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Freshfields forecasts 10 key themes for global antitrust in 2024

Global law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Freshfields) has released its annual Global Antitrust 10 Key Themes report for 2024 – shining a light on the most significant global antitrust trends for the coming 12 months.

From much debated ex ante digital regulation in Europe through the Digital Markets Act to new outbound foreign investment review in the US following President Biden’s August 2023 executive order, antitrust and regulation are permeating further into the commercial landscape. In doing so, the web of rules facing cross-border businesses is becoming more complex and the risks of non-compliance are increasing.

Freshfields’ 2024 report spotlights the following trends:

  • new regulation and frameworks, for example in digital markets and inward and outbound investment, are taking hold around the world;
  • growing pressure on antitrust agencies globally to extend their activity to support governments in delivering economic growth and inspiring innovation, as well as to help protect consumers;
  • new and emerging theories of harm in the global M&A context, with antitrust agencies seeking not only to broaden their already expansive jurisdiction, but also to further widen the boundaries of established substantive assessment; and
  • increasing demands on authorities to take steps that help companies collaborate within the rules on sustainability initiatives.

Freshfields’ Global Head of Antitrust, Alastair Chapman, noted: “Antitrust and regulation are playing expanded roles as agencies look to tackle more complex and unprecedented issues. Amid the unpredictability and change, one thing is certain: global antitrust will remain a searingly hot topic in 2024. Anticipating and proactively navigating the evolving enforcement environment remains key for businesses to remain one step ahead.”

The 10 Key Themes in this year’s report are:

  1. Taking center stage – global antitrust for the mid-2020s.
  2. Merger Enforcement – path to clearance gets even tougher.
  3. Investing across borders in 2024 – strengthened controls to protect domestic capabilities.
  4. Digital Markets – antitrust and artificial intelligence – the next frontier?
  5. Consumer driven enforcement – consumer-facing businesses in the regulatory spotlight.
  6. In Focus: Life sciences and pharma – conduct and commercial practices under the microscope.
  7. Antitrust and sustainability – will 2024 bring regulatory alignment or will the chilling effect of uncertainty persist?
  8. Dominance and monopolization – back to the future.
  9. Antitrust Investigations – uptick in enforcement with tougher powers and increased interagency cooperation.
  10. Cross border claimant strategies – focused on investigations and litigation.

This is the 14th edition of the Freshfields 10 Key Themes in Global Antitrust for 2024. Further information on this year’s report can be found here

About Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is a global law firm with a long-standing track record of successfully supporting the world's leading national and multinational corporations, financial institutions and governments on groundbreaking and business-critical mandates. Our 2,800-plus lawyers deliver results worldwide through our own offices and alongside leading local firms. Our commitment, local and multinational expertise, and business know-how means our clients rely on us when it matters most.

Freshfields is ranked by Chambers Global in Band 1 across the six areas of antitrust, corporate/M&A, litigation, international arbitration, tax, and public international law. For more information visit our home page.