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Sean Ryan, Partner

Sean Ryan


Head of Competition, EU & Regulatory

Practice areas

  • Brexit
  • Commercial agreements
  • Competition, EU and Trade
  • Mergers and acquisitions

Practice notes

Sean is a highly experienced lawyer with over 22 years’ experience advising on EU law, EU and Irish Competition Law and merger control. He is Head of the Firm’s Competition, EU & Regulatory Group which is consistently ranked in legal directories, and was the first Irish lawyer to be appointed on behalf of the Irish Competition Authority (now the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission) to act as ‘Monitoring Trustee’ (in connection with the sale of Irish radio station FM104).

Consistently ranked in ‘The Best Lawyers in Ireland’, Legal 500 and Chambers Europe, he has been involved in and/or advised on a large proportion of the more significant merger control and/or competition investigations in Ireland over many years. Sean is described as:

“extremely knowledgeable in his specialist area.." - Chambers Europe;

"an outstanding lawyer, incredibly responsive to clients' needs, and tremendous at anticipating issues and bringing them to our attention in a clear and concise way.” - Chambers Europe;

“He helps to define the client's position, and explains the benefits and drawbacks of what to sacrifice and what to hold on to." - Chambers Global; and

“is noted for his solid competition know-how” - Legal 500.

Sean advises on all aspects of EU and Irish competition / antitrust law, including Irish and EU merger control, competition law aspects of commercial agreements, state aid, joint ventures, pricing, refusal to supply, abuse of dominance, anti-competitive agreements, competition litigation, leniency applications, foreign direct investment screening; the digital markets act; client training and compliance programmes, and investigations and dawn raids.

Sean’s experience includes:

• Advising on all competition law and merger control aspects in establishing the high profile joint venture (Synch), involving all the main banks in the Irish market, to develop a new mobile instant payments service for Ireland. The first joint venture between the main banks in the Irish market in more than 20 years.

• Advising a number of Private Equity Groups on all merger control aspects (including filings with the European Commission (EU Merger Control)) relating to the acquisition of two of Ireland’s primary toll roads – the M8 Rathcormac/Fermoy Bypass and the M7 Limerick Southern Ring Road.

• Advising on all aspects of the merger control process relating to the acquisition by one of the main Irish banks of a leading financial services firm (with assets of over Eur 8bn).

• Advising in relation to all merger control and competition law aspects in respect of the establishment of a commercial joint venture between the NTMA (in its capacity as controller and manager of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund) and Cork County Council.

• Advising a US client on Merger Control and Investment Screening requirements across various jurisdictions in respects of its acquisition of a global e-Commerce company.

Making submissions on behalf of a client to the European Commission in respect of the EU Vertical Block Exemption Regulation.

• Advising in respect of abuse of dominance, including the issuing of proceedings.

• Advising on all competition law and merger control aspects of a Private Equity Group’s acquisition of a number of companies in the healthcare sector.

• Advising in relation to all merger control aspects in respect of the acquisition by a portfolio company of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund of one of the largest childcare groups operating in the Irish market.

• Advising on follow-on actions for damages arising from the European Commission’s decision to fine certain truck manufacturers Eur 2.9bn for participating in a cartel.

• Advising on all aspects of the merger control process relating to the acquisition by a multinational groceries and general merchandise retailer of a number of prominent Irish supermarkets.

• Advising clients on a CCPC investigation within the healthcare sector, including undertakings proposed to the CCPC.

• Advising clients subject to dawn raids by the CCPC.

• Advising a multinational client on it grounds of complaint against a competitor refusing access to certain online platforms.

• Advising a private equity fund manager on all aspects of the merger control process relating to its acquisition of 8 airlines active in a number of jurisdictions in the provision of air passenger and cargo services.

• Advising on State Aid elements relating to the €350 million contract for a 600,000 tonne incinerator.

• Advising a client on all aspects of the merger control process in relation to the acquisition of various insurance brokers.