Sophia A. VandergriftSpecial Counsel
Ms. Vandergrift joined the Firm in 2019 after seven years in the Mergers IV Division of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition. During her time at the FTC, she litigated multiple merger challenges in federal court, including playing leading roles on the trial teams that blocked the proposed mergers between Sysco and US Foods, Advocate Health Care and NorthShore University HealthSystem, and Wilhelmsen and Drew Marine. In the context of these litigations, Ms. Vandergrift liaised with state Attorneys General; drafted key litigation documents, such as briefs and motions; developed expert and rebuttal reports; conducted investigational hearings and depositions; and questioned expert and fact witnesses at deposition and trial.
While at the FTC, Ms. Vandergrift also served as the lead attorney on a variety of high-profile merger investigations, where her work included leading investigative strategy; drafting key investigatory documents, such as Second Requests, third-party subpoenas, and recommendation memoranda; and negotiating complex divestitures. This experience includes Republic National Distributing Company’s terminated merger with Breakthru Beverage Group, the consent agreement reached between the FTC and US Foods and Services Group of America, and Capella Healthcare’s terminated merger with Mercy Hot Springs.
During her time in government, Ms. Vandergrift also served in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the General Crimes Division.
Ms. Vandergrift regularly speaks and publishes on important antitrust issues.
Distinctions & Recognitions
- IFLR: “Rising Star” for Competition & Antitrust (2021)
- Euromoney Legal Media Group: Americas “Rising Star” in Antitrust and Competition (2020)
- Federal Trade Commission: Janet D. Steiger Award Recipient for contributions to the Sysco/US Foods litigation (2016) and Advocate/North Shore litigation (2017)
- Argos USA LLC, the U.S. subsidiary of Colombia-based Cementos Argos, S.A., a producer and seller of ready-mix concrete and cement, in favorably resolving a criminal antitrust investigation by the DOJ concerning alleged price-fixing and bid rigging in the ready-mix cement market;
- Guardant Health in connection with the FTC’s litigation over Illumina’s $8 billion acquisition of GRAIL;
- Amgen Inc. in its $1.9 billion acquisition of Five Prime Therapeutics, Inc.;
- Canadian Pacific Railways Limited (CP) in its $31 billion deal to acquire Kansas City Southern, defeating a competing bid by Canadian National. Sophie was part of the S&C team that successfully persuaded the Surface Transportation Board—an agency that oversees competition in the freight rail industry—to allow CP to use a voting trust, a key component of CP’s successful bid;
- Cornerstone Building Brands, Inc. in its $245 million acquisition of Windows Acquisition Co. from funds affiliated with CenterOak Partners;
- L3Harris Technologies, Inc. in the sale of its Military Training business to CAE Inc. for $1.05 billion;
- M&T Bank Corporation in its $7.6 billion merger with People’s United Financial, Inc.;
- Parkland Corporation in its acquisition of Conrad & Bischoff and its related companies; and
- Royal Philips in its acquisition of BioTelemetry.
- “Geographic Market Definition in Urban Hospital Mergers: Lessons from the Advocate-North Shore Litigation” – The Antitrust Source, 2017 (with Steven Tenn)
- “Effective Presentation of Expert Testimony for the Government in a Merger Litigation” – Antitrust Magazine, 2016 (with Stephen Mohr)
- “The GE/Honeywell Saga? A Comparative Approach Between U.S. and EU Merger Control Proceedings Almost 15 Years After” – 35 European Competition Law Review, 2014 (with Josselin Lucas)
- The Antitrust Division’s Stay Practice in Civil Litigation Paralleling Criminal Investigations is Good Policy” – Antitrust Magazine, 2013 (with Lee Berger)
- “Kimbrough, Spears, and Categorical Rejection: The Latest Additions to the Family of Federal Sentencing Policy Cases” – 88 Washington University Law Review 475, 2010