Experience and expertise within competition law

Horten's competition team has many years' experience in competition issues in Denmark and abroad. Our specialists within competition law have in-depth knowledge of how the competition rules are applied and handled in practice within many sectors. We have core competencies within practice areas relating to competition law, including mergers & acquisitions.

We are in close contact with the relevant authorities, in particular the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority, and have a strong international network. We are members of the Antitrust Alliance, consisting of selected competition law firms in 15 EU Member States, the Distribution Law Center, which is a specialised distribution network with lawyers from 27 countries and the European Cartel Damage Alliance, which is a network of European lawyers in the field of antitrust law and cartel damages claims. Therefore, we can quickly identify and solve competitive issues.

Danish and foreign companies are focusing increasingly on ESG goals. Companies often pursue ESG goals jointly across the industry. This increases cooperation between companies, which may give rise to complex competitive issues that affect the companies’ access to realise their ESG goals. Our advice has strong focus on companies’ independent or shared ESG goals and activities.

Experience and expertise within foreign direct investments (FDI)

FDI rules are national rules that apply to foreign investments and specific financial agreements. In Denmark, the FDI rules were introduced in 2021. Numerous other jurisdictions both in and outside the EU have also adopted rules on FDI screening. Horten thus provides holistic advice and assistance to Danish and foreign companies on the relevant screening rules and processes. We advise on all aspects of the screening and approval process and already have wide experience with FDI notifications and pre-screenings with the Danish authorities.

You can read more about the Danish rules and the Danish notification process here: FDI screening and FDI screening: The notification process.

Focus on ESG in competition law

Danish and foreign companies are focusing increasingly on ESG goals and activities. Several companies often pursue ESG goals jointly across e.g. a single industry. This increased cooperation between companies may give rise to complex competitive issues, and the answers have significant impact on the companies’ access to realise their ESG goals. Horten’s competition team thus provides advice with intensive focus on Danish and foreign companies’ independent or shared ESG goals and activities.

Our clients

Our clients are Danish and foreign companies, trade organisations and public authorities in need of compliance training and advice on compliance with the competition rules. Furthermore, we often advise clients who have come under the competition authorities’ spotlight in a specific case. In merger cases, our clients are typically large companies or public companies in connection with M&A transactions or a merger of companies, e.g. in the supply sector. In connection with corporate acquisitions and major contracts, we often also advise on FDI screening. In addition, we advise companies and authorities having suffered a loss and seeking damages after other companies’ violation of the competition rules.

Professional advice on competition law and the FDI rules

  • Compliance programmes
  • Drafting of dawn raid plans and manuals.
  • Construction, assessment and adaptation of the company's contracts to avoid anti-competitive content
  • Compliance assessment and legalisation of the company’s competitive practice
  • Litigation before the ordinary courts and prior procedures before the Competition and Consumer Authority, including actions for damages on behalf of companies having suffered a loss due to violations of the competition rules
  • Contact to relevant authorities in Denmark and abroad
  • Tailored compliance training in the competition rules
  • Merger and FDI screening and approval procedures in transactions.
  • Compliance

    With a compliance programme, our competition experts will review the company's activities and procedures. The programme serves two purposes - partly to identify violations of the competition rules and help the company bring these to an end, and partly to teach the basic elements of competition law to the company's employees. The risk of future violations is thereby minimized. The company will receive a manual describing the procedures in case of unannounced inspections - so-called "dawn raids". Horten's compliance programme is available in various versions and is adapted to the individual company's needs.

  • Dawn raids

    If a company receives an unannounced visit from the competition authorities, this will usually give rise to a number of questions during the inspection. To what are the authorities allowed to have access? How are the employees to act, and are they to answer the questions asked?

    In these situations, Horten's competition team may quickly arrive to ensure that the inspection runs smoothly. After the inspection, there will be correspondence with the authorities. Horten may assist in this connection to safeguard the company's interests and views on the matter.

    Read about the most important dos and don'ts here.

  • Merger control

    Horten has wide experience reporting mergers to the Danish competition authorities and to the European Commission. If the merger takes place by way of an acquisition, our M&A specialists will assist with due diligence and corporate advice. If the merger is part of an international transaction, we co-operate with foreign law firms on the simultaneous reporting of mergers to competition authorities in several European countries.

    Horten assists companies with merger filings to the Danish authorities and to the European Commission, coordination of cross-border transactions and contact to foreign attorneys in connection with notifications in other jurisdictions.

    You can get an overview of the turnover thresholds for the European countries at Horten's Merger Control Poster here.

  • Cartels and leniency

    If a company has entered into anti-competitive agreements with its competitors thereby participating in a cartel, and the company wishes to leave the cartel, Horten may assist with the correct legal advice. A company may apply for leniency if having participated in a cartel. Horten will assist with the preparation of the application for leniency to the competition authorities and with the subsequent co-operation with the authorities.

  • Anti-competitive agreements

    Anti-competitive agreements are illegal. But when is an agreement in fact anti-competitive? Horten advises on the conclusion of agreements and identifies the competition issues at hand. This may be relevant when entering into more complex agreements, e.g. distribution agreements, exclusive distributor agreements or agency agreements. Here, Horten may assist the client manoeuvring through the various rules to ensure that the company attains its object safely.

  • Abuse of a dominant position

    Horten has in-depth experience assessing the dominant position of companies in relation to the construction of the Danish competition rules and current EU rules. We advise on e.g. discriminating discounts, refusals to deliver or unreasonably low prices. We represent dominant companies and companies suspecting competitors, suppliers or co-operation partner of abusing a dominant position. Our advice ensures that new and existing agreements do not violate the prohibition against abuse of a dominant position.

  • Training and e-learning

    Knowledge of the competition rules is of great value to both companies and their staff. It minimizes the risk of the rules being violated and gives the staff the correct knowledge of how to behave. If a company is being investigated by the competition authorities, it is also very important to know the rules.

    We offer targeted training and education providing the correct knowledge to the company and its staff. Our training is tailored to the specific company and focuses on the relevant rules, industry-specific pitfalls and the competition authorities’ unannounced inspection visits.

    The training must be easily accessible. Therefore, we have developed an e-learning programme which the employees may participate in when convenient and irrespective of their location. The training is based on cases where the participants are presented with specific situations and different answers. It is further possible to document the training so that the company can show that relevant compliance initiatives have been implemented.

  • Digital competition

    The digital era is here and competition is changing. Horten follows the development and the regulatory initiatives closely. Read more about this: Digital markets act: Ready to be digital?

    Artificial intelligence, algorithms or digital platforms are only a few of the developments that are changing our world. Identify whether your algorithm or blockchain are in line with competition law via our digital competition tool.

  • Distribution agreements

    Distribution agreements are an important tool which lays down the rights and obligations of the supplier and the distributor when products are sold to customers through several supply chain levels. As a party to a distribution agreement, you may get into trouble if the distribution agreement contains obligations or clauses restricting competition.

    This could for instance be competition clauses, exclusive distribution, exclusive rights and restrictions as to where the products may be sold, either physically or online. Such provisions may be contrary to the prohibition against anti-competitive agreements under the competition rules.

    Most provisions restricting competition in distribution agreements may be exempted from the prohibition against anti-competitive agreements under the so-called vertical block exemption regulation. However, these rules are being revised and a new regulation is expected to come into force on 1 June 2022. It may therefore be relevant to review the distribution agreements now to ensure that they comply with and benefit from the possibilities of the new rules.

    Horten has wide experience advising on distribution agreements, distribution conditions and distributions strategies within the EU/EEA. Horten will follow the European Commission’s work revising and adopting the new vertical block exemption regulation.

    Horten is part of the Distribution Law Center, which is a knowledge platform of European distribution law shared between law firms in 27 jurisdictions. Until the adoption of the new vertical block exemption regulation, we will currently publish the Distribution Law Center’s articles which provide an overview of the new rules.

    For more information on the present and future rules - and on the Distribution Law Center:

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    Our team within competition law & foreign direct investments

    Andreas Christensen

    Partner (H)

    Jesper Petersen Bach

    Partner

    Marie Løvbjerg

    Director, Attorney

    Rikke Munk Rye Andersen

    Director, Attorney

    Andrea Hilt Dyrby

    Attorney

    Trine Louise Balleby Dahl

    Assistant Attorney

    Vibeke Kristine Hammershøi

    Junior Associate

    Highly competent and always available.

    Legal 500, 2021

    The individuals are very professional, committed and at the same time informal in their work-flow, so that quick solutions are produced.

    Legal 500, 2021

    Quick and efficient

    Chambers, 2021

    Sources appreciate the team's dedication, noting that the lawyers have 'a hands-on style'.

    Chambers, 2019

    The team ensured everything we had arranged was done according to the law and at the same time remained open to our suggestions.

    Chambers, 2018

    Sometimes you want that personal factor, that's what makes them stand out.

    Chambers, 2018