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Mark McCowan

Head of Competition

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Mark is a competition law and regulation expert and head of Corrs’ competition group.

Mark specialises in Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) merger clearance, cartel immunity processes, defending ACCC investigations and prosecutions, private competition disputes and managing major inquiries by economic regulators. He has a proven track record of securing merger clearances for difficult transactions and successfully defending novel regulatory claims.  

Mark’s clients are leading players across a range of industries, but he has particular expertise in relation to digital platforms and tech, oil and gas, retail, network infrastructure and healthcare.

Mark is recognised as a leading Australian competition law advisor by all major guides, including Chambers and Partners, Legal 500, Best Lawyers and Global Competition Review, and in 2020 he was named Competition, Trade and Regulation Partner of the Year at the Lawyers Weekly Partner of the Year Awards. He has extensive experience in multi-jurisdictional matters and worked earlier in his career in a leading antitrust practice in Washington DC.

Key deals

Google

Defending Google in the ‘location history’ proceedings commenced by the ACCC in the Federal Court, in which the regulator alleges that Google engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in relation to the collection, retention and use of consumers’ location data on Android phones and tablets. The litigation was the first matter to be tried worldwide concerning Google’s use of location data.

Google

Defending Google in Federal Court proceedings commenced by the ACCC which allege that Google misled Australian consumers to obtain their consent to expand the scope of personal information that Google could collect and combine about consumers’ internet activity, for use by Google, including for targeted advertising.

Wesfarmers

Advising Wesfarmers on the regulatory clearances for the sale of its K-Mart Tyre and Auto business to Continental AG and its acquisition of online marketplace Catch Group.

Refinitiv

Acting for Refinitiv in relation to the Australian regulatory clearances of its US$27 billion acquisition by the London Stock Exchange Group.

L3 Technologies

Acting for L3 Technologies in obtaining ACCC clearance for its US$34 billion merger-of-equals with Harris Corporation – at the time, the largest defence merger in history.

BP

Acting for BP to defend an ACCC prosecution of five petrol retailers and a data intermediary, in relation to the alleged anticompetitive effects of an industry price information sharing scheme. This litigation was an important test case regarding the application of Australian competition laws to price information sharing arrangements and was settled without penalties or admissions.

Acted for BP in obtaining unconditional ACCC clearance for its acquisition of Reliance Petroleum, in the disposal of its South Australian retail network and its proposed acquisition of Woolworths’ entire 530 site network, which was described by the ACCC Chairman as the most significant merger review of 2017.

Staples

Acting for Staples on the successful application for ACCC clearance of its global proposed acquisition of Office Depot (trading in Australia as OfficeMax).