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Simon Pritchard

Competition/Antitrust 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."

Overview

Professional experience

Education and qualifications

Overview

Simon is a partner in the London Competition practice. Recent market feedback includes: ‘praise[d] … for [his] technical skill in complex merger control matters. “He is incredibly effective and as smart as they come’ report market commentators.’ (Chambers 2019-20) and ‘a “standout figure” in the competition space, recognised by peers as “an excellent and extremely hardworking lawyer”’ (Who’s Who Legal 2019); he is also in Legal 500’s ‘Hall of Fame’. 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 resolved or pending litigation cases before the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

Work highlights
  • 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;
  • Litigation: a 5-0 record representing the prevailing party in UK judicial review of merger cases, including obtaining the first successful remittal of a UK Phase 2 merger case (Eventim v. Competition Commission (2010) in relation to the CC’s reversal of Provisional Findings and clearance of Ticketmaster/Live Nation);
  • 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.

Professional experience

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.