Competition and Antitrust

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Confidence in competition

Governments and regulators in New Zealand have always taken a strong stance on anti-competitive business practices. The New Zealand Commerce Commission (NZCC) can often pose a barrier to firms seeking to pursue large mergers or acquisitions in the New Zealand market and these cases can be regulatory, commercial and procedural minefields. 

Businesses need a legal team who are across all of the issues and with a dynamic, multi-disciplinary team, we give our clients the confidence to achieve their strategic goals – and why they choose us.

Our competition team offers clients a strong commercial approach with a wealth of litigation expertise in competition and antitrust matters. We have represented major companies such as Fonterra, Pfizer, Qantas, and Westpac, and our team is independently ranked as the best in the country.

Working alongside our clients, our team responds to investigations and prosecutions by the NZCC, obtains clearances and authorisations of mergers, joint ventures and other behavioural arrangements and appeals of NZCC decisions.

Firms need lawyers with international experience to provide a global perspective essential for responding to complex, multi-jurisdictional behavioural investigations. Our team has significant experience in preparing merger filings and responding to behavioural (including cartel) investigations on behalf of international clients. We also work with counsel based in Australia, the US and Europe and with the most respected economic advisers in New Zealand and globally, to provide an effective cross-border legal service.

We act for clients across a variety of industry sectors, with specialist industry experience in financial services, transport, telecommunications, retail, food and agribusiness and health.

Our competition team is independently ranked as the best in New Zealand, ranked in the highest category by the Global Competition Review’s GCR 100 and Chambers Asia Pacific. We were the winners of the M&A International Global Awards 2016 ‘New Zealand Competition Law Firm of the Year’.

Our experience includes advising on:

  • Media merger: Fairfax and APN's merger of their print, radio and other publishing businesses. The merged business would own all the daily papers in New Zealand except one, and own New Zealand top 10 websites.
  • Anti-competitive behaviour: Kiwibank in its successful defence against allegations of anti-competitive behaviour in terminating the account of a money remittance provider due to AML risk, similar to cases brought against Barclays in the UK and Westpac in Australia.
  • Digital advertising exchange: Fairfax, APN, TVNZ and MediaWorks on the creation of a programmatic digital advertising exchange to compete with Google.
  • Global pharmaceutical merger: Pfizer and Allergan entered into an agreement to merge, the largest ever pharmaceutical transaction and the third largest transaction of all time. We advised, long-standing client, Pfizer in relation to the New Zealand competition implications of the acquisition. 
  • International transportation and logistics merger: FedEx reached an agreement to acquire TNT Express. We advised FedEx in relation to the New Zealand competition law implications of the acquisition and obtaining unconditional NZCC approval for the transaction. 
  • Trans-Tasman packaging merger: Pact Group on its acquisition of Viscount Pty from Linpac Group – the first merger to have reciprocal representation of Commissioners from the NZCC on the ACCC Division and vice versa.
  • International music merger: Vivendi, EMI and Citigroup Inc on the New Zealand elements of the contemplated sale of the EMI recorded music business to Universal. This was an internationally significant merger with a reported global value of US$4.1 billion.
  • Wholesale milk pricing, DIRA reform and Trading Among Farmers: Fonterra in relation to regulatory and competition issues arising from various inquiries into the wholesale milk price and a new regulatory regime regarding milk price, including in the context of the reform of New Zealand’s Dairy Industry Restructuring Act and the introduction of Fonterra's share trading scheme, 'Trading Among Farmers'.
  • Online auction acquisition: Fairfax Media on its acquisition and subsequent sell-down of online auction company Trade Me and Trade Me’s subsequent purchase of Autobase.
  • Poynter v Commerce Commission: Successfully overturning, in New Zealand's highest court, the Supreme Court, the decisions of the High Court and Court of Appeal relating to the extra-territorial application of the Commerce Act.
  • Commerce Commission v Visy Board: Advising in relation to the Commission’s successful appeal against a High Court decision striking out 16 of 25 causes of action by the Commission alleging cartel conduct on the packaging market, on jurisdictional grounds (Court of Appeal decision currently under appeal).
  • Air freight cartel: Qantas in an alleged freight cartel investigation, a significant international issue affecting airlines worldwide.
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