Liedekerke’s Competition/EU Law team provides deep expertise in the full spectrum of competition law. Our practice offers an unrivalled combination of both significant former in-house antitrust counsel and regulator expertise. The team is also highly specialised in both EU law and the Belgian foreign direct investment screening regime.

In every contemplated transaction, minimising the impact of merger control review periods on your transactional timeline is of key importance in order to ensure a smooth and timely path towards closing.

Equally, knowledge and abidance by competition law are crucial to prevent breaches of competition law, which can result in serious consequences for undertakings such as hefty fines and reputational damage.

Nowadays, it is paramount more than ever, to be able to count on a solid legal partner to support and provide guidance to your business in addressing the challenges resulting from competition law.

Our team has the breadth of expertise and knowledge to appreciate clients’ interests and sector-specific issues and to guide them through the most complex matters. We help businesses navigate the rapidly- evolving competition regulation landscape, respond to challenges and anticipate potential hurdles before they arise.

Our services

The Liedekerke Competition/EU Law team represents clients before the Belgian Competition Authority, European Commission and Belgian and EU Courts.

We have been involved in major merger control cases at the Belgian and European levels as well as in the majority of antitrust cases that have been handled by the Belgian Competition Authority, some of which having led to ground-breaking case law. For cross-border assignments, we work on a daily basis with top-tier foreign law firms.

We are also highly specialised in EU law. Our team has vast experience in advising and representing national and EU public administrations, including in litigation before EU Courts.

Finally, we help clients to successfully navigate through the Belgian foreign direct investment screening regime.

Merger Control
  • Wide-ranging experience of notifying mergers to the European Commission/Belgian Competition Authority

  • Multi-jurisdictional mandates via the unmatched Lex Mundi global network

  • Advice to third parties who are consulted by the European Commission/Belgian Competition Authority or who wish to oppose potential mergers

Dawn Raids
  • On-the-spot assistance at dawn raids to fully protect your company’s rights (up to 20 trained lawyers)

  • Development of dawn raid response manuals and procedures (for reception, staff, IT etc.)

Cartel Investigations
  • Assistance at all stages, from the handling of the cartel investigation to court representation for subsequent follow-on litigation

  • Securing of full immunity/leniency

Compliance Programmes and Audits
  • Development and rolling out of tailored and effective compliance programmes to help management/staff to understand the importance of competition compliance and to avoid potential infringements

  • Detection and prevention of competition law breaches through targeted audits

Compliance Counselling
  • Strategic and commercially driven advice on distribution agreements, horizontal agreements, information exchange, trade association activities, JVs, etc., to help your company to stay on the right side of the law

State aid
  • Preparation of State Aid notifications

  • Advice on deal structure to reduce exposure

  • State aid-related disputes

Public Procurement
  • Assisting European institutions and agencies before the General Court and the Court of Justice of the EU with their defence against applications for annulment and requests for interim orders in the field of public procurement

Regulatory
  • Assisting companies and European agencies with various regulatory issues

IP and Commercial Practices
  • Litigation in Belgian courts and regular preliminary references to the European Court of Justice

Foreign Direct Investment Screening
  • Assisting clients in filing transactions under the Belgian Foreign Direct Investment Screening regime

Our Relevant Experience

  • Representing AG Insurance before the Belgian Competition Authority in the context of its acquisition of Touring

  • Representing Kiwa before the Belgian Competition Authority in the context of its acquisition of Vinçotte

  • Representing the producer of para-pharmaceutical products Caudalie before the Brussels Market Court and in the ensuing proceedings before the Competition College of the Belgian Competition Authority in a case of alleged vertical restrictions

  • Assisting DOMO in the context of its acquisition of Solvay’s EEA polyamide business following a divestment imposed by the European Commission, including purchaser approval and merger clearance

  • Representing BNP Paribas Fortis and AG Insurance before the European Commission on their acquisition of joint control over Optimile

  • Representing manufacturers of pigeon clocking systems in a successful interim measures procedure before the Belgian Competition Authority against the Belgian Colombophile Federation KBDB/RFCB

  • Assisting Brussels Airlines in the context of its EUR 290 million State aid application to address the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Avoiding a fine for Brussels Airlines, despite the fact that the Belgian Competition Authority ruled that a Commercial Service Agreement with Thomas Cook Belgium had infringed Article 101 TFEU

  • Defending Belmedis, an affiliate of Welcoop, in a cartel investigation following the most high-profile merger control proceeding before the Belgian Competition Authority

  • Assisting Philip Morris Benelux, together with Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, in its appeal before the Brussels Market Court against the decision of the Belgian Competition Authority to impose a fine on cigarette manufacturers for alleged exchange of confidential information regarding wholesale and resale prices on the Belgian Market

  • Assisting IQVIA, formerly IMSHealth, as Defendant in summary proceedings (co-Defendant with pharmaceutical company Servier) before the President of the Dutch- speaking Brussels Enterprise Court in a case related to parallel import of medical products

  • Assisting ABB Industrial Solutions Belgium in proceedings interim measures before the Belgian Competition Authority, on the basis of an alleged abuse of dominant position for imposing excessively high prices on downstream competitors

  • Defending Facebook in proceedings brought before the Belgian Courts, in summary proceedings and on the merits, by the Belgian Privacy Commission and before the Court of Justice of the European Union in preliminary rulings proceedings

  • Acting on behalf of the Single Resolution Board in several litigation cases before the Courts of the Union

  • Acting on behalf of the European Chemicals Agency in several litigations before the Courts of the Union

  • Acting on behalf of the European Food Safety Authority before the Courts of the Union

  • Defending Uber in all litigation before the Belgian Courts regarding Uber POP and Uber X

  • Assisting Uber in claims before the Belgian Courts and tribunals regarding rides in the Brussels Region area

  • Defending Provera in an investigation with dawn raid by the Belgian Competition Authority for a joint purchase agreement with Carrefour Belgium

  • Representing Mwingz, a joint venture between Proximus and Orange Belgium, in an investigation by the Belgian Competition Authority

  • Filing of a complaint for abuse of dominant position against a Polish multinational undertaking in the oil industry

  • Defending a telecommunication operator in a private enforcement litigation against a network supplier before the Belgian Court

  • Representing a manufacturer of pharmaceutical products in a complaint for abuse of dominance before the Belgian Competition Authority

  • Representing sports-industry clients in cases of competition law: jumping events, football

Awards & Recognition

“The lawyers are able to understand and translate highly complex technical matters into a language that normal people understand, which is an art in itself.”

"The lawyers are flexible, they reply swiftly and they are available. We really feel they care about us as a client.

Stefaan Raes has a background as a judge and working for the BCA, so he has been around the block and has a solution-focused approach. He knows exactly how to manoeuvre between the authorities involved, the courts and even the political aspects of cases," says one source. "He was in the competition authority and really knows the ins and outs of how it works. "

Chambers Europe, Competition, 2022, Band 3

“Vincent Mussche is a true star of competition law, he is always available and ready to react quickly by advising the best strategy to follow.”

The team is “hands-on, very knowledgeable about the subject matter, creative, solutions-oriented, seeing the big picture.’”

Legal 500, Competition, 2022, Tier 2

“Highly recommended” ranking

Global Competition Review, 2022 GCR 100

Vincent Mussche is ranked in the Future Leaders – Partners category

Who's Who Legal, Competition, Future Leaders – Partners, 2022
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