PATRICK HARRISON advises on all aspects of EU and UK competition law. Patrick spent four years in Brussels (home to the European Commission) before relocating to Sidley’s London office in 2007. He has significant experience representing clients before the European Commission and the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), securing favourable results for clients requiring regulatory approvals, or facing regulatory challenges. Patrick focuses his practice on merger control, cartel and dominance investigations, competition litigation and distribution agreements.
Admitted in both England and Wales and Ireland, Patrick has also represented clients in EU and UK judicial review proceedings regarding both competition cases and legislation of broader application. In this context, he has pleaded a number of cases before the EU Courts.
He is ranked in Chambers UK 2020 for Competition Law where clients describe him as “articulate, clear and very responsive.” In the 2019 edition, clients also praised his “strong knowledge and down-to-earth style, which make the negotiations as painless as they can be.” He is also recommended in The Legal 500 UK 2017 for EU and Competition, where he is “praised for his ‘mastery of the substantive competition laws,’ ‘fantastic client-oriented manner,’ ‘fresh approach,’ and ‘down-to-earth style.’” Patrick was also recognized by Law360 in 2017 as one of just five “Rising Stars” in the Antitrust/Competition category.
Recent representative matters include:
- ACPS Automotive, a technology and market leader in towbars/hitches for cars, SUVs, and vans, on the completion of its financial restructuring.
- TowerBrook Capital Partners on the acquisition of the Azzurri Group.
- Summit Partners on its investment in Appway.
- TowerBrook Capital Partners on the acquisition of CarTrawler.
- GHO Capital Partners LLP on its acquisition of Ardena.
- Anixter International Inc. in its acquisition by an affiliate of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) in an all cash transaction for US$3.8 billion.
- eBay, Inc. on its 2019 acquisition from Cox Automotive of Motors.co.uk, a UK-based vehicle advertising rival to eBay’s own eBay Motors and Gumtree Motors offerings. The UK’s CMA cleared the deal unconditionally at Phase I, notwithstanding that the CMA had initially raised concerns, and called the parties in for an Issues Meeting.
- Blackbaud, Inc. on the 2017 acquisition of its rival, JustGiving, the UK’s leading online charity donations platform. The CMA cleared the Blackbaud/JustGiving transaction unconditionally at Phase I, despite the fact the CMA had found that the parties had a combined share of 70–80 percent in the UK online fundraising platforms sector.
- Recall Corporation in its 2016 acquisition by rival document management provider Iron Mountain, Inc. for US$2.6 billion. In a derogation from the CMA’s usual practice, Patrick and the Sidley London team secured the CMA’s consent to close the deal globally, notwithstanding that an in-depth Phase II review was ongoing. At the expiry of the Phase II review, the deal was approved subject only to very light divestments which were limited to Northern Scotland.
- Heineken N.V. in relation to the antitrust aspects of its 2016 acquisition for US$781 million of certain assets from rival Diageo plc, including rights to the Red Stripe beer brand. Leading on the antitrust aspects of the case, Patrick ensured that the CMA’s Initial Enforcement Order (mandating that the acquired assets be held separate pending approval) was limited geographically to the UK on the same day it was imposed. The deal was then approved unconditionally on working day 20 of the CMA’s 40-working day Phase I review period.
- Mastercard Europe in relation to ongoing UK and EU judicial review proceedings regarding competition law-influenced aspects of the EU’s Interchange Fee Regulation and second Payment Services Directive.
- Japanese industrial manufacturer, Nidec Corporation, on the antitrust aspects of its 2016 US$1.2 billion strategic acquisition of the motors, drives and generators businesses of Emerson Electric Company, a deal that required approvals in Brazil, China, the EU, India, Korea and the United States.
- Chinese conglomerate HNA on the antitrust aspects of its 2017 acquisition for US$1.2 billion of CWT, a deal that required approval in China, COMESA, the EU, Kenya, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey.
- Private equity investors Mid Europa Partners, Towerbrook and KKR on various 2016, 2017 and 2019 investments and sales, including Towerbrook and KKR on their acquisition of a stake in OVH Groupe SAS, Towerbrook on its investment in Van Dijk Educatie, Mid Europa Partners on its sale of Alpha Medical and TowerBrook in its sale of Metallo to Aurubis AG.
Patrick is the contributing editor for the “Getting the Deal Through: Vertical Agreements” publication and has published widely on EU and UK competition law issues. He has also presented at a number of industry events, including events organised by the American Bar Association and the UK’s Regulatory Policy Institute.