"Renowned practice with exceptional expertise in complex cases"
(Chambers 2019)

Plesner's EU and competition law team is a market leader, especially in relation to complex cases involving significant values. Our highly specialised team work with a conscious focus on genuine teamwork while constantly challenging conceptions, methods and analyses. The team comprises economists and former judges including Bo Vesterdorf, the former president of the General Court of the European Union.

The most experienced team in Denmark

We are a team of highly specialised partners, lawyers and economists with experience from previous employment with the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority, the Danish Public Prosecutor's Department, Danish and European Courts, the Ministry of Justice, the Danish Complaints Board for Public Procurement, the University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen Business School and the corporate sector, including companies such as Ørsted and Carlsberg.

Plesner's competition law team includes Bo Vesterdorf, the former president of the General Court of the European Union, who served for 18 years as judge, including 10 years (three consecutive terms) as President. As such, he has been instrumental in the development of EU competition law and EU law in general.

Strong economic expertise is a fundamental part of the team's success

Today, economics is a fully integrated and fundamental part of competition law, and economic theory and analysis constitute an important part of daily work in this area. Consequently, Plesner's competition law team includes a number of economists with the highly specialised and solid skills required to handle the complex economic approach of competition law practice. Experience has shown that the close interaction between the team's economists and lawyers creates outstanding value for the clients including the comprehensive strategic considerations surrounding, for instance, complex cartel cases and damages cases.  

The team is a market leader, especially in relation to the most complex cases

Plesner has been involved in most of the important cartel cases investigated by the Danish competition authorities and the majority of EU cartel cases involving Danish companies. Plesner is the only Danish law firm which has participated in both the European Commission's leniency and cartel settlement procedures.

We have experience from a significant number of the most important cases concerning abuse of a dominant position, including the largest ever abuse case in Denmark.

The team are involved in a number of significant competition law-related damages actions, including the largest ever cartel-related damages action in Denmark and the largest ever damages action in Denmark relating to abuse of a dominant position. The team are also involved in a number of cartel related damages actions abroad, including in the US, Canada, the UK and Germany.

The team have been involved in some of the most complicated merger control cases, including cases involving remedies in the form of divestitures, and have vast knowledge of all aspects of Danish and EU merger control. The team were involved in one of the largest ever private placements in Europe.

The team's experience from the Danish courts and from the Danish Public Prosecutor is important in criminal cases. Plesner has successfully defended clients in court against criminal charges by the Danish Public Prosecutor.

In addition, from his time at the General Court of the European Union, former judge Bo Vesterdorf has unique and extensive experience with international cartels (for example Polypropylene and Cartonboard), some of the most important abuse cases (for example Hilti, Magill and Microsoft) and merger control cases (for example Gencor, Airtours, and Tetra Laval).

Other areas of team experience include all types of agreements, state aid and compliance as important parts of the work.

Highlights

Cartels

  • Criminal law - ensured the acquittal before a Danish city court of a Danish wholesaler accused by the Public Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime of cartel activities (demand for fines as well as prison sentencing)  
  • Danfoss - defended Danfoss in the Refrigeration Compressors case. It was the first cartel case with joint dawn raids by EU, US and Brazilian authorities and one of the first cartel cases to be settled under the European Commission's new settlement procedure. Coordinated the criminal/administrative investigations in multiple foreign jurisdictions. Represented Danfoss in the largest ever cartel related damages case complex in Denmark and coordinated the defense in follow-on damages actions in multiple jurisdictionCRT cartel - represented an international home electronics manufacturer in a damages action related to the CRT cartel
  • DSV A/S - Air Cargo and freight forwarding cartel cases
  • KODA - representing the Danish collecting society KODA in the appeal of the European Commission's decision on alleged restrictive practises among the collecting societies before the General Court of the European Union (The CISAC case)
  • The local banks case - defended seven Danish banks in the Local Banks case. All serious allegations by the Danish Competition Authority and the Danish Competition Council against the seven banks as to cartel activities, agreements on market partitioning and price coordination were dismissed by the Danish Competition Appeals Tribunal
  • Dansk Rørindustri - represented Dansk Rørindustri in the Pre-insulated Pipes case, one of the first EU cartel cases involving a Danish company. The case established a number of important principles of EU competition law

Abuse

  • Ørsted - defended successfully Ørsted and Elsam in a number of complex court cases against the Danish competition authorities concerning the alleged excessive pricing on the electricity spot market in Denmark and in relation to the follow-on damages claims from more than 1.100 companies The case complex is the largest ever in Denmark
  • The Association of Danish Law Firms - advising the Association of Danish Law Firms in relation to complaint about Karnov for abuse of dominance through, inter alia, excessive pricing
  • Energy E2 - advised Energy E2 in relation to the Danish Competition Authority's investigation of Energy E2's pricing behavior. Energy E2 was acquitted of all allegations, and the General Director of the agency stated that it had been "one of the most extensive investigations we have had in modern time"
  • Predatory pricing - representation of a company in the financial sector in relation to a stand-alone damages action regarding alleged predatory pricing
  • Victor Hasselblad - defended the Swedish camera producer Victor Hasselblad in a European Commission investigation regarding Hasselblad's alleged refusals to license essential IP rights and bundling of products – similar to the Microsoft case. After several years of investigation, the complaints were rejected by the European Commission
  • Skandinavisk Motor Co (Semler) - representation in relation to a follow-on damages action relating to abuse of dominance on the spare parts market

Vertical agreements

  • Nissan Nordic Europe - representation in relation to complaint to the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority and stand-alone damages action regarding refusal of access to qualitative selective distribution system for after sale services
  • Diesel Motor Nordic - represents the company at the Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court regarding an alleged prevention of parallel import. The Danish Competition Authority, Dutch and Swedish competition authorities conducted coordinated dawn raids, and the Danish agency has described the case as "one of the longest-running investigations"
  • Levi's - successfully defended Levi's in court against criminal charges by the Danish Public Prosecutor. Levi's was charged with illegal resale price maintenance, but Levi's was correctly acquitted
  • Weber-Stephen Nordic- successfully defended Weber-Stephen Nordic in a case where the Danish Public Prosecutor investigated allegations from the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority that Weber-Stephen Nordic illegally tried to influence retailer's resale price
  • Weber-Stephen Nordic - competition law advice regarding implementation of a qualitative selective distribution system in the Nordic Region
  • Semler - represented successfully the importer of Audi in the European Court of Justice's Case C-125/05 Vulcan Silkeborg regarding the interpretation of the motor vehicle block exemption regulation

Mergers

  • EY International - assisting EY before the national court and the European Court of Justice in relation to the groundbreaking "gun-jumping-case" following  EY's acquisition of KPMG's Danish activities
  • The Danish Ministry of Finance and Ørsted - the Danish State’s sale of shares in DONG Energy (Ørsted) to Goldman Sachs, ATP and PFA, and the subsequent IPO, including state aid issues and the merger notification of both transactions to the EU Commission
  • Equinor Refining Norway (owned by the Norwegian state) - the acquisition of Danske Commodities notified to and cleared by the EU Commission
  • EY - assisted in the acquisition of KPMG Denmark. The merger was approved in phase II by the Danish Competition Council subject to commitments
  • Circle K (Statoil Fuel & Retail) - the acquisition of Dansk Shell, notified to and cleared in a phase II by the EU Commission and in the subsequent divestment sale of certain assets to DCC also cleared by the EU Commission
  • Telenor - the contemplated merger with Telia in Denmark notified to the EU Commission 
  • The Danish Ministry of Finance and Danish Ministry of Culture – the contemplated (partly) privatisation of TV2
  • Bonnier - assisting in the sale of 49.9 % of the shares in the media company Dagbladet Børsen to the media company JP/Politikens Hus
  • Nordic Capital - the sale of Unifeeder A/S to DP World notified to and cleared by the EU Commission
  • Ratos/Arcus - acquisition of Pernod Ricard Danmark A/S. The first decision by the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority cleared with commitments in phase I
  • A.P. Møller - Mærsk A/S - assisted in connection with the sale to DFDS of Norfolk Holdings, and A.P. Møller - Mærsk's acquisition of a minority shareholding in DFDS
  • Telenor - assisted in combining with Telia - the parties' radio access network to build the joint network involving the 2G, 3G and 4G (LTE) networks
  • Nordic Capital - assisted in the acquisition of the retail chain Sportmaster, the largest Danish retail chain in sports articles involving more than 40 formerly separate undertakings
  • Post Danmark A/S - assisted the national Danish postal operator with the EU merger notification of its merger with its Swedish counterpart, which included advice on commitments and trustee appointment

State aid

  • Ørsted - assisted the state-owned company with state aid advise in relation to the contribution by, inter alia, Goldman Sachs of capital in the company. The contribution was one of the largest ever in Europe
  • Sund & Bælt Holding - the construction of the Femern Belt Fixed Link
  • FIH Erhvervsbank A/S - assisted in relation to the agreement with Finansiel Stabilitet (the Danish State) relating to bank rescue scheme number 5 and the subsequent notification of this aid with the European Commission
  • Innovation Fund Denmark - assisted the largest state-owned foundation in Denmark, Innovation Fund Denmark, in creating a pragmatic and state aid compliant IPR frame-work for the foundation's funds to private companies and universities for the development of new and important technologies

Ratings

  • Plesner is and has continuously for many years been ranked as leading (first tier, band 1, elite category) by Chambers, Legal500 and Global Competition Review.
  • Renowned practice with exceptional expertise in complex cases related to abuse of dominance, damages and merger control. Acts on the full range of competition mandates, including cases with criminal aspects. Also noted for its experience in cartel cases and private placements. Clients gain access to the team's in-house economists, as well as lawyers with previous experience working in the Danish Competition & Consumer Authority. Recent work includes numerous cross-border merger filings and follow-on damages claims. Frequently engaged by financial institutions, government entities and utilities companies.

    "Extremely skilled lawyers who think strategically"

    "Very responsive and business-minded" (2019)
  • Within EU and competition, Plesner is a first tier firm.

    Plesner fields "a deep bench of good competition lawyers", with "plenty of experience". (2019)

  • "The best in competition law".

    Impressed by the team's commitment and endurance on lengthy and demanding cases - "they never ran out of steam and enjoyed it all along". (2018)
  • Within EU and competition, Plesner is a first tier firm.

    The three-partner department at Plesner is "among the best, if not the best" and handles the full array of competition law matters. It is praised for its "meticulous analysis of legal issues and understanding of complex facts". (2018)
  • Plesner is rated in the elite category.

    Plesners’s Danish competition practice enjoys an excellent reputation among its peers, largely thanks to practice head Gitte Holtsø and partner Christian Karhula Lauridsen. They work alongside partner Daniel Barry, senior consultant Bo Vesterdorf – a former judge of the European Court of Justice, who also consults for Herbert Smith Freehills in Brussels – nine associates and two economists. All together they provide competition advice to a range of high-profile international and domestic clients, and have worked on some of the largest and most complex competition cases in Denmark to date. (2018)
  • Renowned practice with exceptional expertise in complex cases related to abuse of dominance, damages and merger control. Acts on the full range of competition mandates, including cases with criminal aspects. Also noted for its experience in cartel cases and private placements. Clients benefit from the lawyers' previous experience working in the national and European courts, as well as the Danish Competition & Consumer Authority.

    "They know our issues and can anticipate our needs. They have so many capable people in different areas and always provide the right expertise. They are also available and responsive."

    "We use them when we feel we need specialist knowledge. They are very thorough and provide a high level of service." (2017)
  • Within EU and competition, Plesner is a first tier firm

    Plesner's "very good" team primarily handles cartel investigations, merger control, state aid and abuse of dominance matters. (2017)
  • "We are extremely satisfied. The lawyers are available, timely and responsive."
    "The follow-up on cases is good and structured, and there is good communication between partners. There has never been any delay in delivering."
    "We consider it to be one of the best full-service firms."
    (2016)
  • Within EU and competition, Plesner is a first tier firm.

    Plesner's "highly specialised and experienced" competition law group has "extensive knowledge" of a broad range of industry sectors. (2016)

  • Plesner is rated in the elite category.

    Practice head Gitte Holtsø and partner Christian Karhula Lauridsen at Plesner enjoy excellent reputations. The firm also benefits from the expertise of former Court of First Instance judge Bo Vesterdorf, who is senior counsel. Overall, the group boasts a range of legal experience from the authority, the Danish public prosecutor’s office and the European Commission. (2015)
  • Standout team advising on complex, high-value cases with multi-jurisdictional aspects. Covers a diverse range of competition and procurement issues, acting on mergers, cartel and abuse of dominance cases. The team offers specific expertise relating to proceedings before the Danish Complaints Board for Public Procurement. (2015)
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