Merger clearance from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) often represents a key obstacle to corporate growth ambitions. The ACCC is taking a ’litigation ready’ approach to reviewing large mergers, using its compulsory information gathering powers more routinely and coordinating extensively with foreign agency reviews. Securing clearances for difficult transactions in that context requires a deep understanding of industry dynamics, sophisticated analysis, strong regulatory relationships and innovative strategic thinking.
Our approach involves working closely with clients to devise a clearance strategy that pre-empts potential issues, ensures we are in command of the key factual and economic issues, and carefully manages complex interactions with Australian foreign investment reviews, foreign agency reviews and other deal issues.
We work routinely with the competition/antitrust practices of leading international firms and multinational clients to provide seamless global service for cross-border transactions.
Advised BP on a range of mandates, including its proposed acquisition of Woolworths’ entire 527-site network of service stations and a network of development sites, as well as the establishment of a long-term convenience partnership and loyalty and rewards alliance. The ACCC Chairman described the deal as the most complex merger review of the year.
Acting on the ACCC clearance of Staples Inc.’s US$6.3 billion global acquisition of Office Depot, Inc (trading in Australia as OfficeMax). Involved a detailed five-month review in which the ACCC defined a market in which the merged firm’s market share exceeded 80%. Unconditional, phase one clearance for this highly contentious transaction was obtained. The transaction did not proceed after Staples failed in a bid to overturn an adverse US Federal Trade Commission decision.