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Winner 2018, Competition Team of the Year, British Legal Awards

 

Global antitrust co-head Antonio Bavasso led the Allen & Overy team that was named Competition Team of the Year 2018 at last Thursday’s Legal Business Awards for its ground-breaking work on 21st Century Fox (21CF)’s GBP27.7 billion bid for Sky.  The deal was one of the highest profile and most complex of recent years, attracting intense media and political scrutiny.  

It involved a rare application of the UK’s public interest merger control regime (to which the team was able to bring to bear its experience of advising on the largest UK public interest interventions to date) and the first-ever UK merger intervention on broadcasting standards grounds. Extraneous events such as Comcast’s ultimately prevailing bid for Sky and The Walt Disney Company’s USD72bn proposed acquisition of 21CF (where we are acting on all non-U.S. filings and have to date obtained numerous clearances) lent additional layers of complexity.

The antitrust team, working closely alongside 21CF, played a key role at all stages.  This included securing European Commission unconditional merger clearance along with other regulatory and merger clearances, persuading UK communications regulator Ofcom that Sky would be fit and proper to hold a broadcasting licence under 100% ownership by 21CF and supporting Ofcom in fighting off an activist group’s challenge of Ofcom’s decision.  A final success was negotiating a bespoke remedies package that convinced the UK Government to clear the deal after the in-depth public interest review.  ​

 

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