Antitrust and Competition
Our Antitrust and Competition Group works across our Brussels and Dublin offices and is widely recognised as being at the forefront of this practice area in Ireland.
First established over 30 years ago, our group has a track record for precedent-setting wins in both merger control and contentious competition law cases, including in litigation before the Irish Supreme Court and the European Courts. We also pioneered the use of competitive effects analysis and economic evidence and testimony.
Tier 1 for EU and Competition. ‘One of the top practices in the country without question. Great depth of coverage across cartels, abuse of dominance, mergers, regulatory and litigation matters.’The Legal 500, 2021
'Highly attentive to detail but very pragmatic, fabulous work ethic, stamina and great problem-solving ability. Work very well with in-house teams and are happy to lead commercial teams or liaise through in-house legal so are very respectful of internal legal teams and requirements.'The Legal 500, 2021
'In our view, the McCann FitzGerald group is the most commercial team in the Irish market covering this space.'The Legal 500, 2021
Esteemed offering with a strong reputation.. on complex EU and competition law matters.. merger control, State aid and telecoms-sector regulatory appeals. Offers insight into EC investigations through its Brussels office. Also handles substantial CCPC behavioural investigations.Chambers, 2021
One client values "the quality of the firm's advice" and the team's ability "to assimilate the fast-changing and complex business environment within which we operate."Chambers 2020
We advise on the full range of antitrust and competition matters, including merger clearance, “dominant firm" issues, cartel defence, state aid, sector regulation and EU law issues such as free movement, public procurement and customs.
Our clients include major multinational companies, state-owned operators, regulated utilities, small and medium enterprises and trade and representative associations. We also act for regulatory bodies, including the European Commission and the Commission for Communications Regulation, and for government departments.
We are the only Irish group to include lawyers with previous, high-level public enforcement experience at the Irish enforcement agency, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (the “CCPC”).
Our State aid practice has unmatched experience of advising the private sector and State entities on all aspects, substantive and procedural, of State aid notifications and investigations. We also advise on State aid law issues as they impact on the structuring of corporate transactions, capital raising and other commercial arrangements.
Our merger control practice is widely considered pre-eminent in Ireland having advised on most of the landmark effects-based merger decisions over the past five years (and on well over 100 deals in total). In a number of complex “3 to 2” deals we have secured clearance unconditionally, had several high-profile and industry transformation deals cleared at Phase 1, and never had a deal prohibited.
Cartels and Abuse of Dominance Issues
We act for clients in antitrust investigations by the CCPC and by the European Commission. We have unique experience in advising on immunity applications to CCPC under Irish immunity programme, including negotiation of a full immunity award with the Irish public prosecutor, the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the CCPC.
Key highlights include advising:
- Diageo Ireland on the compliance of its sales and distribution practices with Irish and EU competition law
- Doughty Hanson and TV3 management on the sale of the TV3 Group to Liberty Global and ITV plc on the sale of UTV Ireland to Liberty Global, each of which was subject to three separate regulatory approvals: the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
- Dublin City Council in securing European Commission State aid approval for support measures for the Waste-to-Energy plant at Poolbeg, Dublin
- ESB on a range of legal issues including State aid, merger control, competition law, and general regulatory advice, including advising in relation its innovative joint venture with Vodafone, SIRO
- Irish Government on EU law issues related to IAG’s recommended cash offer for Aer Lingus
- Topaz, on its acquisition of Esso Ireland’s combined import, wholesale and retail businesses, arguably the most complex deal to have ever been examined by Irish merger control authorities