Competition, foreign investment and subsidy control

Competition/antitrust law and foreign investment regimes impact how businesses trade, their terms with consumers, mergers and acquisitions. Subsidy control law governs how taxpayer’s money are used to support businesses.

Competition law impacts on all areas of the economy and the regulatory environment is becoming increasingly complex. Merger control and foreign investment rules can impact on many types of corporate transaction, including joint ventures, and some transactions will require clearance before they can be implemented. Some regulatory authorities also have the power to call in transactions for investigation. 

We assist you by advising on whether your transaction will trigger any filing requirements and, if so, we work with you to formulate the most appropriate strategy for achieving clearances. 

Breaches of competition rules can lead to the imposition of significant fines, criminal sanctions, director disqualification, bad publicity and take up inordinate amounts of management time that can be better spent elsewhere. We work with you to achieve your business goals within the rules. 

Our lawyers

We advise on:

  • How competition law applies to agreements, commercial agreements and trading practices
  • Merger control
  • Foreign investment rules; the National Security and Investment Act 2021
  • Compliance programs and training
  • Fair consumer terms
  • Market studies and investigations
  • Cartel / anti-trust investigations
  • Dawn raids
  • Private Healthcare Market Investigation Order
  • Subsidy control

Our experience

  • We have advised a leading UK higher education provider on the merger control strategy of its acquisition of a similar but smaller provider, including drafting responses ready for any CMA enquiry. 
  • We are advising another UK university on the legality of a restrictive covenant in its agreement with a student residence developer, particularly the enforceability of an accommodation demand test. 
  • We have worked with a major private hospital operator to ensure three new joint ventures with referring clinicians comply with the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) Private Healthcare Market Investigation Order.
  • We have helped a national financial services client run a mock CMA dawn raid to check and approve its response procedures.
  • We have advised a regional funeral director with its responses and contributions to the CMA’s market investigation into the funeral market.
  • We have advised a major care homes provider on its terms of business with clients following the CMA’s market study in that sector. 
  • We have worked with the British Council on the State aid and competition issues arising from its status and funding.
  • Our subsidy control and State aid advice has assisted a number of clients to produce successful, subsidy control compliant, ERDF / Local Growth Fund / Research Partnership Investment Fund grant and loan applications.
  • We have advised a Local Enterprise Partnership client on the State aid compliance of a £15 million grant application for a sports innovation campus.

Our clients

We have worked with a wide range of clients on the impact of competition law, including;

  • UK and overseas private companies
  • NHS trusts
  • Universities
  • Local enterprise partnerships
  • Central UK government departments
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