Chris Charter

Chris Charter

Practice Head, Director

Chris Charter is a Director and Head of our Competition Law practice. Chris has over 20 years' specialist experience in African anti-trust and has advised numerous blue-chip South African and multinational businesses on all aspects of competition law compliance, including merger control, prohibited practice investigations, interim relief and litigation, and market inquiry work. 

Chris has advised in mergers involving major South African listed companies and has advised  a number of global companies in obtaining South African and African regulatory clearance in respect of multinational transactions. He and his team have extensive experience in a number of African jurisdictions including COMESA.

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After time spent at PriceWaterhouseCoopers London, Chris began his legal career at Cliffe Dekker (now Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr) in 2001.  He has been a Director since 2007.

Chris' competition work spans a vast variety of industries, including private equity, telecommunications, construction, banking, mining, airlines, healthcare and pharmaceutical, grocery wholesale and retail, petroleum, fast moving consumer goods, gambling and gaming, technology and financial services. 

Chris also has experience in general regulatory matters, including those pertaining to telecommunications and consumer law. Although now specialising in competition law, Chris has a strong background in corporate and commercial law which greatly assists clients in marrying competition law with commercial reality.  

Chris has been involved in a number of noteworthy matters including: 

  • Successfully acting for Massmart Holdings (part of the Walmart group) in general compliance matters and in relation to a number of horizontal mergers.
  • Advising Harmony Gold Mining Company in its hostile takeover bid for Gold Fields.
  • Successfully defending Independent News and Media against allegations of abuse of dominance.
  • Acting for Pioneer Foods in investigations into alleged collusion in the bread, maize and wheat industries.
  • Acting for Aveng Limited an GrinakerLTA in regard to Commission investigations into collusion.
  • Advising The Coca-Cola Company on compliance throughout Africa and in regard to various major acquisitions and restructures to its bottling system in South Africa and Africa
  • Advising Investec Bank Limited in the restructure of its private equity division and the creation of Investec Equity Partnership (IEP) as well as ongoing advice to IEP (now Bud Group)
  • Advising Sinopec in regard to its proposed acquisition of Chevron South Africa
  • Advising Remgro in regard to its acquisition of Unilever's spreads business in South Africa and neighbouring countries
  • Advising ANZ Bank in regard to ongoing proceedings brought by the Commission against numerous banks alleged to have engaged in foreign exchange collusion
  • Advising Lonmin Plc and Sibanye-Stillwater in various matters including Sibanye-Stillwater's acquisition of Lonmin
  • Advising a major pharmaceutical company in an ongoing excessive pricing investigation and subsequent referral for prosecution
  • Advising MiXTelematics on dual distribution
  • Advising on Remgro's acquisition of Vumatel, a major transaction in the fibre-to-the-home and related infrastructure market
  • Advising private equity firms including Brait, Metier, RMB Corvest, Abraaj, Capital Works, PSG Capital, Agile Capital, Stockdale Street and others on various acquisitions impacting South Africa and Africa
  • Chambers Global 2019-2021 ranks Chris Band 1 in Competition/Antitrust. Between 2015 - 2017 Chris was rated Chris Band 2 and has been ranked since 2012 after being recognized in 2009 and rated as "Up and Coming" in 2011. Chambers Global notes Chris Charter stands out to many commentators for the quality of his practice, his excellent service level and his fast turnaround times .One source added: "I'm always impressed by him."

  • The Legal 500 EMEA 2017–2022 recommended Chris as a leading individual for competition.

  • IFLR 1000 2022 ranked Chris highly regarded leading lawyer for Aviation.
  • IFLR - Guide to the World's Leading Financial Law Firms 2017 to 2020 named Chris as a highly regarded leading lawyer for Competition. The IFLR1000 - Guide to the World's Leading Financial Law Firms 2010 to 2016 lists Chris as a leading lawyer in Competition/Aviation sector.

  • Practical Law CompanyPLC Which Lawyer? 2010 to 2012 endorses Chris as one of the recommended lawyers in Competition/Antitrust Law.

  • Who's Who Legal - The International Who's Who of Competition Lawyers and Economists 2012 to 2017 lists Chris among the leading Competition lawyers in South Africa. Who's Who Legal listed Chris among Competition Future Leaders 2017.

  • Expert Guides – Guide to the World's Leading Competition/Antitrust Lawyers 2012 lists Chris among the leading lawyers in South Africa.

Publications 

  • Chris is one of two South African contributors to Global Competition Litigation Review.
  • He has had a number of articles published locally and internationally.
  • He has presented papers and lectured at a number of conferences locally and abroad and has appeared on radio and television to discuss competition and regulatory issues.

Education

  • BA LLB, University of Stellenbosch
  • Year of admission as an attorney: 2003
  • Registered with the Legal Practice Council

Memberships

  • Chris has served as a member of the Executive Committee and as Chairperson of the Association of Competition Law Practitioners, the successor body to the Competition Law Committees of the Council of the Law Societies of the Western Cape and Northern Provinces

  • Co-Chair of the International Bar Association's Working Groups on Unilateral Conduct and Digital Markets

Chris Charter comments on the Massmart complaint
26 February 2015 Competition Law

Chris Charter comments on the Massmart complaint

Massmart has launched a complaint with the Competition Commission targeting Pick n Pay, Spar and Shoprite in a bid to end lease exclusivity clauses. Chris Charter, Head of our Competition practice comments.

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Competition Commissions guidelines the procurement and supply of school uniforms
19 January 2022 Competition Law

Competition Commissions guidelines the procurement and supply of school uniforms

Chris Charter, Director and Head of the Competition Law practice joined Smile FM to discuss the Competition Commission's guidelines on the markets for the procurement and supply of school uniforms. He explains how the guidelines are expected to foster greater choice for parents and guardians. Schools are encouraged to appoint more than one stockist and to include more generic uniform items

Chris Charter discusses the Competition Amendment Act
23 July 2019 Competition Law

Chris Charter discusses the Competition Amendment Act

Chris Charter, National Practice Head and Director in the Competition Practice joined Smile 90.4FM to speak about President Cyril Ramaphosa having published a notice in the Government Gazette to immediately bring into force certain of the provisions of the Competition Amendment Act.

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