Competition

Bell Gully’s Competition team is involved in high profile competition matters in New Zealand.

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​Our team is recognised, by clients and independent commentators, for providing leading advice on the most complex and high profile competition and anti-trust issues in the market.

Global Competition Review's GCR100 – a guide to the world's top competition law practices – has recognised Bell Gully as an elite practice (its highest ranking in New Zealand) for the past 12 years. Chambers Asia Pacific’s 2017 edition highlights the competition expertise of five members of Bell Gully’s competition law team, with rankings that include a Band 1 partner.

We advise on all aspects of competition law including, mergers and acquisitions (including applications for Commerce Commission clearance and authorisation), misuse of market power and access issues, cartel investigations and leniency issues and general advisory work. We frequently work with leading legal and economic advisers in other jurisdictions as part of multinational merger and cartel/leniency teams.

Recently the team, led by Torrin Crowther, advised Bauer Media on its acquisition of certain APN (now NZME.) magazine publishing assets and for long-term client, Fletcher Building, on its sale of Pacific Steel to Bluescope.

We work alongside our clients, and often other advisors, such as economists, to develop a deep understanding of our clients' business and the industries that they work in. As a result we are able to tailor our advice to our client's specific commercial needs and assist them to achieve their goals.   

Recognition for our competition expertise

"They are extremely well resourced and are very good to deal with."

"They give really good commercial advice that is prompt and practical."
Chambers Asia Pacific 2016  -Tier 1

"We'd have no hesitation in recommending them, and certainly when we need them again we'll go straight to them".

"They've been pre-eminent; very strategic, high quality work and very thorough when we ask them to go the extra distance."
Chambers Asia Pacific 2015  -Tier 1

Authorisation of provisions for commingling arrangements
Advised Tabcorp Australia (Tabcorp) on the successful application for Commerce Commission authorisation to allow Tabcorp to commingle totalisator horse and greyhound racing betting pools with the New Zealand Racing Board.

Cavalier Wool acquisition of NZ Wool Services International

Secured Commerce Commission authorisation for the merger of the only two wool scouring businesses in New Zealand. The Commission accepted the benefits of the merger (efficiencies, release of surplus assets etc) outweighed the detriment from a reduction in competition.

Bauer Media acquisition of APN (now NZME.) magazine titles
Acted for Bauer Media on the acquisition of five well known magazine titles from APN​. The New Zealand Commerce Commission determined two of the titles were each other's closest competitor,​ facing low constraint from other magazines in the market. However, the Commission granted clearance based on the ability for consumers to switch to other media platforms, particularly online. Similarly, in the advertising market, the primary constraint identified by the Commission came from other media, marking a departure from previous Commission decisions and practice in other jurisdictions.

Cartel leniency applications
Advised on various successful applications for leniency under the Commerce Commission's cartel leniency policy.

​Fletcher Building sale of Pacific Steel
Advising Fletcher Building on the sale of long-steel producer, Pacific Steel Group to BlueScope Steel. This high profile transaction leaves New Zealand Steel as the country's only steelmaker. Despite this, the parties gained Commerce Commission clearance within its standard 40 working day timetable.

Carter Holt Harvey sale of pulp mills to Japanese consortium
Advised Carter Holt Harvey on the sale of its pulp mills to Oji Holdings Corporation and Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, including on the successful Commerce Commission merger clearance process. The transaction combined the parties' pulp mill and fibre acquisition interests valued at NZ$​1.037 billion.

​Carter Holt Harvey investigation
Acted for Carter Holt Harvey on the investigation of price-fixing for certain grades of structural timber in the commercial building supplies market. We worked with the Commerce Commission's investigators and counsel to resolve the investigation and resulting proceedings. This matter was a high profile one at the time given the increasing growth, and regulatory focus on, the construction sector in New Zealand.

Air New Zealand on alliance issues
Advised key client Air New Zealand on regulatory issues associated on alliances with other international carriers.

Vodafone acquisition of TelstraClear from Telstra Corporation
Advised Vodafone on its NZ$840 million acquisition of rival telecommunications provider TelstraClear from Telstra Corporation. This included its successful application for competition clearance. The transaction brought together the second and third largest telecommunications companies in the New Zealand and therefore faced significant regulatory hurdles as well as a high level of scrutiny from within the industry.

Crown Fibre Holdings ultra-fast broadband initiative
Advised Crown Fibre Holdings, a Government-owned investment vehicle, on the competition law aspects of New Zealand's ultra-fast broadband initiative. This involved advising on competition issues and on the conduct of the competitive procurement process, leading all of the contract negotiations with eight bidding parties, contracting, company structuring and other issues. This is one of the largest infrastructure projects in New Zealand's recent history.

Commerce Commission air cargo investigation into Air New Zealand
Acting for Air New Zealand in High Court proceedings brought by the Commerce Commission alleging cartel conduct in the air cargo market. The matter was successfully settled between the parties.

Commerce Commission air cargo investigation into Singapore Airlines
Advised Singapore Airlines Cargo in High Court proceedings issued by the Commerce Commission alleging cartel conduct in relation to air cargo. The matter went to a stage 1 trial (dealing with market issues) in 2011 and was subsequently settled between the parties.

New Zealand Winegrowers
Acted for New Zealand Winegrowers in the Commerce Commission's investigation into the conduct of New Zealand Winegrowers, as the industry body, regarding grape harvest and wine production levels. The Commission concluded there was no breach.

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  • Torrin Crowther

    Partner Auckland
  • Jenny Stevens

    Partner Wellington