Alison is a competition law specialist, recommended in the field by Chambers, Legal 500 and Who’s Who Legal. According to Who’s Who Legal (2017): “She is really, really good; an absolutely excellent practitioner” while Chambers (2018) describes her as “calm, authoritative, experienced and highly respected” and “a leading authority on merger control proceedings“.
Alison is a highly experienced competition practitioner, qualifying as a solicitor in 1999 and called to the bar in 2011. She advises and represents clients across all aspects of competition regulation, including merger approvals, antitrust investigations, sectoral regulation, review proceedings and damages actions, both at domestic and EU levels. Her work often involves analysing the relationship between domestic and EU law, and she has advised both the CMA and BEIS in this area.
She has particular expertise in merger control and is co-author (with Alistair Lindsay) of The EU Merger Regulation: Substantive Issues (Sweet & Maxwell, 5th edition, 2017), a leading textbook on merger control issues, described in a recent review as “an indispensable authority”.
- Highlights of Merger Work
- Advising TalkTalk on its intervention in the CMA’s Phase II investigation of BT’s acquisition of EE.
- Advising Arriva on its successful bid for the Northern Franchise, cleared at Phase II subject to remedies.
- Advising a third party in relation to the CMA’s Bako NW/ Bako Northern and Scotland merger inquiry.
- Advising a third party in relation to Muller’s anticipated acquisition of Dairy Crest.
- Advising BEIS on public interest aspects of Pfizer’s proposed acquisition of AstraZeneca (with Tom de la Mare QC).
- Advising the Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority on the acquisition by La College Terminal of certain assets of Esso Petroleum Company.
- Advising Coopervision on the CMA’s investigation into its acquisition of Sauflon (with Daniel Beard QC).
- Advising Optimax on the CMA’s investigation of its acquisition of Ultralase, a competing provider of laser eye surgery, cleared at Phase II on “exiting firm” grounds.
- Advising the CMA on confidential merger issues in the healthcare field.
- Advising Virgin Money on EU merger control and State aid aspects of its acquisition of Northern Rock.
- Advising Handicare on its acquisition of Minivator, both active in the stairlift industry, securing clearance from the CMA.
- Advising DS Smith on its acquisition of cardboard packaging company Otor, cleared by the CMA.
- Advising Sun Microsystems on its merger with Oracle, a second phase investigation by the European Commission, and raising a number of novel issues regarding open source software. The acquisition was cleared unconditionally following informal commitments by Oracle.
- Advising Nationwide Building Society on its acquisitions of Cheshire, Derbyshire and Dunfermline Building Societies, including dealing with Banking Act issues, State aid, “failing firm” and local and regional market analysis. All three were cleared by the CMA (Dunfermline within a record 14 working days).
- Advising Somerfield on its merger with The Co-operative Group, involving an extensive review procedure by the CMA focussing on local markets.
- Advising Cable & Wireless on its acquisition of Thus, dealing with a number of telecoms markets, cleared by the CMA.
- Advising DTCC on its proposed merger with LCH.Clearnet in the clearing and settlement sector.
- Advising Macquarie on its sale of South East Water and various other projects in the water sector including the purchase of Wessex Water and the previous sale of South East Water.
- Advising the London Stock Exchange in the CMA’s second phase inquiries into potential acquisitions by Deutsche Börse and Euronext.
- Highlights of Competition Litigation Work
- Advising Northern Powergrid on its challenge to Ofgem’s RIIO – ED1 price control determination (with Daniel Beard QC and Alistair Lindsay).
- Representing Everything Everywhere Limited, Hutchison 3G UK Limited, TalkTalk Telecom Group plc, Verizon UK Limited and Vodafone Limited on their application to intervene in Colt Technology Services v Ofcom.
- Advising Spire on its challenge to the CMA’s approach to disclosure in its private healthcare market investigation (BMI Healthcare v Competition Commission) (with Daniel Beard QC).
- Advising the CC on its merger investigation into Ryanair’s minority stake in Aer Lingus and related challenges in the CAT and Court of Appeal (with Daniel Beard QC).
- Advising Sky and TalkTalk on their and BT’s challenges to Ofcom’s LLU/WLR 2012 price determination (with Meredith Pickford QC).
- Advising the Government of Iceland on EFTA Surveillance Authority v Iceland (the “Icesave case”) (with Tim Ward QC).
- Competition Act and other Regulatory Investigations
- Advising the FCA on its Competition Act investigation into potential information sharing between asset management firms.
- Advising uSwitch on Ofgem’s Chapter I CA98 / Article 101 EC investigation into “a supporting service for the energy industry”.
- Advising House of Fraser on the CMA’s investigation into the retail pricing of sports bras under Chapter I CA98 / Article 101 EC.
- Advising the CMA on its Chapter II investigation into the distribution of road fuels in the Western Isles of Scotland (with Kassie Smith QC).
- Advising the CMA on its Chapter II / Article 102 EC investigation in relation to the provision of bunker fuel card services (with Daniel Beard QC).
- Advising Monitor on competition enforcement under its new licensing regime (with Daniel Beard QC).
- Advising a major motor insurer on issues under Chapter I Competition Act.
- Advising Barclays on the CMA’s investigation into payment protection insurance.
- Advising Comet on the CMA’s monopoly inquiry into extended warranties on domestic electrical goods.
- Advising PSI on its complaint to the European Commission regarding abuse of dominance by IBM in mainframe servers and subsequent settlement.
- Advising Capital Meters Limited on Ofgem’s investigation into National Grid’s meter service agreements.
- Advising a client affected by a margin squeeze on potential courses of action including complaint to the CMA and or private action in damages.
- Advising Sony Pictures, Disney and On Demand Group on potential coordination issues arising out of a joint venture to provide on demand television services in the UK.
- Advising x-clear on its application for status as a Recognised Overseas Clearing House under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, and other exchange clients on issues arising under the FSMA jurisdiction.
- What the Directories Say
Competition Law: “She is a leading authority on merger control proceedings and is calm, authoritative, experienced and highly respected.” – Chambers UK, 2018
Leading junior in Competition: ‘‘Knowledgeable and experienced.’’ – Legal 500, 2017
Competition – Future Leaders 2017: Barristers Analysis: “Alison Berridge is commended for her “extensive merger experience”, with one interviewee stating, “She is really, really good; an absolutely excellent practitioner.”” – WHO’S WHO LEGAL (WWL), 2017
Competition Law: “She is very bright and very calm, and has particular expertise in merger control.” – Chambers UK, 2017
Leading Junior in EU and Competition: “Her knowledge of merger control regulation is tremendous.’’ – Legal 500, 2016
Competition: “A rapidly rising junior”, who has over a decade’s worth of experience as a solicitor before her call in 2011. She is regularly instructed in merger approvals and antitrust investigations by clients who find her “practical, discerning and responsive”. – WHO’S WHO LEGAL (WWL) UK BAR 2016
Competition Law: “Very able and went to great efforts to assist our client.” – Chambers UK & Chambers Global, 2016
“Very bright indeed – focused and shrewd.” Leading Junior in EU and Competition Law. Legal 500, 2015
Competition Law: “She is very bright, gets across all the material in a case and really mucks in with the client team, which makes a huge difference.” – Chambers UK, 2015
‘Analytical and commercial in her approach.’ Alison is ranked as a leading Junior under EU & Competition Law – Legal 500, 2014
“The ‘commercially aware‘ Alison Berridge is praised for her merger control expertise.” She is recommended under EU & Competition Law – Legal 500, 2013
- Brexit, merger control and potential reforms, Monckton Brexit blog
- Brexit, merger control and the “one stop shop”, Monckton Brexit blog
- Co-author (with Alistair Lindsay) of The EU Merger Regulation: Substantive Issues (Sweet & Maxwell, 5th edition, 2017).
- Appearances as legal expert on The Money Channel.
- Articles in various publications including the Trade Mark Handbook (on franchising issues), Retail Week (on extended warranties) and The Times (on the implications of the Distance Selling Regulations for consumers).