Bernd is widely recognised as a leading European competition lawyer, advising major national and international corporates, banks and institutions on all areas of competition law, principally merger control and anti-cartel proceedings before the European Commission and the German competition authority (Bundeskartellamt), as well as unilateral conduct and state aid matters. He often coordinates merger control proceedings worldwide on global transactions. He has acted in a wide range of competition 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.
He has significant expertise in the automotive, chemical, retail, food and beverages, machinery, pharmaceutical, consumer electronics and branded consumer goods sectors. He was the firm’s retail global sector leader for four years and currently co-heads the firm’s global automotive sector team.
Bernd is managing partner of the firm’s Brussels and Antwerp offices.
Bernd had 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:
- Linde on its merger with Praxair
- 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
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 manufacturer of car glass in the European Commission’s cartel investigation and subsequent litigation in the Court of the European Union 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 as well as on private damage claims. Both cases resulted in significant fine reductions
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
- a number of companies in actions for annulment in several cartel cases
Bernd is a member of the executive committee of the College of Europe’s Global Competition Law Centre. In his academic capacity, he taught public law at the University of Strasbourg and currently teaches European competition law at the University of Frankfurt.
Bernd frequently speaks at conferences and is widely published. His recent publications include:
“Umbrella pricing”, Competition Law Insight, 2014, with Melissa Gotlieb
“How much consistency is required for cartel fines?”, Journal of European Competition Law & Practice, 2013
“Le droit de la concurrence et la transparence: une quadrature du cercle?”, Journal de droit européen, 2012
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.