Chambers and Legal500 recommend Magenta and Sylvain Justier in Competition law 

Antitrust

Today, the many changes to antitrust rules make them an unavoidable issue for businesses:

  • Increasingly stringent fines imposed by the competition authorities.
  • Negotiating or finding alternative solutions to the penalty procedure (leniency, settlement, commitments).
  • In some areas, the French competition authority has the power to issue injunctions without an established infringement.
  • Proliferation of private enforcement actions driven by European law.
  • Increasing influence of the economy on competition law. 

These changes make it more difficult to assess the potentially illegal aspects of certain behaviours, and at the same time they maximise the risk of penalties for those infringing the rules. They also reinforce the strategic aspect of disputes with the competition authorities.

Magenta provides its clients with legal and strategic advice in connection with anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position cases.

Our services include:

  • Analysing the legality of certain practices.
  • Implementing compliance programmes and simulating dawn raids.
  • Assisting with competition investigations and, if a dispute arises, acting as plaintiffs or as defendants before the national and European authorities and courts. 

Some of our recent assignments :

Assisting several companies in connection with competition investigations (dawn raids).

Assisting an international company in a cartel case before the competition authority.

Assisting and representing several companies in connection with actions regarding abuse of dominant position in the electronic communications sector.

Assisting and representing a maritime company in connection with a commitment procedure with the French competition authority.

Obtaining a partial annulment of a fine levied by the French competition authority.

Assisting and representing several companies as plaintiff and as defendant, in private enforcement actions (claims between €5 million and €70 million) in the telecoms, rail transport and pharmacy sectors.

 

Merger control

Magenta has a deep experience of the European and national rules on merger control. The firm can advise clients at every stage of their merger and acquisition operations, and in the creation of joint ventures, in particular, by:

  • Conducting a project feasibility study (determining the controllability of the operation at national and European level, analysing and anticipating any competition issues that may arise, identifying those which may require multi-filing etc.).
  • Filing the operation to the national or European competition authorities.
  • Assisting during the control procedure (competition analysis, negotiating potential commitments) until the final decision of the authority is obtained. 

Some of our recent assignments :

Assisting Lur Berri in connection with the change of control of Labeyrie (filing before the European Commission).

Assisting SPIE Informatique with the acquisition of the IT service company APX.

Assisting a telecom operator in connection with the acquisition of a B2C business in the broadband sector.

Assisting a telecom operator with the sale of assets to a non-controlled JV (non-notifiable operation). 

 

State aid

Issues regarding State aid may arise in relation to urgent sector plans, but also in the event that measures are implemented to safeguard one or more businesses, or to fund a service in the general economic interest. These issues also arise in connection with the funding of R&D or infrastructure development projects, which require public funding (European guidelines on the application of rules on State aid in connection with the rapid deployment of high-speed broadband communication networks, etc.), or even by means of preferential tax arrangements which can be granted to them.

Businesses should therefore take great care with schemes that will give them direct or indirect access to public funds, to avoid having to repay them if this finance turns out to be unlawful State aid.

Conversely, companies called to fund these measures, or which are affected on a competitive level, may be interested in challenging them (and to obtain a reimbursement of the contributions they have paid).

Magenta has full knowledge of these rules, and can advise clients who are seeking assurance that these schemes do not present any risk of being classified as State aid or, on the contrary, in cases where they want to challenge the legality of a measure that they consider to be unlawful. 

Some of our recent assignments :

Assisting a consortium in connection with the formation of a public-private partnership with a French public institution, which may have involved elements of State aid.

Administrative cases that enable multiple companies to obtain the reimbursement of tax classified as State aid. 

 

Restricitive practices

Although in principle, business negotiations are subject to the principle of free negotiation, business operators do not have total freedom. There are a number of safeguards: the invalidity of "most-favoured-nation clauses", abuse in cases of "significant imbalance between the parties' rights and obligations", etc.

Also, actions that seek to punish brutal, partial, or total breach of established business relationships are proliferating, as the termination of a relationship is conducive to such actions.

Magenta advises clients who are confronted with all of these issues, in particular by helping them to understand the validity of their agreements with regard to these rules, and to negotiate or conclude their contract in accordance with these provisions.

Magenta also handles a large volume of litigation cases in this area. 

Some of our recent assignments :

Assistance in drafting framework agreements and in implementing annual commercial policies (food, non-food, DIY and pharmaceuticals sectors, in particular).

Compliance audits to verify that distribution contracts meet these rules.

Assisting industrial clients with the assessment of a reasonable notice period required to terminate a business relationship, depending on the characteristics of the relationship in question.

Acting in a number of disputes related to the brutal breach of established business relationships, as plaintiffs or as defendants. 

 

Unfair competition and indemnity actions “Private Enforcement”

When clients are faced with issues of defamation, imitation, disparagement or parasitic behaviours or any other unfair conduct, Magenta advises them in the relevant jurisdiction, in order to have their rights respected or defend their interests, obtaining compensation for damages where applicable.

Magenta is also particularly attentive to developments in private enforcement (transposition of Directive 2014/104, access to the competition authorities' files, introduction of class actions by the Hamon Law, etc.), and intervenes in many disputes of this type, working alongside firms of economists.

Magenta lawyers have successfully assisted many businesses that have been impacted by anti-competitive practices, obtaining compensation totalling almost €40 million.

Some of our recent assignments :

Advising and acting for several companies as plaintiff or defendant in private enforcement actions (claims between €5 million and €70 million).

Assisting in a commercial case, acting for a business accused by one of its competitors of parasitical business practices and misuse of rights.

Successfully acting in a commercial case for a company that had been the victim of unfair competition as a result of disorganisation, poaching of employees and enticement of customers.