Firm / Organisation

Nortons Inc

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This content is provided by Nortons Inc.

Nortons’ Directors: Anthony Norton, Anton Roets, John Oxenham, Paul Russell and Warwick Radford
Other attorneys:

Firm Overview
Nortons Inc. specialises primarily in competition law, litigation, general regulatory work and white collar crime, offering specialist expertise, personalised service, as well as strategic and creative legal advice. The firm has extensive experience across a range of industries including the agricultural, automotive, aviation, banking, construction, energy, fast moving consumer goods, finance, general industrial, healthcare, hospitality, media, oil and gas, pharmaceutical, retail, technology and telecommunications sectors. Nortons’ attorneys have been involved in a number of matters in various African jurisdictions, such as South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mauritius, Kenya, Tanzania and COMESA

Main Areas of Practice:

Market Inquiries:
Nortons is representing the following leading, listed South African companies in current market inquiries conducted by the South African Competition Commission:
■ Netcare Hospital Group in the private sector healthcare market inquiry
■ Pick n Pay (South Africa’s second largest grocery retailer) in the grocery retail sector market inquiry
■ Telkom (South Africa’s largest fixed line telephone company) in respect of the mobile data market inquiry

Merger-related Matters:
Nortons has recently been involved in the following seminal competition law merger cases in South Africa:
Caxton and two others v Multichoice and two others:
In this matter, Caxton, the Media Monitoring Project Benefit Trust (MMA) and S.O.S Support Public Broadcasting Coalition (SOS) (all represented by Nortons) sought an order requiring Multichoice (South Africa’s largest pay television operator) and the South African Broadcasting Corporation, a state‐owned company (the SABC), to notify a Commercial and Master Channel Distribution Agreement concluded between the parties in July 2013 (the Agreement) as a merger. In terms of the agreement, Multichoice undertook to pay the SABC fees of more than R500 million over five years in exchange for the use by Multichoice of SABC’s archive material for purposes of broadcasting an SABC entertainment channel on the Multichoice platform and, in addition, the SABC agreed not to encrypt its free to air channels when South Africa migrated to digital terrestrial television. The appellants (Caxton, MMA and SOS) argued that the Agreementconstituted a merger, as defined
■ The Competition Appeal Court required the Competition Commission to conduct a further investigation into the matter and the Commission has concluded that the agreement did confer material influence upon Multichoice in respect of a crucial part of the SABC’s strategic conduct, being the approach to encryption
■ Before the Commission completed its investigation, there was a further application relating to the breadth of the Commission’s powers of investigation and this was ultimately resolved by way of an order by the Constitutional Court
Hosken Consolidated Investments Limited (‘HCI’) and Tsogo– this matter involves an internal restructuring between two entities which are under sole control of HCI and where the combination of the two entities was considered by the Competition Tribunal when HCI acquired sole control over Tsogo. In response to a request for an advisory opinion, the Commission held that the restructuring should be notified. The parties approached the Tribunal which supported the position of the Commission. However, the Competition Appeal Court overturned the Tribunal’s approach. The Commission has appealed the matter to the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court’s decision in this regard will be crucial for setting the approach of the South African Competition Authorities to the question as to whether internal restructurings could constitute notifiable mergers

Nortons has also been involved in the following transactions:
■ Nortons represented the cement producer AfriSam in relation to a proposed merger with Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC), which was subsequently abandoned
■ Nortons successfully represented both Netcare and the Akeso Group (being a group of privately owned psychiatric hospitals) in relation to securing competition approval by Netcare for its acquisition of the Akeso Group as well as Netcare in respect of the acquisition of the Lakeview hospital
■ Nortons successfully represented Monsanto in South Africa in relation to the acquisition by Bayer of Monsanto
■ Nortons represented both Samsung and Harman (the world’s leading automotive electronics producer) in relation to the acquisition by Samsung of Harman
■ Nortons represented Samsung in HP’s $1.05 billion acquisition of Samsung’s global printer business
■ Nortons represented Anglo American in relation to its disposal of its interests in the Pandora joint venture and of its interests in the Union Mine as well as its acquisition of Glencore’s interests in the Mototolo Joint Venture

Litigation-related Matters:
■ Nortons is currently representing ABSA/Barclays Africa in relation to the Competition Commission’s investigations into allegations by the Competition Commission relating to collusion by various banks in respect of forex trading
■ Nortons successfully represented the Dawn Group in a case involving alleged market allocation between Dawn (through its subsidiary DPI) and Sangio Pipe (in which Dawn has subsequently acquired all of the remaining shares), arising from a provision in the Sangio Shareholders’ Agreement that was in place at the time. The Commission’s case of market allocation was dismissed by the Competition Appeal Court and the Commission’s appeal to the Constitutional Court was also dismissed
■ Nortons successfully represented Pick n Pay in relation to Massmart’s complaint before the Competition Tribunal regarding exclusive lease agreements in retail shopping centres. Massmart’s complaint that the exclusive lease agreements were anti‐competitive, was dismissed by the Tribunal

Nortons has also represented:
■ WBHO (South Africa’s largest construction company) in relation to the Competition Commission’s investigation into the construction industry and fast‐track settlement process and other subsequent related matters, including the claim by the City of Cape Town regarding damages that it alleges it has suffered as a result of alleged collusion in relation to the construction of the Green Point stadium
■ Consolidated Wire Industries in respect of the Competition Commission’s referral of the wire cartel
■ Scaw Metals Group in respect of the Competition Commission’s referral of the scrap steel cartel