Marco has been with the firm since 2000. Prior to joining LK Shields Solicitors, 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 a senior corporate partner who has advised on many significant transactions including complex restructurings, tax-driven transactions and mergers and acquisitions. He has acted for many large corporations, both domestic and international, private equity firms, entrepreneurs, investment managers and management teams (MBOs and MBIs).
He is the head of EU, Competition and Regulated Markets Team at LK Shields. He has considerable experience in EU and Irish competition law (antitrust) including merger control and State aid. Marco is also experienced in EU customs and trade law matters. Marco has advised extensively on various EU Block Exemptions Regulations including those applicable to the motor vehicle sector.
Marco is an acknowledged expert on Irish competition law and has acted in some of the most significant complaints and merger reviews conducted under the Irish Competition Act.
Marco has written extensively in 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 book is the first book exclusively devoted to the competition law implications of mergers and acquisitions in Ireland. Some of his other published articles have recently appeared in the media:
- Sunday Business Post
- Irish Times
- Irish Independent
- Sunday Independent
Marco is the Head of the firm’s Healthcare and Life Sciences team and he advises firms that are active in this sector on the various legal aspects of their business including regulation and compliance issues under Irish and EU law.
Marco is a member of the Financial Services Team advising on various regulatory matters including under the EU Markets in Financial Instruments Directives and implementing Irish Regulations.
Marco Hickey is the Irish winner of the Client Choice Award for 2015. Client Choice Awards recognise those partners around the world that stand apart for the excellent client service they provide. The criteria for the awards focus on the ability to add real value to clients’ business above and beyond other players in the market.
Acted for the selling 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 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 Trinity Mirror plc (now 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 sale of the entire issued share capital of QFF Distribution Limited and Tucks O’Brien Limited.
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. This involved navigating the process of obtaining Central Bank approval of the acquisition pursuant to relevant “acquiring transaction” rules and putting in place an appropriate MiFID compliant Business Plan for the newly acquired MiFID firm.
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. This involved not only addressing the legal complexities involved, but also ensuring that the transaction was in line with the market standard and managing various commercial conflicts.
Acted for Welch Allyn, 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. This includes advising on the optimum pre-sale restructuring and preparing for the sale of a portfolio of properties within PLCs with upwards of 17,000 shareholders.
- Acted for the sellers of a cosmetic distribution company which has a portfolio of significant skincare brands known globally. The transaction involves putting in place a complex pre-transaction multi-jurisdictional tax structure.
- Acted on the restructuring of a substantial fund created from the proceeds of the sale of businesses involving well known global brands. The transaction includes the conversion of various PLCs with bearer shares into investment companies with registered shareholders.
- Acted on a tax-driven restructuring of a large US multinational active in the life sciences sector with a significant manufacturing presence in Ireland. The transaction involves tax-driven steps in various jurisdictions throughout the world.
- 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.
- Acted for shareholders of a large multinational insurance company (which including non-Irish PLCs) in relation to the corporate and regulatory aspects of a proposed restructuring.
- Advising a major Irish company in relation to the State aid aspects of a proposed Government measure.
- Advising All Technology Ireland Limited on the State aid aspects of its Targeted Project Agreement with University College Dublin.
- Advised an individual regarding his complaint to the European Commission in respect of State aid being granted and proposed to be granted by Ireland through the operation of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).
- Advised Bemis Company Inc., on the Irish competition law and EU State aid law aspects of its acquisition of the medical device packaging operations of SteriPack Group. This involved advising on the impact on the State funding received by Steripack of the recent EU State Aid Regional Aid Guidelines.
- Acted for RASA in relation to a complaint against Ireland and Aer Lingus alleging that Aer Lingus was in receipt of State aid in regard to certain measures relating to the pension arrangements of employees of Aer Lingus contrary to Article 107(1) and 108(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). It was alleged that the contested measures were being granted in the context of the sale of Aer Lingus to IAG. The above involved very detailed, complex and novel arguments regarding the scope of the definition of State aid for the purposes of Article 107(1) of the TFEU that to date have not been the subject of reported decisions of the Commission or the European Courts.
- The firm 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.
- LK Shields advised Trinity Mirror plc (now Reach plc), the largest publisher of national and local newspapers in the UK, 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 case involved examining various markets within multiple media sectors. 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 notification included detailed submissions on the appropriate product and geographic market definition in relation to markets for which no definitive approach had previously been adopted by the CCPC or the Irish courts. The transaction was approved by the CCPC in Phase 1.
- Marco 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 one of the largest transactions in recent years in Ireland. Due to the turnover involved and the cross-border nature of the transaction, clearance from the EU Commission was required under the EU Merger Control Regulation (Case M.7899).
- Marco 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 (Case M.7183). This transaction is one of the largest transactions to take place in Ireland in recent years.
- The firm acted for Communicorp Group Limited in the acquisition of Today FM, FM104 and Highland Radio (Notification M/07/040). This transaction was innovative as it was the only ever merger clearance under Irish law to feature an up-front divestiture where the buyer for the business being divested was put in place prior to completion.
- LK Shields advised the French multinational Veolia SA, on 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 (Case M/09/024).
- The firm 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 (Case M/07/048).
- The team advised the French multinational Egis Group in the acquisition of certain Irish assets from a subsidiary of NTR, the international renewable energy group. This transaction involved the making of a joint jurisdictional submission to the EU Commission in the context of the EU Merger Regulation. The submissions were accepted by the EU Commission.
- 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 (Case M/09/016).
- The firm also acted for the management team of Elverys Sports which was in examinership and the competition issues played a significant part in securing the business which was sold following a competitive bid process, which included a well-publicised bid from Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct Group.
- LK Shields Solicitors 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 (Available here).
- LK Shields Solicitors is acting for national radio station Newstalk in two complaints against state broadcaster RTÉ concerning a breach of State Aid rules and an abuse of dominance before the European Commission and Irish Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, respectively.
- Marco and the team advised Baycliffe Limited, an investment vehicle, 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 (Case M.6617).
- The team is providing competition advice to Gowan Group Limited, the exclusive distributor of Honda and Peugeot motor vehicles in Ireland, in its acquisition of the exclusive distributor of Opel branded motor vehicles in Ireland. The transaction is subject to CCPC approval.
- The team advised Frank Keane Holdings on the filing of a merger notification in respect of its acquisition of the MSL Motor Group’s Volkswagen dealership in Dublin. This involved submissions to the CCPC on the relevant product and geographic markets as well on issues related to the EU Motor Vehicle Block Exemption Regulation which have not been considered by the CCPC previously.
- Marco advised Kinetic Concepts, Inc. the 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. Marco has advised this client since their establishment in Ireland in relation to various matters. The firm provides a full range of legal services to this client’s group including corporate, company law, corporate set up, data protection and employment.
- LK Shields advised Welch Allyn, the well-known US manufacturer of medical diagnostic devices, patient monitoring systems and miniature precision lamps, on an ongoing basis. This client is based primarily in the United States but has manufacturing, sales, and distribution facilities located throughout the world including Ireland. The firm provides a wide range of legal services to the group regarding its Irish entities, particularly on shareholding structures, commercial contracts, employment issues and competition and regulatory matters.
- Marco advised a major US multinational life sciences group in the process of restructuring its group operations in Europe, including the closure of a manufacturing facility in Ireland which involved following a tax driven structure and addressing many legal issues in different areas including supply arrangements, customs matters, data protection, IDA Grant Agreements, employment and commercial property.
- The firm acted for a major multinational group in relation to its recent 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. Marco advised the group on regulatory and corporate issues relating to the implementation of the revised corporate structure and the integration of the acquired entity in an efficient manner.
- Marco 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. This client is a subsidiary company of a multinational group which produces regulated medical devices such as orthotics, braces and back supports.
- Marco advised Eli Lily, a leading innovation driven pharmaceutical group on various regulatory issues. This client has a first class portfolio of pharmaceuticals and has a large manufacturing plant in Co. Cork which has become a centre of excellence in biopharmaceutical manufacturing technology.
- Marco acted for the shareholders of a private clinic Galway on the Irish law and regulatory aspects of the financial structuring and the raising of investor equity and debt finance for the clinic project, which was the first independently funded hospital to be opened in Ireland in twenty years. Marco also advised the same clients on Irish law and regulatory issues pertaining to the development of a medical centre in Cork, which was the first private hospital to open in Cork in ninety years.
- LK Shields 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. Marco advised this client throughout each stage of their corporate presence in Ireland.
- The firm advised a global medical technology company with an annual turnover of app. €700m, and 4,200 employees, serving the needs of acute and long-term care facilities. Marco advised on a confidential question of whether certain practices on the part of the HSE amounted to an anti-competitive practice. This project also included advising on national Public Procurement legislation from the client’s perspective, specifically on whether the practices in question implement the relevant EU Directives’ underlying principles such as transparency, fairness and proportionality apply.
- Marco acted for specialist packaging firm Venture Packaging in the sale of the company to US multinational Cardinal Health.