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Alasdair Balfour



Balfour Alasdair
Alasdair Balfour



Alasdair has over 20 years' experience advising clients involved in competition investigations and litigation at UK, EU and global 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 also 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 before the EC and UK authorities, including advising Marks & Spencer on its joint venture with Ocado, BTG on its £3.3 billion takeover offer by Boston Scientific, Lloyds on the CMA clearance of its acquisition of MBNA, Tullett Prebon on the CMA clearance of its acquisition of ICAP, Aviva on the EC clearance of its acquisition of Friends Life and Asahi on the EC clearance of its acquisition of the European SAB Miller business.

Alasdair has defended clients involved in the air cargo, automotive components, card interchange, foreign exchange, window fittings and construction cartel investigations and litigation. He has also advised clients involved in the European Commission 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"; and "Alasdair Balfour is viewed as "very analytical" as well as a "practical thinker".  Clients describe him as "a very pragmatic, calm, measured individual who comes up with solutions"

Experience highlights



Allen & Overy LLP
One Bishops Square
E1 6AD

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Admitted as solicitor, England and Wales, 1998

Admitted as solicitor, Ireland, 2017


MA, Law, Worcester College, Oxford University, 1995

Diploma, EU Competition Law, Kings College London, 2000


Awards & accolades

Competition Team of the Year

Legal Business Awards 2017

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Competition Team of the Year

British Legal Awards, 2018

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Ranked 3rd, Global Elite firms

Global Competition Review, 2019

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News & insights

Multi coloured abstract graphic

Publications: 18 FEBRUARY 2020

Antitrust and Brexit – where do we stand?

The UK has well-established domestic antitrust and merger control regimes, enforced by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

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Publications: 17 OCTOBER 2019

European Commission imposes interim measures for first time in nearly two decades

The European Commission (Commission) has the power to order companies suspected of engaging in anti-competitive behaviour to stop their conduct pending a final decision in an investigation – so-called “interim measures”. The idea is that interim measures prevent activity which could irreparably damage the market before the Commission has completed its probe and had a chance to sanction the behaviour. But these powers have rarely been used. In fact, they have lain dormant since the IMS Health case 18 years ago, where the Commission imposed interim measures ordering the firm to grant a licence in relation to pharmaceuticals data.

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uk merger control

Publications: 25 JULY 2019

UK merger control: A toughening of the voluntary regime?

The UK’s competition authority has stepped up its enforcement of procedural breaches of merger control rules in the past 12 months. This is part of a global trend that has seen enforcement fines exceed EUR140 million globally in 2018.

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Publications: 17 JULY 2019

CMA launches digital markets strategy and market study into online platforms and digital advertising

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published a document setting out its digital markets strategy and, in parallel, has launched a market study into online platforms and digital advertising. These developments follow on from a series of independent reports into the digital sector, including the Furman Report in March and the Lear Report in June. They also build on the package of reforms proposed in February by the CMA’s Chairman, Lord Tyrie, as well as statements by its Chief Executive, Andrea Coscelli. 

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