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Alasdair Balfour

Partner

London

Balfour Alasdair
Alasdair Balfour

Partner

London

Alasdair has over 20 years' experience advising clients involved in competition investigations and litigation at UK, EU and international levels. His practice spans merger control, cartel and other antitrust infringements, market/sector investigations, and general antitrust regulatory and EU law counselling across many industry sectors. Alasdair has practised in Brussels and Washington DC as well as London, and spent time on secondment at Visa Europe.

He has secured EC, UK and international merger clearances for many clients, including Phase II and "remedies" cases. Recent matters include advising: Refinitiv (and shareholder Blackstone) on the EC review and worldwide filings of its proposed USD27 billion acquisition by the London Stock Exchange Group; Marks & Spencer on its joint venture with Ocado, on the proposed Sainsbury's / Asda combination, and on various competition concerns regarding its response to the COVID-19 pandemic; BTG on its GBP3.3bn takeover by Boston Scientific; Lloyds on the CMA clearance of its acquisition of the MBNA credit card business from Bank of America and its wealth management JV with Schroders; Kuhne + Nagel on the CMA investigation of the proposed sale of its UK drinks logistics business to XPO Logistics; Tullett Prebon on the CMA clearance of its acquisition of ICAP; and Asahi on the EC clearance and purchaser approvals of its acquisition of the SABMiller CEE business from Anheuser Busch for EUR7.3bn, and Peroni and Grolsch from Anheuser Busch for EUR2.6bn.

Alasdair has defended clients involved in the air cargo, automotive components, card interchange, FX, window fittings and construction cartel investigations and litigation. He has also advised clients involved in the European Commission's financial services, energy and ecommerce sector investigations and the UK SME banking, corporate banking, British airports and pharmacy market investigations.

Alasdair is recognised as a “leading individual” in his field in the main legal directories. Recent comments from the legal directories include the following: “Alasdair Balfour is highly recommended for his ability to see to the core of a problem and explain issues simply”; “Alasdair Balfour is outstanding” and has “in-depth knowledge.” Clients describe him as “a very pragmatic, calm, measured individual who comes up with solutions.”

Other noteworthy experience includes advising:

  • Tullett Prebon on the UK, U.S., Australian and Singaporean clearances of its GBP1.6bn acquisition of competitor ICAP to form the world's largest voice broker.
  • Allianz on the EC clearance of its GBP 1bn non-life insurance joint venture with Liverpool Victoria.
  • Aviva on general merger control advice, including the preparation of an EC merger filing, in relation to its GBP5.6bn acquisition of Friends Life.
  • BAE Systems on the UK CMA investigation and recommendation of full removal of the remedies given when BAE Systems acquired Marconi.
  • Arthur J Gallagher & Co on its acquisition of the aviation insurance business of Jardine Lloyd Thomson plc (JLT) as part of the divestment required by the EC in Marsh & McLennan's acquisition of JLT.
  • GlaxoSmithKline on the antitrust aspects of the GBP1.35bn asset sale of the Lucozade and Ribena brands to Suntory.
  • Lloyds Banking Group on the unconditional CMA phase I clearance of its acquisition of MBNA to create the leading UK credit card business and on the CMA’s review of its multi-billion wealth management joint venture with Schroders.
  • Malaysia Airlines on the air cargo cartel investigations and litigation in the EU, UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and South Africa (as global lead antitrust counsel), and the Malaysian Competition Commission investigation regarding its collaboration agreement with Air Asia.
  • Marks and Spencer on its joint venture with Ocado, in relation to the proposed Sainsbury’s / Asda combination, and on various competition concerns regarding its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The 11 largest UK members of Visa Europe in connection with the EUR16.5bn acquisition by Visa Inc. of Visa Europe.

Experience highlights

Office

London

Allen & Overy LLP
One Bishops Square
London
E1 6AD

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Brussels

Allen & Overy (Belgium) LLP
Tervurenlaan 268A avenue de Tervueren
Brussels
1150

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Qualifications

Professional

Admitted as solicitor, England and Wales, 1998

Admitted as solicitor, Ireland, 2017

Academic

MA, Law, Worcester College, Oxford University, 1995

Diploma, EU Competition Law, Kings College London, 2000

News & insights

Image of person working on tablet device

Publications: 10 AUGUST 2021

Major reforms proposed for UK competition and consumer regimes, including digital

In a move aimed at driving growth and delivering competitive markets that work for consumers, the UK government has published two consultations on proposals for reform of the UK competition and…

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Beams of lights from fast moving traffic

Publications: 16 JULY 2021

How should antitrust authorities investigate deals that threaten potential competition?

This is a focus for antitrust regulators across the globe, which is playing out most publicly in the context of acquisitions and business practices, in particular in the digital sector, that threaten…

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skyline

Publications: 27 MAY 2021

Court confirms long reach of UK merger control jurisdiction

On 21 May 2021, the UK's specialist competition court, the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) gave judgment dismissing Sabre Corporation (Sabre)'s challenge to the Competition and Markets Authority…

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London cityscape

Publications: 18 FEBRUARY 2021

Penrose review of competition policy

The UK Government commissioned John Penrose MP to undertake an independent review of UK competition policy last September. Penrose was specifically tasked with looking at potential reforms to the UK’s…

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Recognition

Awards & accolades

Competition Team of the Year

Legal Business Awards 2017

Competition Team of the Year

British Legal Awards, 2018

Top 3, Global Elite firms

Global Competition Review, 2020