Tuesday, 29 October 2019, Brussels, Belgium

E-mail Tel: +44 20 3780 4183

Chairs

Philippe Chappatte

Slaughter and May, London and Brussels

Philippe is Head of the Competition Group at Slaughter and May. He is responsible for the running and development of the firm’s global competition practice, including through the Beijing and Hong Kong offices and 'best friend' firms.

Ilene Knable Gotts

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, New York

Ilene Knable Gotts is a partner in the New York City law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, where she focuses on antitrust matters, particularly relating to mergers and acquisitions.

Programme

 8.30: Welcome coffee and registration

9:00: Chairs’ morning welcome

Philippe Chappatte, Slaughter and May, London and Brussels
Ilene Knable Gotts, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, New York

9:15: Enforcers’ roundtable

An international panel of enforcers will explore global perspectives on merger control enforcement.

10:25: Coffee break

10:50: Horizontal mergers

Already, 2019 has seen a number of high profile prohibitions or challenges of mergers between competitors.  From the EC’s prohibition of Siemens/Alstom and the ensuing politically-charged debate, to the CMA’s controversial decision in Sainsburys/Asda, to the FTC’s challenge of Tronox/Cristal, these decisions have engendered extensive discussion.  We will hear from those on the inside what went wrong for these deals, and what this might mean for future tie-ups of competitors.

12:00: Networking lunch

13:00: Non-horizontal mergers

Vertical mergers are currently in the spotlight.  In the US, the DOJ’s unsuccessful appeal in AT&T/Time Warner may lead the FTC and DOJ to revise the guidelines on vertical mergers, whilst Staples/Essendant and Fresenius/NxStage Medical suggested significant partisan divergence within the FTC as to how to approach such mergers.  Vertical theories of harm are also under the microscope in the CMA’s review of Thermo Fisher/Gatan.  The panel will share their views on these cases, and discuss the degree to which vertical mergers may be considered harmful to competition.

14:10: Coffee break

14:35: Digital mergers

These days, digital mergers give rise to a panoply of questions.  What should be done about so-called “killer acquisitions”?  What is the relevance of “big data”?  Is the existing merger control toolkit fit for purpose?  It is no surprise that we have seen a number of expert reports on this topic since the start of the year, including the Furman Review in the UK and the report from Vestager’s special advisers in the EU.  The panel will discuss whether digital mergers deserve special attention, and how best to address the key issues arising in this space.  

15:45: Back to the future? Trending (non-digital) theories in merger control

There is no shortage of trending theories in non-digital mergers.  Innovation theories of harm seem to be here to stay; common ownership is increasingly under scrutiny; and it is not possible to ignore the “national champion” debate that has unfurled in the wake of Siemens/Alstom.  But are these really new theories, or is this a case of “back to the future”?

16:55: Chairs’ closing remarks

Philippe Chappatte, Slaughter and May, London and Brussels
Ilene Knable Gotts, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, New York

17.00: Close of conference

Brussels