Mark McCowan

Partner. Melbourne / Sydney.

+61 3 9672 3335 / +61 2 9210 6533 |   |  vCard
Mark McCowan

Mark is a lateral and strategic thinker who guides clients through their most complex regulatory problems.

He specialises in competition and consumer protection law – in transactional, litigious and advisory matters and across a wide range of industries.

Mark has a track record of securing merger clearances for difficult transactions for clients including Johnson & Johnson, BP and Staples.

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Mark is a lateral and strategic thinker who guides clients through their most complex regulatory problems.

He specialises in competition and consumer protection law – in transactional, litigious and advisory matters and across a wide range of industries.

Mark has a track record of securing merger clearances for difficult transactions for clients including Johnson & Johnson, BP and Staples.

He also has particular expertise in handling major regulatory investigations and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) prosecutions in concentrated industries including oil and gas, brewing, grocery retailing, infrastructure and healthcare. He regularly represents clients in cartel immunity applications and investigations and in seeking other clearances and authorisations from the ACCC.

Mark has considerable experience in multi-jurisdictional matters and has worked in a leading antitrust practice in Washington DC.

“Efficient and decisive” Asia Pacific Legal 500
Mark McCowan

Mark's Expertise

  • Staples’ proposed global acquisition of Office Depot (trading in Australia as OfficeMax) Acting for Staples on the successful application for ACCC clearance of its global proposed acquisition of Office Depot.
  • Johnson & Johnson’s global acquisition of Pfizer’s consumer healthcare business Acting for Johnson & Johnson in obtaining ACCC clearance for its global acquisition of Pfizer's consumer healthcare business - which established Johnson & Johnson as the world’s largest consumer healthcare business. Also acted for J&J on a number of other acquisitions and disposals.
  • Anheuser-Busch InBev’s global acquisition of SABMiller Acting for SABMiller in respect of the ACCC clearance of the proposed US$104 billion acquisition of SABMiller plc by Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV – at the time, the third largest takeover in history. Also acted for Anheuser-Busch InBev in relation to subsequent bolt-on acquisitions.
  • BP Australia’s acquisition of Reliance Petroleum Acting for BP Australia in obtaining unconditional clearance from the ACCC for its acquisition of Reliance Petroleum. Also acted for BP on the disposal of its South Australian retail network and its proposed acquisition of Woolworths’ entire 530 site network, which was described by the ACCC Chairman as the most significant merger review of 2017.
  • Defence of BP in price information sharing prosecution Acting for BP on the defence of an ACCC prosecution of five petrol retailers and a data intermediary in relation to the alleged anticompetitive effects of an industry price information sharing scheme. This litigation was an important test case regarding the application of Australian competition laws to price information sharing arrangements and was settled without penalties or admissions.

Mark's Leadership

  • Law Council of Australia Competition and Consumer Committee Member
  • American Bar Association Member and Newsletter Editor, International Antitrust Committee
  • Australian American Leadership Dialogue Participant

What others say

  • “Leading Lawyer - Competition/Antitrust” Chambers Asia Pacific Guide, 2012-2018
  • “Very good grasp of competition law ... excellent, timely and clear advice” Chambers Asia Pacific Guide, 2016
  • “Mark's timeliness, proactivity and really high-quality work are highlighted by sources. Clients say: He knows our business and picks up on the nuances.” Chambers Asia Pacific Guide, 2015
  • “Clients identify Mark as a 'very smart' lawyer who 'knows the law yet is also practical'” Chambers Asia Pacific Guide, 2014
  • “Thinks very well and concisely about the issues” Chambers Asia Pacific Guide, 2013
  • “Efficient and decisive” Asia Pacific Legal 500, 2010/11
  • “Mark McCowan is quick in terms of understanding facts - he articulates issues in such a way that they are absorbed quickly” Chambers Asia Pacific Guide, 2011
  • “'2010 Legal A-team' - one of 109 best Australian lawyers nominated by leading general counsel in a 2010 survey” Commissioned by the Australian Corporate Lawyers Association and published in The Australian newspaper
  • “Unfailingly good-humoured, detailed, thoughtful, strategic and always thinking about different ways of working with the information” Chambers Asia Pacific Guide, 2018

Mark's Thinking