Manufacturers, distributors, and retail sellers of consumer goods and services, from traditional stores to global e-commerce businesses, turn to us for our experience and reputation in antitrust and competition law matters.
We help clients navigate effectively and efficiently through the full range of consumer products-related antitrust and competition matters, including those listed below:
Who We Are
Our diverse group of advisers, including former government enforcers, in-house counsel, and seasoned consumer products lawyers, have worked on matters arising from the food & beverage; health, wellbeing & beauty; publishing; grocery; consumer packaged goods (CPG)/fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG); financial services; and electronics sectors.
We have strong working relationships with competition enforcement agencies with consumer product oversight in the U.S., EU, UK and elsewhere. Key examples include the Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the European Commission, EU Member State national authorities, the UK Competition and Markets Authority.
Our lawyers’ knowledge of and strong working relationships with enforcement and other agencies with key consumer products oversight—including their mindsets, theories, and potential concerns—benefit our clients. This knowledge is coupled with insight derived from some of our lawyers having worked in-house for major consumer products players.
What We Do
- Mergers & Acquisitions. We have helped clients on worldwide regulatory clearance for hundreds of complex and significant mergers and acquisitions in the United States, European Union, and across the globe. We recognize that M&A can present some of the most complex and unique antitrust issues, calling for a deep understanding of our clients’ business and goals. We work closely with clients to craft tailored strategies for their business objectives.
- Litigation. Drawing on our reputable trial bench and government experience, we handle the full spectrum of antitrust litigation from significant government enforcement actions, to complex class actions filed in multiple jurisdictions, to single jurisdiction private litigation. Our matters have involved cartel conduct, monopolization, monopsonization, exclusive dealing, group boycotts, price discrimination, unfair competition/unfair and deceptive trade practices, price gouging, network exclusion and a host of other theories of liability.
- Investigations. Baker Botts lawyers defend consumer products companies in public and non-public criminal and civil antitrust investigations, including guiding companies through the challenges of cartel investigations. We also regularly handle internal investigations.
- Counseling. Our clients rely on us for advice on difficult business issues and interactions with other market players. This counseling relates to virtually all legal and policy issues facing consumer products companies including those relating to pricing (e.g., public price announcements, price gouging, MFN clauses, MAP and UPP policies, price discrimination), distribution (e.g., dual distribution systems, customers as competitors, private label, competition for shelf space, territorial exclusivity and exclusive dealing relationships, dealer/distributor terminations, network exclusion) and retail sales (e.g., category captains, shelf/space allocation, internet sales, pricing parity). We also advise on the intersection of antitrust with consumer protection, data security & privacy, intellectual property, and other areas of law, to deliver creative solutions for our clients.
Some of our significant representations on behalf of consumer product companies include:
- Liberty Media Corporation, QVC, Inc., in defense of federal antitrust litigation brought by actress and television personality Suzanne Somers, alleging monopolization of consumer nutritional supplement market and related state unfair competition law claim.
- Ryobi and Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp. in a case alleging that several power tool and saw manufacturers had engaged in a group boycott to prevent licensing or implementing SawStop’s active injury mitigation technology for use on table saws. Court granted summary judgment on behalf of our clients.
- Manufacturer of consumer products in a worldwide investigation (United States. Canada, Mexico, Brazil, European Union, United Kingdom, Japan, Korea) involving extensive collaboration to address regulatory concerns with no criminal or civil enforcement action or follow-on civil litigation.
What Others Say About Us