Head of UK Antitrust & Foreign Investment, London / Dublin
“I have over 15 years of experience advising on all aspects of EU, UK and international competition law. I am viewed as clear-sighted with an ability to cut to the key issues very quickly, whilst taking account of clients’ commercial imperatives and strategy.”
Education and qualifications
Nicole is a partner in our Global Antitrust & Foreign Investment Group and head of our UK Antitrust & Foreign Investment practice. She is based in London and Dublin.
She has a strong and influential reputation in the market as a leading competition lawyer. Nicole has led on over 40 significant merger control investigations before the European and UK authorities and coordinates merger control proceedings worldwide on global transactions. Alongside her busy merger control practice, she is a highly regarded cartel specialist, advising on global investigations by competition, financial services and other regulators, compliance issues, self-reporting and consequential litigation. Nicole also regularly advises clients on market sector investigations and studies in the EU and the UK. Her broad practice has a particular focus on the financial services, retail, mining and healthcare sectors.
Nicole has significant experience advising private equity houses and financial sponsors on a range of competition law issues, in particular in relation to liability flowing from portfolio companies and investments.
Nicole co-heads Linklaters’ Global Banking Sector Group and Trade Law Practice.
Highlights of matters on which Nicole has led include advising:
- Amec Foster Wheeler plc on its £2.2bn acquisition by John Wood Group plc, which was successfully cleared in Phase 1 with remedies
- Generic pharmaceutical clients in relation to the CMA’s excessive pricing and conduct investigations
- Dixons on its merger with Carphone Warehouse, successfully obtaining Phase I clearance from the European Commission
- An oil major in relation to a successfully closed investigation in oil and gas benchmarks and U.S. follow-on damages aspects
- Anglo American on the formation of the Lafarge/Tarmac JV the largest Phase II investigation ever undertaken by the former UK Competition Commission
- The immunity applicant in the global marine hoses cartel which gave rise to the first UK prosecution of the criminal cartel offence
Nicole is Vice Chair of the City of London Solicitors’ Competition Committee; a Specialist Adviser to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the UK Parliament which reported on the new UKNSI Act; and was a committee member of the Regulatory Policy Committee within the Department of Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy.
Nicole is a regular speaker on global, EU and UK competition law issues at major industry conferences. She is widely published and her recent contributions include:
- Article in The Financial Times on ESG and competition law “Competition rules stymie co-operation on climate goals” January 2020
- Editor of the Kluwer European Cartel Digest (UK Chapter)
- Upcoming chapter of the ABA Antitrust Handbook: Interlocking Directorships
- Nicole Kar, Emma Cochrane & Verity Doyle “A possible parting of the ways? Will Brexit mean doctrinal divergence between EU and UK competition law?” Competition Law Insight, July 2016
- Nicole Kar & Sibel Yilmaz “Competition risk: the issues for boards” PLC Magazine, August 2015
- Nicole Kar & Thomas Franchoo “Liability for cartel activity: Who carries the can?”, PLC Magazine, May 2015
- Nicole Kar & Jonny Ford, In defence of rights of defence: The corporate’s right to counsel in UK Competition Act investigations, Competition Law Journal 2014, 13(4)
- N Purnell, C Bellamy, N Kar, D Piccinin, and P Sahathevan, "Criminal Cartel Enforcement - More turbulence ahead? The implications of the BA Virgin Case", Competition Law Journal 2010(3), 313
Education and qualifications
Nicole holds a first class Bachelor of Laws degree and University Medal from the University of Queensland and a Bachelor of Arts, Double Major Japanese, also from the University of Queensland.
She speaks English and conversational Japanese.