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Trading and distribution

Day to day trading can generate a multitude of competition law issues. How should distribution networks be structured? How can suppliers legally implement their pricing strategy? What are the pros and cons of using an agency? Can exclusive territories be given? What controls on internet selling are allowed?

At Eversheds Sutherland we are specialists in advising on trading and distribution issues. We relish the opportunity to work with our clients to understand their markets and their business objectives. We combine this with our experience and specialist sector knowledge to come up with creative and innovative methods of ensuring our clients avoid any competition law issues.

We regularly advise on:

  • structuring distribution to ensure our clients' commercial objectives are met;
  • the establishment, implementation and operation of selective and exclusive distribution networks, agency and franchising models;
  • parallel imports and internet sales;
  • pricing strategies, including discounts, rebates and bonus structures for companies with high market shares;
  • the establishment and implementation of joint ventures and collaborations between competitors;
  • information sharing and market transparency; concerns, particularly in ‘hub and spoke' situations and trade associations;

Our team is open, honest and hard-working, with a flexible, practical and commercial attitude to help you achieve the right outcome.

What others say

"We instructed Eversheds to structure our pan-European distribution arrangements for a new project so that they complied fully with competition law. We were very satisfied with the service provided and the high quality of the advice. Their approach was legally pragmatic and sensible. The project was very efficiently managed and executed across 17 jurisdictions."
Phil Crowhurst, General Counsel & Company Secretary- Sony UK

"[Eversheds have] a natural ability to reconcile our business issues and their strong legal expertise, always with a friendly and appreciable sense of satisfying the client. From very technical commercial issues to important legal and multijurisdictional work, we can count on Eversheds to always respond efficiently and on time."
Corinne Coscas, General Counsel, LVMH Perfumes & Cosmetics


Examples of our experience include advising:

  • Sony and one other major manufacturer of consumer electrical goods on the introduction of Europe-wide selective distribution networks for high end audio visual products; drafting a suite of documents and providing advice across multiple jurisdictions.
  • LVMH Perfumes & Cosmetics on a strategic review of issues affecting selective distribution and in relation to the review of a model form distribution agreement across a total of 17 jurisdictions in the EEA/Switzerland and nine other jurisdictions worldwide.
  • Volkswagen UK and other commercial and passenger vehicle manufacturers on implementing selective distribution networks for the sale of vehicles, parts and accessories and for repairs.
  • a leading manufacturer of luxury branded goods on a dispute with an authorised reseller in relation to unauthorised internet sales, including consideration of injunction proceedings as well as possible withdrawal of supply and on a wide range of contractual issues.
  • a major European manufacturer on the issues arising out of cross-distribution and long-term supply arrangements between competitors in the supply of ingredients into the craft and industrial baker sectors.
  • a major contact lens manufacturer on the restructuring of its pricing policy and trading conditions in the UK.
  • a large US multi-national agricultural products business regarding introduction of a growth-related rebate for distributors.
  • a major multi-national media company on its international distribution network and pricing policy.
  • a leading manufacturer of ready meals on the issues arising out of a co-packing agreement between competitors in the ready meals sector.



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