Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)

Catherine Gordley

Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Of Counsel

Catherine Gordley works as of counsel for Van Bael & Bellis based in their Brussels office where she focuses on EU competition law. She specialises in representing clients before the European Commission in complex merger proceedings as well as in antitrust and abuse of dominance investigations. Catherine has particular experience in merger control, including advising clients in Phase II merger proceedings and in other transactions requiring remedies. Her merger experience spans a wide range of sectors, including financial services, aviation, steel, chemicals other basic industries. Her practice includes advising on distribution, licensing and abuse of dominance issues, particularly in the luxury/retail goods and media sectors. Catherine is also active in the life sciences sector, advising pharmaceutical companies on matters related to distribution, pricing, product denigration and generic/biosimilar market entry.

Auteurs associés

Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Van Bael & Bellis
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)


7391 Bulletin

Catherine Gordley The EU Court of Justice AG Kokott supports setting aside the General Court’s ruling and overturning the prohibition order of a merger between telecoms (Telefónica UK / Hutchison 3G UK)


On 20 October 2022, Advocate General Kokott issued an opinion that the General Court (“GC”) had erred in its ruling in the C.K. Telecoms case by misstating the correct legal test to prohibit an oligopolistic merger and for engaging in an overly broad legal review of the Commission’s decision. AG (...)

Catherine Gordley The EU Court of Justice AG Kokott supports the use of Article 102 TFEU to assess a merger ex post provided that the transaction was not initially assessed using traditional tools (Towercast)


On 13 October 2022, Advocate General Kokott issued a non-binding opinion to the Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) in the Towercast preliminary ruling request, expressing the view that concentrations that are not notifiable ex-ante under the EU Merger Regulation (“EUMR”) or national (...)

Catherine Gordley The EU Commission prohibits a big biotech firm’s completed acquisition of a promising biotech startup developing an early detection cancer test (Illumina / GRAIL)


On 6 September 2022, the European Commission (“Commission”) announced its decision to prohibit Illumina from acquiring cancer detection test producer Grail, although the parties had already completed the transaction against the Commission’s instructions in August of 2021. Interestingly, this (...)

Catherine Gordley The EU General Court upholds the Commission’s decision to block a joint venture between two steel producers on the grounds that the Commission must be shown a degree of deference when making its significant impediment of effective competition assessment (ThyssenKrupp / Tata Steel)


On 22 June 2022, the GC upheld in full the Commission’s 2019 decision to block a joint venture between ThyssenKrupp and Tata Steel (“the JV”). This was the first appeal of a merger prohibition since the GC overturned the Commission’s prohibition of CK Hutchison’s proposed acquisition of O2 UK in (...)

Catherine Gordley The EU General Court upholds a €28M fine for gun jumping in a two-stage transaction to acquire a medical imaging business (Canon / Toshiba Medical Systems)


On 18 May 2022, the General Court of the European Union (“GC”) rejected Canon’s appeal of a € 28 million gun jumping fine imposed by the European Commission (“Commission”) in 2019. The judgment is the latest in a string of Commission appellate victories regarding violations of merger control (...)

Catherine Gordley The EU Commission finds that Hungary has violated EU merger rules by vetoing an insurance company for the acquisition of a subsidiary (AEGON / Vienna Insurance)


On 21 February 2022, the European Commission (“Commission”) adopted a decision finding that Hungary had violated Article 21 of the EU Merger Regulation (“EUMR”) by vetoing the Vienna Insurance Group AG Wiener Versicherung Gruppe’s (“VIG”) acquisition of AGEON’s Hungarian subsidiary. In July 2021, (...)

Catherine Gordley, Marc Freedman The EU Commission, along with the German and UK Competition Authorities clears the acquisition of a provider of customer relationship management software by a Big Tech company (Meta / Kustomer)


On 27 January 2022, the Commission conditionally cleared Meta’s (formerly Facebook) acquisition of Kustomer, a small, innovative customer relationship manager (“CRM”) software creator. In a parallel process, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) cleared the same transaction with regard to Germany (...)

Catherine Gordley The EU Commission prohibits the proposed merger between two shipbuilding companies (Hyundai Heavy Industries / Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering)


On 13 January 2022, the European Commission (“Commission”) announced its decision to prohibit Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings’ (“HHIH”) acquisition of rival Korean shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., Ltd (“DSME”). The Commission was concerned that the transaction would give (...)

Andrzej Kmiecik, Catherine Gordley, Giovanni Pregno The Italian Competition Authority imposes fines totalling €203M on two Big Tech companies for discriminatorily selecting re-sellers of one company’s products on the other company’s e-commerce platform (Apple / Beats)


On 16 November 2021, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) imposed a fine of € 68.7 million on Amazon and € 134.5 million on Apple for infringing Article 101 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”) with regard to the distribution of Apple products over Amazon Marketplace (...)

Catherine Gordley The EU Commission imposes a € 7.5 million fine on a chemical company for providing misleading information during the review of its acquisition (Merck / Sigma-Aldrich)


On 3 May 2021, the Commission imposed a € 7.5 million fine on Sigma-Aldrich for providing incorrect and misleading information during the Commission’s review of its acquisition by Merck. While this is only the third fine the Commission has imposed on this basis, it extends the Commission’s (...)

Catherine Gordley The EU Commission accepts its first merger referral under Article 22 of the Merger Regulation where the transaction falls below the requisite thresholds (Illumina / GRAIL)


On 23 March 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) published Guidance outlining its new approach in accepting and encouraging referrals under Article 22 of the Merger Regulation of deals that fail to meet either the EU or Member State turnover thresholds but that nonetheless affect (...)

Catherine Gordley The EU Commission conditionally clears a merger in the radiotherapy solutions market and subjects it to interoperability commitments (Siemens / Varian Healthineers)


On 19 February 2021, the Commission conditionally cleared the acquisition of Varian by Siemens’ subsidiary Siemens Healthineers. Varian is a leading US supplier of radiotherapy solutions used to plan and deliver radiotherapy treatment, while German-based Siemens Healthineers is a leading (...)

Catherine Gordley The EU Commission conditionally clears the acquisition of a financial data products provider by a leading financial infrastructure company (Refinitiv / London Stock Exchange Group)


On 13 January 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) conditionally cleared the London Stock Exchange Group’s (“LSEG”) acquisition of financial data products provider Refinitiv following an in-depth (Phase 2) investigation. LSEG is a leading financial infrastructure company, which operates the (...)

Catherine Gordley The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal dismisses the Competition Authority’s decision and authorizes the acquisition of a company in the sports retailing sector in light of the COVID-19 pandemic (JD Sports / Footasylum)


On 13 November 2020, the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal (“CAT”) upheld an appeal brought by JD Sports against the Competition and Markets Authority’s (“CMA”) decision to prohibit its already completed acquisition of rival retailer Footasylum. On 6 May 2020, the CMA had blocked the merger between the (...)

Catherine Gordley The Polish Competition Authority issues first decision authorizing a foreign acquisition following its temporary FDI screening mechanism during the COVID-19 pandemic (H&F Corporate Investors VIII / The Center for Electronic Settlements Polish ePayments)


On 19 October 2020, the Polish Competition Authority (“UOKiK”) issued a decision authorising the Cayman Islands-based H&F Corporate Investors VIII Ltd. to acquire the Center for Electronic Settlements Polish ePayments S.A. The transaction was not notified to the UOKiK under the normal merger (...)

Catherine Gordley The EU Commission conditionally clears an acquisition between two global developers and suppliers of veterinary pharmaceuticals (Elanco Animal Health / Bayer Animal Health)


On 8 June 2020, the Commission announced its conditional clearance of Elanco’s purchase of Bayer’s animal health division (“BAH”). Both Elanco and BAH are global developers and suppliers of veterinary pharmaceuticals, and the transaction will establish the largest animal health company worldwide. (...)

William Haig, Porter Elliott, Catherine Gordley The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s decision prohibiting the acquisition of two telecommunication companies (Telefónica UK / Hutchison 3G UK)


1. Summary On 28 May 2020, the EU General Court handed down a ruling annulling the European Commission’s (“Commission”) decision prohibiting the proposed acquisition of Telefónica UK (“O2”) by Hutchison 3G UK (“Three”). The ruling has potentially significant implications for mergers in the telecoms (...)


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