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Mar 23, 2015

Antitrust Annual Report Examines Ever-Increasing Global Antitrust Scrutiny

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Antitrust scrutiny continues to intensify globally across the full spectrum of antitrust enforcement—merger control, dominance, cartel enforcement, criminal prosecutions, and other activities—according to Shearman & Sterling’s just-released 2015 Antitrust Annual Report.

“On the behavioral side, we have witnessed intense antitrust enforcement in 2014 together with elevated cooperation between the global agencies seeking to clamp down on anti-competitive conduct,” said one partner.

Added Beau Buffier, the practice’s New York-based co-leader, “While the focus has traditionally been on regulatory risks in the US and the EU, if there were any doubt, China is now just as much of a concern for many of our clients.“

The report also considers the much-awaited Intel judgment and its impact on the EU Advocate General’s opinion in Huawei Technologies, which for the first time allowed the court to analyze whether an action for infringement brought by an SEP holder against an undertaking that manufactures products in accordance with that standard constitutes an abuse of a dominant position.

On the deal side, Buffier notes that navigating transactions through the myriad of antitrust enforcers has become acutely more complex.

“We have experienced more intense scrutiny of mergers across a broad number of jurisdictions and with increasingly sophisticated theories of harm being investigated,” Buffier said. “And we continue to observe more collaboration and information-sharing among the different regulators involved in reviewing global transactions.“

Shearman & Sterling advised on many significant transactions (including several Phase 2 and second request inquiries), including approvals of Zillow’s acquisition of Trulia, Sun Pharmaceuticals’ acquisition of Ranbaxy, Huntsman’s acquisition of Rockwood’s Titanium Dioxide business and Albemarle’s acquisition of certain Rockwood assets.

“We have also seen a demonstrable increase in the number of settlements that have required an upfront divestiture buyer in both the EU and US,” one partner said. “This has significant timing consequences given that divestment will be a prerequisite for closing the principal transaction.”

Shearman & Sterling’s 2015 Antitrust Annual Review is the firm’s third annual edition.

Shearman & Sterling’s antitrust practice has over 50 lawyers globally and has been recognized by the leading competition publication, Global Competition Review, as one of only 20 “Global Elite” practices. The firm has extensive and cutting-edge experience in dealing with all aspects of US and EU antitrust law, covering complex mergers and acquisitions in the US, EU and other jurisdictions, joint ventures and other cooperation and alliance arrangements, unilateral conduct, antitrust/IP interface, cartel investigations, private litigation, antitrust compliance and counseling, state aid, sector inquiries and legislative reviews, and EU member state infringement cases.

View Shearman & Sterling's 2015 Antitrust Annual Report.