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John Davies


John is a partner in the firm's antitrust group and works out of Brussels and London. He is also a former head of the group's global practice.



Antitrust, competition and trade


Clients turn to John when they need a leading competition lawyer who gives authoritative antitrust advice at the highest level. He is an experienced strategist who understands the culture of competition agencies in Europe and elsewhere.

As an accomplished advocate, he recognises the importance of addressing an agency’s concerns while representing his client in the most effective manner possible. Excellent client service is central to his practice and clients trust him to bring together the best combination of people for their work.

His clients cross industries, cultures and jurisdictions and rely on his ability to co-ordinate a multi-jurisdictional defence before different authorities. His skill lies in understanding, first, his client’s business and competition challenges, and then knowing how best to address those before relevant authorities.

John founded the Brussels office in 1989 and was managing partner for 10 years. He is the consulting editor on the leading publication on merger control, Getting the Deal Through: Merger Control, covering 72 jurisdictions. He is also Visiting Senior Fellow, King’s College, London and non-governmental adviser to the International Competition Network (ICN).

‘…John Davies who is a “sharp and creative thinker who really knows how to form an argument”.’
Chambers Global
'John "is operating at the very highest level", and is sought after for his "peerless strategic counsel" and "exemplary advocacy".'
Who's Who Legal, 2016

Recent deals/Highlights

  • Anheuser-Busch InBev on the global competition strategy for its $106bn acquisition of SABMiller, which created one of the world's largest consumer goods companies. The deal was subject to regulatory clearances in more than 30 countries and required remedies including a significant disposal of assets across the US, Europe and Asia and public interest commitments in several jurisdictions. 
    Described as 'massive' the merger was named 'Global Deal of the Year 2016' by The American Lawyer and Freshfields' role was commended as 'Standout' in the 2016 Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Awards.
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch in its successful defence of two European Commission investigations into alleged infringements in the credit default swaps (CDS) market. Unusually, the Commission dropped its investigation after having formally stated its objections to the parties.
  • Rexam on the global merger control aspects, including in-depth investigations and remedies negotiations in the EU, US and Brazil, of its £4.3bn public bid by US rival Ball Corporation, bringing together the world's two largest producers of drinks cans. 
  • Honeywell, the multinational conglomerate, in connection with the merger control aspects (including Phase I clearance with remedies from the European Commission and clearance from Brazil's CADE) of the divestiture of its Friction Materials business to Federal Mogul through a mixture of asset and share sales in multiple jurisdictions.


In April 2016, John was named 'Global Competition Lawyer of the Year' in Global Competition Review's  6th annual awards. In 2015, John won the Antitrust Writing Awards for Best Antitrust Academic Article - Mergers.

Career to date

John worked as a case officer in the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition.

Qualifications and education

Solicitor, England and Wales
Solicitor, Ireland
Foreign lawyer registered with the Brussels Bar 


English, French

  • London

  • 65 Fleet Street
  • London EC4Y 1HT
  • T +44 20 7936 4000
  • F +44 20 7832 7001

    Direct line
    T +44 20 7832 7203
    F +44 20 7108 7203

  • Brussels

  • Bastion Tower
  • Place du Champ de Mars/
  • Marsveldplein 5
  • B-1050 Brussels
  • T +32 2 504 7000
  • F +32 2 504 7200

  • john.davies@freshfields.com
  • vCard (Download John's contact details)
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