Valentin Berea is a sterling competition practitioner who is highly sought after for his expertise in antitrust investigations.
Valentin Berea is a partner in RTPR Allen & Overy LLP and specialises in competition, dispute resolution and intellectual property law.
He advises multinational companies on contentious and non-contentious competition law matters and coordinates their defence in contentious cases. He has successfully advised: British American Tobacco on a high-profile investigation by the Romanian Competition Council (RCC) (including dawn raid proceedings) that was concluded without sanctions being imposed on the client; Ursus Breweries (SABMiller) on a sector investigation into the beer market by the RCC; Tymbark Maspex on an investigation by the RCC in a high-profile vertical agreements case (also involving Metro, Billa and Selgros); Zenith Media (a subsidiary of global media network Publicis Group) on an antitrust investigation in the Romanian market; a McCormick Romanian subsidiary on an investigation by the RCC into a vertical agreement (also involving Metro, Billa and Selgros); Bunge on a cartel investigation that was closed with the full exoneration of the client; Enel on a dominance case that was closed through the commitments procedure; 21st Century Fox on a film distribution investigation that was also closed without any sanctions imposed on the client; and a Vodafone and Orange joint venture on a networking-sharing project.
In antitrust litigation, Valentin has won some notable cases. Together with his team, he succeeded in obtaining the first significant reduction (over 80 per cent) of a fine imposed by the RCC (on the insulin-trading market), based on a mitigating circumstance. This has set a court precedent of reducing the fines imposed by the competition authority.
Currently, Valentin is involved in some of the most challenging cases before the RCC, including the first information exchange as a standalone infringement, in the insurance market (representing Groupama), the first cartel facilitator case in Romania (representing Electrica), an innovative excessive pricing case in the energy sector (representing Distrigaz Sud Reţele (Engie)), and one of the first private damages cases (related to the trucks cartel).
He is a certified intellectual property counsellor for trademarks and industrial designs and has worked for many years as an assistant professor teaching contract law at Bucharest Law University. Valentin is a member of the Romanian Bar Association.
Valentin graduated from the Law School of Bucharest University and from the University of Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne. Sources quoted in Chambers Europe (2019) note: “He finds a balanced approach between strict legal advice and giving practical solutions that enable us to deal with market realities.” Other quotes from Chambers Europe describe Valentin as a “very capable and experienced lawyer”, “very impressive” and “a strong mind in competition law”, with one client stating that he has “proven to be exceptional in every way possible, with his insight, strategic thinking and approach to different cases. I think very highly of him.”
Allen & Overy's antitrust and competition practice comprises over 120 specialists operating across Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. The practice advises corporate clients and financial institutions on their global antitrust policies, litigation and regulatory strategies and has acted on some of the highest-profile and most complex cases in recent years.