Antitrust & Foreign Investment Partner, London
"I am a recognised expert in complex UK and EU merger control matters, with over 20 years of UK, EU and US experience including in Brussels and Washington DC. I draw on experience from my time serving on the OFT’s Senior Executive Team and as the UK regime’s first Senior Director of Mergers."
Education and qualifications
Simon is a partner in the London Antitrust & Foreign Investment Group. Recent market feedback includes: ‘‘praise for his technical skill in complex merger control matters. “He is incredibly effective and as smart as they come’ report market commentators’ (Chambers 2020); ‘a “standout figure” in the competition space’ (Who’s Who Legal 2020); ‘can get things done … always fun to work with’ (Chambers 2022) and peers ‘stress that he “is a delight to work with and has a very fine legal mind”’ (WWL 2021). Simon is also in Legal 500’s ‘Hall of Fame’ and during his time in UK public service, Simon was ‘highly rated’ in his capacity as Senior Director, Mergers (GCR, 2008).
Simon has been instructed to take over UK merger cases sent to Phase 2 in a number of recent instances. Although best known for merger control he has extensive experience across the range of competition law issues including market investigations, conduct inquiries and counselling, and eight cases before the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT).
- GCR Matter of the Year and FT Innovative Lawyers Award: assisting Novartis on global antitrust strategy and merger clearances in relation to its three-way, inter-conditional asset swap with GSK, involving the acquisition by Novartis of GSK’s oncology business, the sale to GSK of Novartis’ vaccines business (excluding influenza vaccines) and the creation of a joint venture in consumer health products with GSK;
- GCR Matter of the Year: acting for Seagate Technology in obtaining unconditional EU Phase 2 clearance for its acquisition of Samsung’s global hard disk drive business, in a 'race to file' with Western Digital/Hitachi;
- Merger litigation: a 7-0 record representing the prevailing party in UK merger-related litigation before the CAT, including the (i) first quashing and remittal of a Phase 2 report (Eventim v. CC in relation to Ticketmaster/Live Nation); (ii) first quashing and remittal of an adverse (“SLC”) Phase 2 report (JD Sports (I) vs. CMA); (iii) first successful appeal of an IEO penalty (i.e. CMA withdraws penalty entirely; JD Sports (II) v. CMA).
- Novel merger review processes: acting for merger parties in novel procedural outcomes in UK merger control including the first ‘fast-track Phase 1 remedies’ case in the UK (GTCR/PRNewswire) and first ‘twin-track’ case in which substantive issues and remedies (on a without-prejudice basis) were handled in parallel (John Wood/Amec Foster Wheeler) for an expedited outcome;
- Market investigations: advising Royal Bank of Scotland/NatWest on the CMA’s retail banking inquiry and AXA PPP healthcare on the CMA’s private healthcare market investigation, judicial review proceedings and remittal to the CMA.
Until the end of 2008, Simon was the UK’s first Senior Director, Mergers under the modern UK regime at the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), a CMA predecessor.
As such he was the senior official in charge of UK Phase 1 merger control, including decisions to open (i.e. refer to) Phase 2 and accept Phase 1 remedies, and the prime UK national representative in complex EU merger cases and policy discussions, including the 2004 EU merger reforms.
Simon has been a regular speaker at IBA, IBC, GCR and BIICL conferences on EU and UK competition law issues. He was the consultant editor and contributor to the first edition of the leading textbook on UK merger control (Parker & Majumdar).
Simon has also given testimony to various UK Parliamentary sub-committees as a competition expert and been an ICN non-governmental adviser to the Office of Fair Trading and the US Federal Trade Commission.
Education and qualifications
Simon holds a Masters degree in Law (LL.M) from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and two degrees (First Class Honours in law and political science, respectively) from the University of Adelaide, Australia.
He is a Solicitor, England & Wales. Simon is also a Member of the New York Bar, and admitted in Ireland and New South Wales.
He speaks conversational German and Dutch.