Sarah Keene

Sarah Keene
Vero Centre
48 Shortland Street
PO Box 8
New Zealand
+64 9 367 8133
+64 9 367 8163


Who's Who Legal Competition: Lawyers

Sarah Keene heads Russell McVeagh's highly successful competition law team, and is one of the few practitioners in New Zealand to specialise in providing competition, consumer and regulatory law advice across the corporate and litigation spectrum. She advises clients in relation to Commerce Commission investigations, prosecutions and appeals; the legality of behavioural arrangements and conduct; clearances and authorisations of mergers and acquisitions and generally in relation to competition law advice, appeals and judicial reviews.

She began her career with Russell McVeagh and became a partner at the firm in 2006. Her experience also includes working as a senior associate in another New Zealand law firm and working in the European competition and regulatory team at a magic circle firm in London.

In 2017, Sarah presented to many different audiences, including the Law and Economics Association of New Zealand (“Lessons Learned from Sky-Vodafone”), and participated in a panel on the topic of drip pricing at the Commerce Commission's “Competition Matters” conference, as well as on wider professional development topics, such as the ADLSI's "Finding Your Way" webinar. 

Sarah is the only New Zealander ranked as a “star individual” in competition and antitrust by Chambers Asia-Pacific 2018, making her the highest ranked competition lawyer in the country. Additionally, in 2018 and 2016 Sarah was rated New Zealand Competition Lawyer of the Year by the International Law Office Client Choice Awards. Sarah has also featured twice in 2013 and 2016 as the only New Zealander in the Global Competition Review's “100 women in antitrust” and is recognised as a leading lawyer for competition law by Best Lawyers 2018.

Sarah is the leading competition law author for Thomson-Reuter's Global Guide, and contributed to the American Bar Association’s Year in Review and Global Competition Review: Merger Enforcement. She regularly speaks at competition law conferences in New Zealand and Australia.

Sarah leads her team on several market-leading deals and litigation. Recent highlights include: assisting Spark to obtain an urgent interlocutory stay of a potential decision by the Commerce Commission providing clearance for a competitor's business acquisition, which included a number of novel points relating to judicial review of regulatory action including the impact of the voluntary nature of New Zealand's competition clearance regime and steps that might be taken to render rights of judicial review nugatory; assisting Fairfax and NZME in relation to their proposed merger authorisation including appearing in the High Court taking that matter on appeal; acting for Spark on the proposed merger of Sky TV and Vodafone New Zealand in relation to the Commerce Commission's clearance process; advising Suncorp regarding the proposed acquisition of Tower Limited and appeal process; acting as antitrust advisers to Spark on its attempted takeover of TeamTalk, a communications service and infrastructure company; acting for Trade Me Limited in respect of its application to the Commerce Commission for clearance to acquire Motorcentral, a provider of dealer management system software; and acting for four major retail banks as shareholders in New Zealand's largest payment systems operator, Paymark, in respect of their participation in a mobile wallet initiative and other matters including the sale of that business to an EU-based payment systems operator.

WWL says: The "very smart" Sarah Keene is described by one peer as "New Zealand's most highly sought-after competition lawyer" among major clients.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Competition which can be purchased from our Shop.

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