Antitrust and Trade Regulation
Chadbourne’s antitrust and trade regulation practice group provides clients with counseling and representation—both in and out of the litigation setting—to help them deal with the wide range of business and competition issues that companies face today. Our team of experienced lawyers is well versed in helping companies navigate the rules of competition in today’s business era. We can help clients avoid the problem areas and, if litigation is unavoidable, can respond effectively to protect them in the courtroom.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Antitrust advising, counseling and representation play a key role in many mergers and acquisitions. The resurgence of governmental attention to competition issues posed by proposed transactions has made it vital for companies engaged in this area to have informed and experienced antitrust counsel.
We regularly advise companies through all stages of the Hart-Scott-Rodino pre-merger notification process:
- preparing the notification report
- responding to “second requests” from the government for additional information
- coordinating the preparation with expert economists of “white papers” for the government to address competition issues
- negotiating the scope of antitrust investigations with the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission
- negotiating consent decrees
- defending against any litigation the government might bring to halt such transactions
We also have experience in dealing with foreign competition authorities who may become involved in proposed transactions that reach beyond U.S. borders.
Private Antitrust Litigation
Beyond M&A, private antitrust litigation can extend to almost any aspect of a company’s business. One such area is pricing, where we have represented companies against claims of price-fixing, predatory pricing, resale price maintenance and price discrimination under the Robinson-Patman Act. We have handled claims under the Sherman Act alleging illegal antitrust conspiracies, concerted refusals to deal and vertical restraints of trade. We have represented many clients in dealer termination litigation. We also have defended clients against claims raised under consumer protection statutes, alcoholic beverage control laws and other trade regulation statutes.
Other Governmental Investigations and Litigation
Companies can be subject to governmental antitrust investigations prior to, or even in the absence of, any formal litigation against them. They may be served with Civil Investigative Demands (CIDs) regarding their dealings with other companies whose activities are under scrutiny, or as a prelude to being named themselves as defendants in governmental litigation. Companies may become involved in proceedings that challenge their compliance with various competition, trade regulation and consumer protection laws.
Antitrust-Related Disputes Over Intellectual Property
Companies’ most valuable assets increasingly take the form of information that must be protected by intellectual property rights. That shift has been accompanied by the increased use of the antitrust laws as a tactic in battles to define how companies may properly compete with one another in the information age. By combining Chadbourne’s capabilities in the antitrust arena with its capabilities in the area of intellectual property, we are able to offer our clients comprehensive representation and counseling to protect them fully in this new environment.
Advising on Antitrust and Trade Regulation Issues
No less important than antitrust litigation is the valuable preventative role played by perceptive antitrust counseling. Proper counseling can help clients avoid situations likely to lead to litigation or government scrutiny and teach them how to properly structure the day-to-day conduct of their business toward that end. Guidance and counseling can often be crucial in the area of trade associations, which by their nature bring together members of the same industry in common efforts that may attract antitrust scrutiny. We are experienced in all of these areas, and have also provided counsel on antitrust issues to governmental bodies as well.
Our lawyers have counseled clients on antitrust and trade regulation matters in a wide range of industries, including tobacco, distilled spirits, wine, hardware, office products, pharmaceuticals, food, health and beauty aids, leisure products, music, motion pictures and television, medical devices, electronic security, photography, antibiotics, insurance, chemicals, retailing, ocean shipping and waste collection and disposal. Members of the antitrust and trade regulation practice group have lectured and published articles on antitrust topics, and one taught the basic antitrust course at Brooklyn Law School for four years as an adjunct professor.
Special Antitrust Counsel for Tender Offer
Companhia Vale do Rio Doce
$17.6 billion tender offer for Inco, a Canadian nickel company.
Sale of European Business Division
Newell Rubbermaid Inc.
Advice on antitrust and corporate matters in the sale of certain portions of a home décor business to a manufacturer and marketer of window treatments and furnishings.
Sale of Latin American Company
Sociedad Punta de Lobos S.A.
$480 million sale of Latin America's largest salt producer to a world-leading German supplier of fertilizers and salt products.
[ more representative experience ]