150301-CMA logoRegulatory approval for mergers and acquisitions can be a critical part of getting a deal done. Unanticipated competition problems can be particularly costly, both in terms of delaying the deal and facing unexpected divestments.

Good preparation can therefore pay substantial dividends, ideally starting at the point that merger candidates are screened. Competition risks need to be properly identified and evaluated to avoid costly mistakes.

Once a case is underway, it is especially important to focus effort, to draw together the best available evidence quickly and to make the right choices in how to present the case.

Understanding how the merger investigation process works is vital, as is deploying the right mix of skills at the right time. Integrating the business, economics and legal skills effectively can make a huge difference to the strength of a case.

For organisations that may be affected by someone else’s merger – perhaps as a customer or competitor – knowing if, when and how best to make representations also requires a detailed knowledge of the inquiry process and the role that third party evidence can play. Well-judged interventions can be influential. Misplaced interventions can be very counterproductive.

In recent cases I have helped clients:

  • analyse the competition effects of their merger, as well as the benefits to customers through efficiencies
  • pinpoint the best economic analysis and evidence to support their case and to respond to the ‘theories of harm’ identified by the CMA
  • understand the UK merger control  process and how best to engage with it
  • assess the chances of regulatory intervention, such as remedies or prohibition
  • focus their case and avoid common pitfalls by drawing on best practice from past mergers or market investigations
  • strengthen their case through critical challenge, by playing ‘Devil’s Advocate’ or by providing ‘a fresh pair of eyes’ when a case is referred to Phase 2
  • prepare and rehearse for key case meetings, including hearings with the CMA

Over the past 15 years I have been actively involved in most of the main mergers examined by the UK competition authorities, across all sectors. My most recent cases have included mergers in the following sectors:

  • NHS Foundation Trusts
  • Technology
  • Entertainment and leisure
  • Publishing
  • Retail
  • Pathology services

I regularly work alongside other professional advisers, either as part of a core team or  by providing expert input and challenge at key points.

I also offer focused briefings to company executives on key topics of interest as described on the ‘Briefings’ page.