal Done: Antitrust Merger Clearance Strategies in a Global Setting

-April 29, 2016

Immunity, Sanctions & Settlements – European Union

-April 20, 2016

2015 Year-End French Law Update

-February 24, 2016

Plaintiffs Face High Class Cert. Bar In Antitrust Cases

-February 8, 2016

Webcast – Challenges in Compliance and Corporate Governance – 2016

-January 20, 2016

2015 Year-End German Law Update

-January 8, 2016

2015 Year-End Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update

-January 7, 2016

Expanded Enforcement of Federal False Claims Act, RICO, and Antitrust Law Changes the Legal Landscape for Healthcare Providers

-December 31, 2015

Leniency Under the Hong Kong Competition Ordinance

-December 1, 2015

The Final Countdown Begins for Hong Kong’s Competition Regime: Time to Comply

-November 3, 2015

Rethinking Rebates Policy under EU Competition Law

-October 6, 2015

UK Consumer Rights Act 2015 Ushers in Class Action-Style Collective Proceedings Regime in the Competition Appeals Tribunal

-October 2, 2015

Dispelling the Perception that Legal Privilege impedes Antitrust Enforcement – The US Experience

-October 1, 2015

The Need to Establish Absent Class Member Standing in Antitrust Class Actions

-October 1, 2015

Si.mobil v. European Commission – Undermining the Effectiveness of EU Competition Law?

-October 1, 2015

FTC Antitrust Statement Offers Little Clarity

-August 20, 2015

European Commission Adopts Changes to Its Antitrust Procedural Rules to Harmonize with Damages Directive

-August 17, 2015

2015 Mid-Year E-Discovery Update

-July 15, 2015

2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update

-July 13, 2015

EU Merger Control in the Pharmaceutical Sector

-July 1, 2015

Policy Options for a Revised EU Access and Interconnection Regime

-June 30, 2015

The Federal Trade Commission’s Enforcement of Data Security Standards

-June 10, 2015

First EU Court Ruling on Cartel Settlement Procedures

-May 22, 2015

Commission discretion unchained

-March 17, 2015

2015 Antitrust Merger Enforcement Update and Outlook

-March 11, 2015

States must reassess regulatory boards

-March 4, 2015

2014 Year-End Transnational Litigation Update

-February 27, 2015

U.S. Department of State Releases List of Cuban Goods and Services Now Eligible for Importation

-February 25, 2015

U.S. Antitrust Agencies Signal Increased Requirements for Merger Remedies

-February 12, 2015

2014 Overview of Myanmar Sanctions

-January 26, 2015

2014 Year-End French Law Update

-January 23, 2015

2014 Year-End E-Discovery Update

-January 20, 2015

U.S. Department of the Treasury and Department of Commerce Issue Rules Implementing Changes in U.S. Policy on Cuba

-January 20, 2015

Under Debate

-January 20, 2015

2014 Year-End Sanctions Update

-January 15, 2015

2014 Year-End German Law Update

-January 9, 2015

2014 Year-End Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update

-January 8, 2015

Juncker’s “Last Chance Commission”: Key Policy Considerations Regarding the Newly Appointed European Commission

-January 7, 2015

President Obama Signs the Ukraine Freedom Support Act into Law, Authorizing New Sanctions on Russian Entities and Foreign Companies Conducting Business in Russia

-December 22, 2014

U.S. Government Takes First Step Toward Normalizing Relations with Cuba; Restores Diplomatic Ties and Eases Trade Sanctions

-December 18, 2014

Merger Control in Ireland

-December 16, 2014

New Swiss/EU Cooperation Agreement Creates Enhanced Enforcement Opportunities for Antitrust Regulators, but Leaves Uncertainty for Companies

-December 10, 2014

The EU Adopts the Damages Directive: The Emergence of an EU Level Playing Field in Private Antitrust Actions

-November 14, 2014

Recent Japanese Government Sanctions on Russia

-November 3, 2014

Human Rights Law and Competition Actions in Europe: The Delta Pekárny v Czech Republic Ruling

-October 23, 2014

The Greek Lignite case

-October 14, 2014

New Guidance on Domestic Effects of Foreign-to-Foreign Mergers in German Merger Control

-October 9, 2014

U.S. Treasury Department Imposes Additional Sanctions on Russian Entities in Financial Services and Energy Sectors in Response to the Evolving Ukraine Crisis; Expands List of Blocked Persons

-September 22, 2014

Justices to Weigh ‘State Action’ Antitrust Exemption

-September 11, 2014

Immunity, Sanctions & Settlements – Germany

-August 12, 2014

USD 100 Million to Stay on the Racing Track — Munich Court Shows That German Anti-Corruption Laws Have Teeth

-August 7, 2014

Bear Baiting – EU Sectoral Sanctions Against Russia

-August 6, 2014

The ECJ Confirms That “Public Undertakings” or Firms with “Special or Exclusive Rights” are Presumed to Be Acting Illegally: the Greek Lignite Case

-July 28, 2014

2014 Mid-Year French Law Update

-July 22, 2014

U.S. Treasury Department Sanctions Russian Entities in Financial Services and Energy Sectors in Response to Evolving Ukraine Crisis; Expands List of Blocked Persons

-July 21, 2014