Marco is Head of the EU Competition and Regulated Markets team at LK Shields and is head of a large team of corporate/commercial lawyers specialising in M&A transactions. His experience as an M&A lawyer greatly benefits his competition practice as it gives him the unique ability to understand the wider transactional context in which the competition advice is being given.
Marco has advised on many significant corporate transactions including mergers and acquisitions and complex restructurings. He has acted for many large domestic and international corporations, private equity firms, entrepreneurs, investment managers and management teams (MBOs and MBIs).
Marco heads the firm’s Healthcare and Life Sciences team having led various transactions in these sectors and advised businesses on a wide range of legal issues including regulation and compliance under Irish and EU law.
Dr Marco Hickey has considerable experience in EU and Irish competition law (antitrust) including merger control, State aid, EU customs and trade law and EU Block Exemptions Regulations. Marco is an acknowledged expert in Irish competition law and has acted in some of the most significant complaints and merger reviews conducted under the Irish Competition Act. He has written extensively on the topic of EU, Competition and Regulated Markets and is the author of "Merger Control" which was published by the Thomson Reuters group in May 2013. This is the only book to date devoted exclusively to the competition law implications of mergers and acquisitions in Ireland. He has published many articles and is often asked to comment on competition law issues and developments in publications such as the Sunday Business Post, Irish Times, Irish Independent and Sunday Independent. Marco’s PhD thesis was in competition law. Marco is very much a solution-oriented lawyer focussed on practical ways of achieving the desired commercial outcome and confines his academic analysis to situations where this type of input is required to achieve the desired result.
Marco was the winner of the Client Choice Award for 2015.
Marco has been with the firm since 2000. Prior to joining LK Shields, he practiced in the Brussels office of Squire Patton Boggs and the London office of Clifford Chance and then with another leading firm in Dublin.
Marco is recognised as a Leading Individual for EU and Competition by Legal 500 2023 and is ranked in Who’s Who Legal Competition 2023.
- Provided competition advice to a multi-disciplinary professional services firm in relation to the purchase of an IT company.
- Provided competition advice to Universal Motors/Gowan Group on the acquisition of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Ireland DAC.
- Advising Scania on its Irish legal proceedings that followed on from the Commission’s finding of infringement against MAN, Volvo/Renault, Daimler, Iveco and DAF, as well as the subsequent, and more recent, finding against Scania AB.
- Advised Fane Valley on the EU and UK merger control implication of the disposal by Fane Valley of a 50% interest in Linden Foods Limited and Slaney Foods International to the ABP Food Group (“ABP”), a leading global food processor.
- Advised Denis O’Brien on the competition law aspects of the sale of the Communicorp group to the Bauer group, one of the largest radio and publishing businesses in Europe.
- Acted for Boylesports in preparing a CCPC notification in relation to the proposed acquisition by Boylesports 2 Unlimited Company of sole control of Tully Bookmakers Management Limited.
- Advised a major Irish company in relation to the State aid aspects of a proposed Government measure.
- Advised in relation to a State aid complaint relating to NAMA.
- Provided State aid advice to RASA in the context of litigation against Aer Lingus.
- Advised a leading distributor of industrial tools in the context of the collection of anti-dumping duties. The project involved analysing and making detailed submissions on a wide range of complex principles of Irish and EU law.
- Advised Reach plc in its acquisition of certain assets of Northern & Shell. This was the only Phase 2 merger review carried out by the CCPC in 2018 which involved remedies. The transaction, being a media merger, involved notification to both the CCPC and the Minister of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
- The firm advised SS&C Technologies Holdings, Inc., a leading global provider of software products and software-enabled services to the financial services sector, in its significant global acquisition of certain assets of DST Systems, Inc, a major provider of technology-based information processing and servicing solutions. The case involved notification of the transaction to the CCPC. The transaction was approved by the CCPC in Phase 1.
- Advised the seller, Topaz Investments Limited, on the competition law aspects of the sale of Topaz Energy Group Limited, Resource Property Investment Fund plc and Esso Ireland Limited to Alimentation Couche-Tard of Canada. This was approved by the EU Commission under the EU Merger Control Regulation.
- Advised Kendrick Investments on the competition aspects of the acquisition of Topaz, Ireland’s largest fuel and convenience brand. The transaction was notified to, and cleared by, the EU Commission under the EU Merger Control Regulation.
- Acted for Communicorp Group Limited in the competition law aspects of the acquisition of Today FM, FM104 and Highland Radio.
- Advised the French multinational Veolia SA, on the competition law aspects of the sale of its Irish operations to Greenstar. The transaction involved a merger of two of the largest players in the commercial and industrial waste sector in Ireland. The merger was cleared unconditionally after a Phase 2 review.
- Advised News Corporation on the Irish competition law aspects of its US$5.3 billion acquisition of Dow Jones (the target business included the Wall Street Journal). The transaction was cleared following a Phase 1 review.
- Advised the French multinational Egis Group on the EU Merger Control implications of the acquisition of certain Irish assets from a subsidiary of NTR, the international renewable energy group.
- The firm was involved in an innovative move in Irish competition law circles when it acted for the plaintiffs Leanort Ltd, Hytherm (Ireland) Ltd and Hytherm Ltd in the first-ever case before the Irish Courts in which an interlocutory injunction was granted to prohibit a breach of European competition law rules.
- Marco has considerable experience on the interaction between competition law and examinership. For example, he advised on the acquisition by Tedcastles Oil Products Limited (Top Oil) of Fate Park Limited in the context of examinership proceedings before the Irish High Court. The complex acquisition was carried out under a scheme of arrangement and was cleared following a Phase 1 investigation.
- Acted for the management team of Elverys Sports in relation to the competition law aspects of a buy out of the business.
- Acted for Millstreet Equestrian Services in a complaint against Show Jumping Ireland alleging infringement of EU and Irish competition law. The resulting investigation by Irish authorities was closed following material amendments to the Rules of Show Jumping Ireland.
- Acted for Newstalk regarding complaints against state broadcaster RTÉ concerning a breach of State Aid and general competition rules.
- Advised Baycliffe Limited, an investment vehicle, on the competition law aspects in relation to the joint acquisition of Blue Ocean Associates, a British oil trader with a turnover of more than €5.1 billion, along with Trafigura Beheer BV the Dutch multinational commodity trading company. The concentration was notified to, and cleared by, the EU Commission under the EU Merger Regulation.
- The team advised the Gowan Group in regard to the acquisition of the exclusive distributor of Opel branded motor vehicles in Ireland.
- The team advised the buyer on its acquisition of the MSL Motor Group’s Volkswagen dealership in Dublin.
- Acted for the sellers of the issued share capital of Automatic Plastics Limited to Comar in the US whose principal owners are investment funds managed by Morgan Stanley Capital Partners.
- Acted for the sellers of a software company in relation to a sale to a UK plc.
- Acted for Reach plc, the largest commercial national and regional news publisher in the UK, on the purchase from INM of the remaining 50% stake in Independent Star Limited, which publishes the Irish Daily Star.
- Advised Reach plc, the largest publisher of national and local newspapers in the UK, on the Irish aspects of its acquisition of certain parts of the business of Northern & Shell group.
- Acted for DEAG Deutsche Entertainment AG/Kilimanjaro group, the leading entertainment service group and provider of entertainment, on various transactions.
- Advised CVS (UK) Limited in its acquisition of a number of veterinary practices in Ireland.
- Advised Gardiner Group Limited in relation to the disposal of various businesses.
- Acted for an unregulated Irish Holding company in connection with its acquisition of the entire issued share capital of an existing MiFID regulated Irish-based asset management company.
- Advised the trustees of a major pension fund in a complex transaction that involved the client completing an equity investment in an ICAV to enable it to purchase a Delaware investment structure holding real estate in Ireland.
- Acted for a leading global manufacturer of medical diagnostic equipment, in relation to the disposal of the equity stake in a medical distribution company.
- Advised in relation to a transaction between two significant multinational parents of a joint venture in Ireland.
- Acted for the sellers of a very large forestry fund.
- Acted for the sellers of a cosmetic distribution company which has a portfolio of significant skincare brands known globally.
- Acted on the restructuring of a substantial fund created from the proceeds of the sale of businesses involving well known global brands.
- Acted on the restructuring of a large US multinational active in the life sciences sector with a significant manufacturing presence in Ireland.
- Acted for a large US multinational energy company in regard to the divestiture of an Irish business. This involved coordinating between the Irish and US operations and a complex restructuring process.
- Acted for a well-known international financial services company in relation to various funding rounds.
- Acting for provider of services to applicants seeking authorisation for medicinal products.
- Acting for provider of services to firm's conducting clinical trials in specific areas.
- Advised a leading global medical technology company involved in the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of innovative, high-technology therapies and products for the wound care, regenerative medicine and therapeutic support system markets.
- Advised a well-known US manufacturer of medical diagnostic devices, patient monitoring systems and miniature precision lamps.
- Advised a major US multinational life sciences group in regard to the restructuring of its group operations in Europe, including the closure of a manufacturing facility in Ireland which involved addressing many legal issues in different areas including supply arrangements, customs matters, data protection, IDA Grant Agreements, employment and commercial property.
- Acted for a major multinational group in relation to its investment in a highly regulated medical devices manufacturer based in Galway. This client is a global custom manufacturer for the medical device and healthcare industries.
- Advised a multinational producer of medical devices on a range of Irish law and regulatory issues since its acquisition of a manufacturing plant in Ireland.
- Advised a leading innovation driven pharmaceutical group on various regulatory issues.
- Advised the shareholders of various clinics in Ireland.
- Acted for the hospital operator Triad Hospitals, Inc., on the purchase and subsequent sale of a privately owned full-service hospital in the Dublin area developed in conjunction with Johns Hopkins Medicine International.
- Advised a global medical technology company serving the needs of acute and long-term care facilities.
- Acted for specialist packaging firm Venture Packaging in the sale of the company to US multinational Cardinal Health.