Robert Bell is a Competition and regulatory specialist with over 30 years of experience advising clients on complex competition and regulatory matters involving some of the leading cases before the Competition & Markets Authority, the European Commission, and the UK Courts. He has practised in both London & Brussels. He has advised clients on a range of competition law issues including merger control, cartels, competition investigations, and competition litigation, representing them before competition regulators like the CMA, OFCOM, FCA, and the EU Commission and before the Courts (the Court of Justice of the European Union & national courts.)
He has extensive experience advising private sector suppliers on the application of public procurement law, ensuring that their rights are safeguarded in the tender process.
Robert has a sector specialism in advising international technology companies and others on the application of competition law to e-commerce and digital platforms. He also advises on a range of other regulatory issues including regulated sectors (telecoms, energy, medical devices, financial services) international trade and customs, economic sanctions, subsidy control /state aid, national security, and foreign investment filings.
Robert was the former Chair and now Member of the City of London Law Society Competition Law Committee, which liaises with the UK Government, and UK and EU competition regulators in connection with the reform of competition law and practice. He was also Master of the Worshipful Company of Solicitors of the City of London and President of the City of London Law Society 2020-2022.
Examples of work
EU & UK Merger Control
- Acting for a major car rental firm in obtaining unconditional merger clearance from the Competition & Markets Authority in respect of an acquisition of a specialist automotive software company.
- Advising on and obtaining clearance from the European Commission for $9bn merger of equals between a pharmaceutical testing company and a health data provider.
- Obtained clearance from the European Commission under EU Merger Regulation in connection with the $3bn sale of a division of a major Industrial Cranes and Ports equipment manufacturer with commitments at Phase 1.
- Advised US-headquartered specialist paper machine clothing manufacturer in obtaining unconditional merger clearance in the UK and Portugal in connection with a proposed merger of its paper machine clothing business with that of its competitor.
- Advising a major petrol retailer in respect of the CMA’s Market Study into Road Fuel Pricing.
- Advising a musical instrument manufacturer in relation to a CMA competition investigation into resale price maintenance and internet discounting.
- Advising a large international direct marketing company on the competition law aspects of its EU e-commerce strategy and distribution policies.
- Acting for a major pharmaceutical company in relation to competition law compliance advice on its pricing, discounts, and rebate policies.
- Advising an international industrial tools and equipment manufacturer in relation to allegations of abuse of dominance through exclusionary pricing and discriminatory discounting.
- Advising technology companies upon the implementation of the EU Digital Markets Act and Digital Services Act.
- Advising financial services companies on the impact of the DMA and DSA upon the technology sector.
- Advising on the UK Digital Markets, Competition, and Consumer Bill.
National Security & FDI Clearances.
- Advising clients on the structure of merger transactions with defence or national security implications and the application of the UK and EU FDI regimes.
- Advising a leading environmental consultancy and services group on the acquisition of a defence contractor and obtaining clearance under the National Security & Investment Act 2021.
- Obtaining clearance under the National Security & Investment Act 2021 for the acquisition by a major French aerospace and technology Group of a UK-based aerospace company.
- Advising a large international truck manufacturer on the application of the National Security & Investment Act 2021 and EU FDI regimes in relation to the investment into a joint venture involving automotive technology.
- Representing a leading marine services company in relation to a public procurement dispute with a major port operator over the award of a €30 million maintenance dredging contract.
- Advising a leading marine services company in connection with a contract with the MOD, BAE, and a Port Authority in respect of the dredging of Port facilities to allow the exit of nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers.
- Advising an environment services company on requests under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations following the award of a public works contract.
Customs, Trade & Regulatory
- Advising a major quoted UK electrical distributor on the export of their products and application of UK and EU export controls, conducting an export control audit, and undertaking compliance training.
- Advising an importer of electrical equipment on the application of EU Product Safety Directives in relation to CE marking of their products and on RoHS and WEEE compliance.
- Advising a major US outdoor equipment manufacturer in relation to product safety issues and recalls and defending the company before UK Trading standards and other European product safety regulators in Germany and Sweden.