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Mark Friend



Friend Mark
Mark Friend



Mark is head of the London antitrust group. He has more than 30 years’ experience of counselling and representing clients on complex mergers and strategic alliances, cartel, dominance and market investigations, both at EU and national level. His practice also encompasses state aid, economic regulation and antitrust litigation and he has particular expertise in advising on regulatory and competition issues in regulated sectors including energy, water, air traffic control, rail and payment systems. He has published widely in academic and professional journals. He is the author of a 50,000-word study on the regulatory treatment of electricity mergers in the UK (published by Allen & Overy in 2003) and co-authored the chapter on state guarantees to EU State Aids (edited by Hancher, Ottervanger and Slot, 2016) and is a member of the advisory board of the Competition Law Forum. In addition he has a part-time academic role teaching competition law to undergraduates at Cambridge University.

UK merger control experience includes the landmark Lloyds/HBOS,Co-op/Somerfield and Boots/Alliance UniChem cases. More recent cases include Severn Trent/United Utilities and Severn Trent/Dee Valley as well as acting for AMP Capital on its acquisition of Leeds Bradford Airport and its investment in Luton Airport and for third parties in Celesio/Sainsbury andMasterCard/VocaLink. He has high profile experience in European merger control advising Sun Microsystems on its merger with Oracle, and Thomson on its acquisition of Reuters (and the subsequent appeal before the European Court).

Market investigation work includes acting for a ‘Big 6’ energy supplier in the CMA Energy market investigation, and acting for a leading motor insurer in the CMA investigation into Private Motor Insurance.

He has represented clients in numerous global cartel and behavioural investigations, including several cases as leniency applicant. Mark is currently advising on the EU investigation into alleged territorial restrictions relating to the supply of LNG into Europe.

Regulatory appeal work includes advising a distribution network operator in two appeals to the CMA against Ofgem’s RIIO-ED1 distribution price control.

"Mark Friend stands out for his sharpness and commercial acumen. He is an immensely experienced practitioner possessing particular in-depth knowledge of both competition law and judicial review procedures" Legal 500 UK, 2020 (EU and Competition)

Clients appreciate that Mark Friend "can cut straight to the issues and give clear, straightforward advice." Chambers UK 2018 (Competition)

He is also described as a "truly meticulous lawyer of great ability" who provides a "balanced and nuanced understanding of issues" by Legal 500 2017 (Competition)

Mark Friend, whose “enormous experience means that he delivers sound advice in context” Legal 500 UK, 2019

Mark Friend has a strong focus on merger clearance mandates. Clients highlight his “depth of understanding of how the law is implemented in the real world.” He assists clients from the energy and financial services sectors. Chambers UK, 2019

One source commented: ‘He is ferociously clever and has an ability to get to the heart of something in addition to excellent sector knowledge.’” 

Other noteworthy experience includes advising:

  • AMP Capital on its acquisition of Leeds Bradford Airport and its investment in Luton airport.
  • LINK, the UK’s leading ATM scheme, on the recent review of its interchange arrangements, and in connection with the acquisition of VocaLink by MasterCard (cleared by the CMA subject to remedies designed to ensure competition in the provision of infrastructure services to LINK).
  • Scottish Power on the CMA market investigation into the UK energy sector.
  • Seven Trent on the regulatory and merger control aspects of its joint venture with United Utilities which combined both parties’ non-household retail operations, cleared by the CMA in phase I.
  • Severn Trent on the competition and regulatory aspects of its GBP78.5m acquisition of Dee Valley Water.
  • Direct Line Group on the CMA market investigation into private motor insurance, and on the subsequent market study into digital comparison tools.
  • Alliance UniChem on its EUR7bn recommended merger with Boots Group plc to create Alliance Boots, an international pharmacy-led healthcare group with combined sales of over GBP13bn.
  • Thomson on its acquisition of Reuters, cleared by the European Commission in Phase II, and on the subsequent appeal brought by a competitor, VWD.
  • Sun Microsystems on the EU merger control aspects of its USD 7bn merger with Oracle.

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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Antitrust in focus

Publications: 20 DECEMBER 2019

Antitrust in focus - December 2019

This newsletter is our take on the antitrust developments we think are most interesting to your business. Mark Friend, partner based in London, is our editor for this final edition of 2019. He has selected:

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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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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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Admitted as solicitor, England and Wales, 1982

Admitted as solicitor, Republic of Ireland, 2016


Masters degree, European Law, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 1983 (Grande Distinction)

BA, Law, Gonville & Caius College, University of Cambridge, 1979 (First Class)

Experience highlights



Ranked 3rd, “Global Elite” firms 2019

Global competition Review

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Competition Team of the Year

British Legal Awards, 2018

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Competition Team of the Year

Legal Business Awards, 2017

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Published work

  • ‘Credit Cards and Interchange Fees: Damages for Breach of Competition Law (2017) 133 L.Q.R. 208-213;
  • ‘Reverse Patent Settlements and EU Competition Law’ [2017] C.L.J. 29-32;
  • ‘Unexplained Mysteries of the Energy Market Investigation’ CPI Antitrust Chronicle, December 2016, 42-44;
  • ‘Regulating Minority Shareholdings and Unintended Consequences’ [2012] E.C.L.R. 311-314;
  • Bavasso and Friend ‘Clarifying the Scope of Judicial Review in Competition Inquiries: The Saga of PPI’ (2010) 6 Competition Policy International vol.1, 213-236;
  • ‘Guarantees’ in Hancher, Ottervanger and Slot (eds.) EU State Aids (Sweet & Maxwell 2006), 3rd ed. ch.9; 4th ed. (2012) and (with Schonberg) 5th ed. (2016);
  • ‘State Guarantees as State Aid: Some Practical Difficulties’ in Biondi, Flynn and Eekhout (eds.) The Law of State Aid in the European Union (OUP 2003), ch.12;
  • ‘Take-over Frenzy in UK Electricity – How the Map was Re-drawn’ published in May 2003 by Allen & Overy;
  • Friend and Ridyard ‘A Substantial Lessening of Clarity’ Financial Times, 20 January 2003;
  • Friend and Lindsay ‘Energy: Draft Competition Guidelines’ February 2000 Utilities Journal 40-41;
  • ‘Problems of Oligopolistic Markets: The UK Experience’ in Raffaelli (ed.) Antitrust Between EC Law and National Law 347-366 (Bruylant, Giuffré 1998);
  • ‘To Refer or Not to Refer?’ November 1995 Utilities Journal 20-21;
  • ‘Rights of Complainants in EC Competition Proceedings’ (1994) 110 L.Q.R. 209-213;
  • Friend and Ridyard ‘The Limits of Price Competition’ Financial Times, 20 January 1991;
  • ‘Competition in the Air Transport Sector’ (1989) 14 E.L. Rev. 424-428;
  • ‘The Long Arm of Community Law (1989) 14 E.L. Rev. 169-172;
  • ‘Old Wine in New Bottles’ (1988) 13 E.L. Rev. 280-281;
  • ‘Controlling Mergers’ (1988) 13 E.L. Rev. 189-196;
  • ‘Selective Distribution – Effect of Block Exemption Regulation for Motor Vehicles’ (1987) 12 E.L. Rev. 377-378;
  • ‘Competition in the Air Transport Sector’ (1987) 12 E.L. Rev. 207-212;
  • ‘Selective Distribution: Metro Tries Again’ (1987) 12 E.L. Rev. 144-147;
  • ‘Judicial Review, Private Rights and Community Law’ [1985] P.L. 21-26;
  • ‘Lord Cairns’ Act – A Puzzle’ [1985] Stat. L.R. 38-41;
  • ‘Selective Distribution and Refusal to Supply: The Position of a Complainant’ [1984] J.B.L. 258-262;
  • Friend and Shaw ‘Damages for Abuse of Dominant Position’ (1984) 100 L.Q.R. 188-192;
  • ‘EEC Law, Preliminary Rulings and Arbitrators’ (1983) 99 L.Q.R. 356-360;
  • ‘Trusts of Voluntary Covenants – An Alternative Approach’ [1982] Conv. 280-293;
  • Friend and Newton ‘Undivided Shares and Trusts for Sale – A Draftsman’s Error?’ [1982] Conv. 213-217;
  • Sheldon and Friend ‘Restriction on Assignment of Lease’ (1982) 98 L.Q.R. 14-16.