WINNER: Slaughter and May

Slaughter and May’s Brussels office took the lead for German client Bertelsmann as it entered a joint venture with Penguin owner Pearson to create Penguin Random House. At a time when the pricing of ebooks was under investigation by the European Commission, Slaughters’ work in securing the successful completion of the merger was vital and earned the team, led by partner Philippe Chappatte, the European Competition Team of the Year award.

Previous mergers in the publishing world had encountered difficulties at EU level. Alongside the advisers for Pearson, the Slaughters team implemented a strategy that would meet the necessary regulatory hurdles against a background of opposition from certain stakeholders.

The work included pre-notification contact with the European Commission, with the presentation of detailed economic arguments to prove that the joint venture would be constrained by competitors and a concentrated retail base. Slaughters also used its contacts in the English-speaking world to ensure that national competition authorities were briefed where necessary.

The deal went through in mid-2013 after the commission agreed with the arguments presented.


  • Ashurst
  • Tuca Zbarcea & Asociatii