Russell McVeagh's Competition Team is regarded as pre-eminent in the field of competition and regulatory law in New Zealand. We offer a multi-disciplinary Competition practice combining commercial and litigation expertise, and are involved in New Zealand's leading competition law transactions and proceedings.
Our experience includes responding to investigations and prosecutions by New Zealand's Commerce Commission, obtaining clearances and authorisations of mergers, joint ventures and other behavioural arrangements and appeals of NZCC decisions.
The team also has significant experience in preparing merger filings and responding to behavioural (including cartel) investigations on behalf of international clients, working with counsel based in Australia, the US and Europe and with the most respected economic advisors in New Zealand and globally. Familiarity with both New Zealand and major international regimes allows the team to work effectively in a cross-border legal team environment.
Our team acts for clients across a variety of industry sectors, including financial services, aviation, telecommunications, retail, food & beverage and pharmaceuticals, among many others.
Our Competition team is independently ranked as the best in New Zealand
- Ranked as 'Elite' (the top category) by the Global Competition Review's GCR 100
- Ranked as 'Band 1' (the highest category) by Chambers Asia Pacific 2012
- Winners of the M&A International Global Awards 2013 New Zealand Competition Law Firm of the Year Award
- Winners of the ICFM 2012 End of Year Country Awards Best Competition Law Firm in New Zealand
- Sarah Keene is individually ranked as 'Band 1' by Chambers Asia Pacific 2012 and has been listed in The International Who's Who of Competition Lawyers and Economists for the last three years.
Recent examples of the Competition Team's work include:
- Trans-Tasman packaging merger: Pact Group on its acquisition of Viscount Pty Ltd 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, 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
- Refrigerator Compressors: Brazil-based Embraco (subsequently acquired by Whirlopool SA) in respect of an alleged refrigerator compressor cartel
- 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, called Trading Among Farmers.
- Online auction acquisition: Fairfax Media in its acquisition and subsequent partial 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 1986
- Commerce Commission v Visy Board: 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 in 2011; this is a significant international issue affecting airlines worldwide
- International hard disc drives merger: Seagate Technology, the world leader in hard disc drives and storage solutions, on the New Zealand aspects of its acquisition of certain assets of Samsung Electronics' hard drives business
- Joint venture for free-to-air broadcasting rights to the Rugby World Cup 2011: Acting for MediaWorks TV, TVNZ and Māori Television in relation to the joint acquisition of the free-to-air broadcast rights for the Rugby World Cup 2011 and the joint sale of sponsorship advertising packages
- Forestry acquisition: Hancock Natural Resources of the US in respect of their acquisitions of forestry assets in the central North Island of New Zealand from Carter Holt Harvey
- Pfizer in respect of the sale of their Consumer Healthcare business to Johnson & Johnson
- Gas insulated switchgear cartel: Schneider Electric in respect of the alleged cartel conduct in the supply of gas insulated switchgear
- Lion Nathan in their 3-2 bid to acquire Independent Liquor, a significant transaction (which for commercial reasons did not proceed), which required the NZCC to analyse liquor markets, including for the first time the market for RTDs
- Payment systems: Acting for Westpac in Commerce Act proceedings brought by the Commerce Commission and various retailers over credit card interchange fees (settled 2009)
- Qantas in respect of their strategic alliance with Air New Zealand, including the acquisition of a shareholding in Air New Zealand
- Todd Energy in a Commerce Act claim against Transpower and Powerco in relation to the effect of its transmission pricing methodology on distributed generation
- Fonterra on the acquisition of NZ Dairy Foods (from Rank Group)
- The Electricity Governance Board in its successful application to the Commerce Commission for an authorisation for the electricity industry rulebook.
Head of Practice Group