Claire Reidy

Claire Reidy

Partner
Johannesburg, South Africa
T: +27 11 669 9547
E: claire.reidy@bowmanslaw.com
  • Overview
  • Experience
  • Publications & Insights

Overview

Claire is respected in the field as a leading litigator – leveraging her experience as a corporate litigation attorney and her competition expertise to handle complex and high-profile matters for major blue-chip corporations.  She has advised clients in respect of significant matters before the South African Competition Tribunal, Competition Appeal Court, High Court, Supreme Court of Appeal and Constitutional Court, as well as the Fair Competition Tribunal in Tanzania, Trade Competition and Consumers Protection Authority and Supreme Court in Ethiopia.  

In addition to her expertise in litigation, Claire advises in all aspects of competition law, including investigations relating to cartels, abuse of dominance and other prohibited practices, dawn raids, merger control, market inquiries, compliance audits and training programmes.

Claire advises clients on complex and multi-jurisdictional merger filings across Africa, including in Botswana, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, eSwatini, Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia. 

Claire is ranked by Chambers. In 2022, she was also selected by her peers for inclusion in the 14th Edition of The Best Lawyers™ in South Africa, recognised by Who’s Who Legal as a Competition Future Leader in the Partners category and as a key lawyer by The Legal 500.

Specialist Services

Relevant Experience

Claire advises on the interpretation of competition laws across a number of African jurisdictions and provides advice in all areas of competition law, including vertical and horizontal restrictive practices, abuse of dominance, competition litigation, merger control (including public interest considerations), market inquiries, and dawn raids. 

She advises clients on competition audits, compliance and training and has prepared bespoke training programs on South African and other African competition law regimes for a number of clients.

Highlights of the notable matters in respect of which Claire has advised include:

Litigation

  • Advising Facebook Inc, WhatsApp Inc and Facebook South Africa (as part of the Meta Group) in urgent interim relief proceedings launched by GovChat (Pty) Ltd and Hashtag Letstalk (Pty) Ltd and the subsequent complaint referral proceedings instituted by the South African Competition Commission. The matter is ongoing and involves issues attaching to the terms of use applicable to a platform or messaging system, the interaction between intellectual property and competition law, and public interest considerations.
  • Advising Coca Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) in proceedings launched by the Trade Competition and Consumers Protection Authority in Ethiopia (Ethiopian Authority) against CCBA’s local subsidiaries, East Africa Bottling Share Company (EABSC) and Ambo Mineral Water Share Company (Ambo). The Ethiopian Authority alleged that CCBA’s subsidiaries entered into an unlawful merger. EABSC and Ambo defended the proceedings on the basis that they are subsidiaries of CCBA – the formation of which (and control structure thereunder) was approved by the COMESA Competition Commission.  The lower Court found that there had been an unlawful merger, however, this decision was successfully reversed on appeal to the Ethiopian Appellate Tribunal and ultimately the Supreme Court. The appeal decision supports the argument that, when the COMESA Competition Commission has approved a merger notification filed by parent companies, subsidiaries of these companies do not have the obligation to file separate merger notifications to competition authorities in their respective COMESA member states.
  • Advisor to The South African Breweries in complaint proceedings before the Competition Tribunal, Competition Appeal Court and Constitutional Court concerning the company’s distribution system, including allegations of prohibited horizontal conduct (as a consequence of its dual distribution arrangements), resale price maintenance and abuse of dominance (price discrimination). Claire led a team of lawyers in successfully defending these allegations over several years of protracted litigation.
  • Advisor to Barnes Fencing Industries and Dunrose Trading 57 in respect of follow-on damages claims instituted in the High Court against ArcelorMittal South Africa pursuant to cartel conduct which ArcelorMittal admitted to as part of its settlement of complaint proceedings before the Competition Tribunal.

Mergers

  • Advisor to the South African Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition in various merger proceedings before the Competition Tribunal, including the acquisition by IRL (South Africa) Resources Investments of the assets of Mapochs Mine, the acquisition by Air Liquide Large Industries South Africa of 16 Air Separation Units owned by Sasol South Africa, and the acquisition by Shoprite Supermarkets of certain businesses of Massmart Holdings. Such advice included the negotiation and drafting of Framework Agreements and merger conditions as well as representation at hearings before the Competition Tribunal, with a particular focus on public interest considerations.
  • Advising the Imperial Group (as the seller) in relation to the acquisition by Hollard Holdings of Regent Insurance and Regent Life Assurance. Both Hollard and the target firms provide short-term and long-term insurance and other non-insurance products in South Africa. 
  • Advising SABMiller plc in relation to the consolidation of the bottling operations of SABMiller, The Coca-Cola Company and Gutsche Family Investments resulting in the creation of the biggest bottler of non-alcoholic beverages in Africa: Coca-Cola Beverages Africa. The merger involved the sale of SABMiller’s Appletiser brand, and other non-alcoholic beverages brands to The Coca-Cola Company. Competition filings were lodged and approved in South Africa, COMESA, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana and even as far afield as Honduras.
  • Advising Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV in relation to its disposal of a 54.5% stake in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa to The Coca-Cola Company in a transaction valued at USD 3.15 billion, which also involved merger notifications in a number of African jurisdictions.

Market conduct and behavioural investigations

  • Advisor to Anheuser-Busch InBev in relation to applications filed with the COMESA Competition Commission to authorise distribution agreements in the Common Market in terms of Article 20 of the COMESA Competition Regulations.
  • Advising Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa in respect of the Grocery Retail Market Inquiry conducted by the South African Competition Commission.
  • Advising Meta Platforms Inc. in the Online Intermediation Market Platforms Inquiry as well as in the Digital Media Platforms Market Inquiry.
  • Advising Barnes Fencing Industries in relation to its complaints of abuse of dominance in respect of certain steel products against Mittal South Africa.

Awards

  • Chambers and Partners – Band 4 for Competition/ Antitrust (2021-2023)
  • Who’s Who Legal – Competition Future Leader in the Partners category (2020 – 2022)
  • The Best Lawyers – Competition/ Antitrust – selection by peers for inclusion in the 12th, 13th and 14th editions (2020 – 2022)
  • The Legal 500 – as a Key Lawyer (2022)
  • Women@Competition – as a Notable Woman in Competition “40 in their 40s” (2019)
  • Global Competition Review – nominated as part of the team involved in securing regulatory approvals required for the AB InBev/SABMiller merger as matter of the year in the category: merger control, cartel, unilateral conduct, litigation or any other competition matter worldwide (2017)
  • Global Competition Review – Women in Antitrust (2016)
  • African Legal Awards – Competition and Regulatory Team of the Year (2015)

“She is very diligent and delivery-focused.”– Chambers and Partners, 2023

‘Litigator Claire Reidy is notable in the cartel and abuse of dominance cases. – Legal 500, 2022

Claire Reidy has wide-ranging experience of prohibitive practices in South Africa. She regularly represents her clients before the Competition Tribunal concerning complaints of market allocation and abuse of dominance, among other issues.”  – Chambers and Partners, 2021

Publications & Insights