S&C’s Antitrust Group took home two top recognitions at Global Competition Review’s 2021 GCR Awards. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ $60 billion merger-of-equals with Peugeot was named overall “Matter of the Year,” and the dismissal with prejudice of antitrust class actions brought against German automakers Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche was named “Litigation of the year – Cartel defence.”
The combination of FCA and Peugeot—which created the world’s fourth-largest automaker, Stellantis—is the largest completed European M&A transaction of the last year. Despite difficulties created by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing market fluctuations, the team obtained merger clearance in 22 jurisdictions and secured commitments from the European Commission without being issued a statement of objections. The deal closed ahead of schedule in January 2021. The antitrust and competition team advising FCA in this historic deal was led by Juan Rodriguez and Axel Beckmerhagen in London, and Steven Holley, Brad Smith and Eric Queen in New York.
In the “Litigation of the year – Cartel defence” matter, S&C obtained the dismissal with prejudice of U.S. multidistrict antitrust litigation filed by putative classes of consumers and car dealers against Audi AG, BMW AG and Volkswagen AG, and their American subsidiaries. The cases were brought in the wake of a European Commission investigation into the five leading German automakers, with the plaintiffs alleging that the defendants had engaged in numerous technological exchanges that limited competition to add innovative features to their vehicles. The S&C team was led by Sharon Nelles, Steven Holley, Suhana Han and Amanda Davidoff.
S&C’s antitrust lawyers were previously recognized by the GCR Awards for their work on T-Mobile’s acquisition of Sprint, which entailed a multi-billion dollar divestiture of assets to S&C client DISH Networks, in 2020; the Bayer/Monsanto merger in 2019; the Amazon/Whole Foods merger in 2018; and both the Teva/Allergan matter and the DG Comp trucks cartel settlement case in 2017. The GCR Awards recognize the best in antitrust enforcement, merger clearance, and cartel defense matters.
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