Simon advises firms on mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, competition investigations and market studies. He has led the economic analysis on mergers before the European Commission and the UK competition authority, as well as several other jurisdictions worldwide (US, Australia, Singapore, Korea). He advises on assessments of alleged abusive conduct and dominance, information exchange, and vertical agreements (including online distribution agreements, MFNs and retail price maintenance).
Prior to joining CRA, Simon spent over six years at the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (and its predecessor the Office of Fair Trading) where he directed the team of economists analysing UK mergers as Head of Merger Economics and was involved in most major merger decisions during his time there. Following his time at the CMA, Simon was a Senior Civil Servant in the UK Government responsible for directing the economic analysis for UK consumer and competition policy.
GCR’s Who’s Who Legal recognised Simon as a Future Leader (under 45 years old) in Competition Economics, flagging him as one of the most highly regarded and noting he is “lauded emphatically by peers as absolutely outstanding at anticipating what the authority’s claims might be“.
Simon has led or directed the economic assessment on cases across a wide range of sectors, including:
- Retail and local markets (e.g. DFS/Sofology, Pure Gym/The Gym, Optimax/Ultralase, Breedon/Aggregate Industries, Cineworld/Picturehouse, Rank/Gala)
- Tech, platforms and digital markets (e.g. Paypal/iZettle, The Stars Group/Sky Betting, Experian/ClearScore, Just Eat/Hungryhouse, Google/Waze)
- Financial services (e.g. ICE/Trayport (for intervener), TP/ICAP, LSE/LCH.Clearnet, ICE/APX-Endex, Blackrock/Credit Suisse ETFs)
- Transport (e.g. easyJet/Air Berlin, Ryanair/Aer Lingus (minority shareholding), Eurotunnel/SeaFrance)
- Manufacturing and B2B (e.g. Cargotec/TTS, EMR/MWR, Refresco/Cott, Akzo Nobel/Metlac)
Recent project experience includes advising:
- Merging parties in PayPal‘s $2.2 billion acquisition of iZettle.
- Merging parties in the merger between Asda and Sainsbury’s.
- Merging parties in Cargotec MacGregor‘s $100 million acquisition of TTS Group (including clearance in Germany, Korea and China).
- ClearScore in its $364 million acquisition by Experian.
- Merging parties in The Stars Group‘s US$4.7 billion acquisition of Sky Betting and Gaming (2018), which combined the largest global and UK online poker platform with the largest online betting platform in the UK.
- Merging parties in BPL‘s US$1.6 billion acquisition of Biotest (2018), the two largest European suppliers of blood plasma-derived antibodies.
- Merging parties in European Metal Recycling‘s £53 million acquisition of Metal and Waste Recycling (2018)
- Refresco in its €1.3 billion acquisition of Cott Beverages (2018), creating the largest independent soft drinks bottler in Europe and North America.
- Merging parties in DFS‘s £25 million acquisition of Sofology (2017). DFS is the leading sofa retailer in the UK.
- Hungryhouse in its £240 million acquisition by Just Eat (2017), combining to create the largest take-away food ordering platform in the UK.
- easyJet in its £35 million acquisition of Air Berlin (2017), cleared unconditionally by the European Commission despite being the only airlines operating on multiple routes pre-merger.
- The complainant in the CMA’s online auctions platforms antitrust investigation (2017)
- The defendant in the CMA’s antitrust investigations in the light fittings sector (2017)
- Cineworld in its £94 million acquisition of Empire cinemas (2016)
- The main complainant in the CMA’s prohibition of ICE/Trayport (2016), a platform merger in energy and commodities derivatives trading raising vertical issues.
- Merging parties in Tullett Prebon‘s US$1.6 billion acquisition of ICAP (2016), combining the two leading voice brokers in a number of asset classes (including clearance in UK, Australia and Singapore).
The Commission’s e-commerce sector inquiry – Time to change presumptions on vertical restraints?
Competition Law & Policy Debate, 2017
The decision to investigate mergers in the UK’s voluntary regime (nominated for Antitrust Writing Award 2018 – downloadable here)
Journal of Competition Law & Economics, 2017