Antitrust & Foreign Investment Partner, Brussels
“I combine longstanding expertise in highly technical areas of law with an international perspective to help overcome clients’ legal challenges.”
Education and qualifications
Bernd is a senior European competition lawyer, advising major national and international corporates, banks and institutions on all areas of competition and foreign direct investment laws, principally merger and anti-cartel related proceedings before the European Commission and national authorities, as well as unilateral conduct and state aid matters. He often coordinates merger control and foreign direct investment proceedings worldwide on global transactions. He has acted in a wide range of regulators in and outside Europe and conducted proceedings in English, French, German and Dutch.
Bernd is an experienced litigator and has represented clients in more than hundred cases before the General Court and the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Bernd co-heads the firm’s global automotive sector team and is a professor for competition law at the College of Europe in Bruges.
Bernd has led or co-led on some of the most challenging global merger control and cartel cases, including securing merger control clearances in various jurisdictions for:
Aperam on its acquisition of ELG Haniel
Greiner in relation to its acquisition and divestiture of Recticel (second phase)
Linde on its merger with Praxair (second phase) and several other acquisitions world-wide
SABMiller on its combination with ABInBev
Volkswagen on its acquisitions of MAN, Scania and Ducati
Delhaize on its merger with Ahold
- Saint-Gobain on its acquisition of SIKA
- Vodafone, EE and O2 in relation to their mobile wallet joint venture (second phase)
He has also successfully intervened in merger control proceedings, such as Ball’s acquisition of Rexam.
His work on behavioural competition investigations includes representing:
a global bank in the investigations into precious metal and European Government Bond trading (the investigations against his clients were closed)
a manufacturer of car glass in the European Commission’s cartel investigation and subsequent litigation in the Court of the European Union (leading to a significant fine reduction) as well as in relation to private damage claims
a global importer of bananas in the European Commission’s investigation in that sector and subsequent litigation up to the European Court of Justice (leading to a significant fine reduction) as well as on private damage claims.
a global pharmaceutical company in relation to investigation by the European Commission and national competition authorities
a global manufacturer of semiconductors in relation to an investigation by the European Commission
a global online retailer in relation to the forthcoming Digital Markets Act
As a litigator, he has represented clients in more than hundred cases in the Courts of the European Union, including :
the Single Resolution Board in litigation with several financial institutions concerning contributions to the Single Resolution Fund, which was set up to finance the restructuring of failing credit institutions in Europe in the wake of the global financial crisis
- several operators of packaging recovery schemes in relation to unilateral conduct proceedings
- numerous companies in actions for annulment in cartel cases
- several companies in relation to access to documents held by the European Institutions
Bernd is a visiting Professor at the College of Europe and president of its Global Competition Law Centre. He frequently speaks at conferences and is widely published. His recent publications include:
“What can a notice realistically achieve? Reflections on the nature, role and legal value of a revised Market Definition Notice” (with Stéphanie Patureau and Luisa Gritsch), CLPD 2021
“Signalling—When Should We Worry?”, JECLAP, 7/2020
“EU Merger Regulation -- Review of 2017 and beyond” (with Neil Hoolihan), JECLAP, 03/2019
“Interim measures pursuant to Article 8 of Regulation 1/2003”, in: 10 years of Regulation 1/2003, GCLC Annual conference Series 2015 (ed. Merola, Petit, Rivas)
“Umbrella pricing” (with Melissa Gotlieb), Competition Law Insight, 2014
“How much consistency is required for cartel fines?”, JECLAP 2013, 142
“Le droit de la concurrence et la transparence: une quadrature du cercle?”, JDE 2012, 294
Education and qualifications
Bernd studied law as an undergraduate at the universities of Würzburg and Munich, holds a master’s in law from the College of Europe, is an ancien élève of the French École Nationale d'Administration, and holds a Ph.D. in international law from the Humboldt University of Berlin.
He works in Dutch, English, French and German.