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Mark McCowan

Head of Competition

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Mark specialises in competition and consumer protection law in transactional, litigious and advisory matters and across a wide range of industries.

Mark has expertise in handling major regulatory investigations and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) prosecutions in concentrated industries including oil and gas, brewing, grocery retailing, infrastructure and healthcare. He regularly represents clients in cartel immunity applications and investigations and in seeking other clearances and authorisations from the ACCC.

He has a track record of securing merger clearances for difficult transactions, has considerable experience in multi-jurisdictional matters and has worked in a leading antitrust practice in Washington DC.

Key deals

SABMiller

Acting for SABMiller to obtain ACCC clearance of the proposed US$104 billion acquisition of SABMiller plc by Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV. At the time, this was the third largest takeover in history. Mark has also acted for Anheuser-Busch InBev in relation to subsequent bolt-on acquisitions.

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.

Mark also 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).

Johnson & Johnson

Acting for Johnson & Johnson in obtaining ACCC clearance for its global acquisition of Pfizer's consumer healthcare business. The acquisition established Johnson & Johnson as the world’s largest consumer healthcare business.

Mark has also acted for Johnson & Johnson on a number of other acquisitions and disposals.