Michael Bernstein, a Chambers USA ranked practitioner, has served as lead counsel in numerous high-profile matters for companies such as GE, BP, Kroger, Boston Scientific, and AMC Entertainment, among others. He has extensive experience obtaining antitrust clearance for mergers, acquisitions, and other business combinations from federal, state, and foreign competition authorities. He also represents clients in government investigations and civil litigation, and counsels clients on the antitrust implications of business practices.
Mr. Bernstein has been recognized for his work by Chambers (2015-2019) and The Legal 500 (2015-2019), as well as being named a Future Leader by Who's Who Legal (2017-2018), a Rising Star by the National Law Journal (2017) and Law360 (2016), and one of the top 40 attorneys under 40 in DC by Bisnow (2015). Chambers also notes that he is "highly regarded for his handling of antitrust concerns related to a variety of transactions" and "demonstrates significant talent in his representation of high profile clients in mergers, civil litigation, and government investigations."
Clients describe Mike as:
- "Really knows his stuff" with "lots of merger review experience" (as reported by Chambers USA, 2018).
- "Tremendously responsive and practical," and "an adept negotiator" with a "really good sense of humor" (as reported by Acritas, 2018).
- "Excellent at negotiating with the regulatory authorities" and "roll[s] up his sleeves" (as reported by Chambers USA, 2017).
Mr. Bernstein regularly represents clients before the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). His clients span nearly all sectors of the economy, including retail, food, consumer goods, entertainment, medical devices, healthcare, financial services, private equity, software, computer and information technology, telecommunications, chemicals, oil and gas, automobiles, automotive parts, and building materials.
Mr. Bernstein is an active member in the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Antitrust Law, and was a member of the International Bar Association Antitrust Working Group that submitted comments regarding the Proposed US Horizontal Merger Guidelines. He also serves on the Anti-Defamation League's DC Regional Board, is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, serves on the firm's Hiring, Associate Evaluation, and Professional Development committees, and co-chairs the firm's New Associate and Summer Associate committees.
- BP in the formation of a joint venture with Arclight Capital Partners to acquire Thorntons, a leading privately owned gasoline and convenience store chain with locations in the Midwest and Florida. Lead antitrust counsel in obtaining unconditional clearances from the competition authorities in the US and Spain.
- The Kroger Co. in its $200+ million acquisition of Home Chef, one of the largest private meal kit delivery companies in the US. Lead counsel in obtaining FTC clearance for the transaction.
- BP in its $10.5 billion acquisition of BHP's US shale oil and gas assets. This transaction was BP's largest acquisition since 1999. Lead counsel in obtaining unconditional FTC clearance for the transaction.
- Kroger in its sale of its digital coupon and digital rebate publishing unit, You Technology, to Inmar. Lead counsel in obtaining FTC clearance of the transaction.
- The Kroger Co. in its $2.5 billion sale of its convenience store unit to EG Group, a privately-held convenience store retailer. Lead counsel in obtaining FTC clearance for the transaction.
- SABIC in obtaining worldwide merger clearances for the creation of a joint venture with Exxon-Mobil to build and operate a multi-billion dollar petrochemical plant producing ethylene and ethylene derivatives.
- Boston Scientific Corporation in its $435 million acquisition of Symetis, a Swiss structural heart company focused on minimally-invasive transcatheter aortic valve implantation devices. Lead counsel in obtaining worldwide antitrust clearance for the transaction.
- BP in the sale of the company's non-operating interest in Alaska's Kuparuk oil fields made in conjunction with BP's acquisition of 16.5% in the Clair field from ConocoPhillips. Lead counsel in obtaining unconditional FTC clearance for the transaction.
- AMC Entertainment Inc. in its $1.1 billion acquisition of Carmike Cinemas, creating the largest movie exhibitor in the US and world. Lead counsel in obtaining DOJ clearance for the transaction.
- BP in its $155 million acquisition of the upstream portion of Clean Energy's renewable natural gas business and establishment of a long-term supply contract with Clean Energy to support the firm's continuing downstream renewable natural gas business. Lead counsel in obtaining FTC clearance for the transaction.
- The Kroger Co. in its acquisition of certain Farm Fresh stores from SUPERVALU. Lead counsel in obtaining FTC clearance for the transaction.
- BP in its $160 million acquisition of 85% of the Olympic Pipeline from Enbridge Holdings. Obtained unconditional antitrust clearance for the transaction.
- GE in its $674 million sale of its remaining holdings in Penske Truck Leasing to Penske Automotive Group and Mitsui & Co.
- The Kroger Co. in its acquisition of assets from Marsh Supermarkets pursuant to a bankruptcy court approved sale.
- Boston Scientific Corporation in its $1.6 billion acquisition of American Medical Systems' urology portfolio from Endo International. Lead counsel in obtaining worldwide antitrust clearance, including developing a strategy to avoid a "Second Request" in the United States.
- The Kroger Co. in its $2.5 billion acquisition of Harris Teeter, which was permitted to close with no divestitures. Lead counsel in obtaining worldwide antitrust clearance for the transaction.
- General Electric in its $1.775 billion acquisition of Milestone Aviation Group, a Dublin-based helicopter lessor. Lead counsel in obtaining worldwide antitrust clearance for the transaction.
- The Kroger Co. in its $800 million merger with Roundy's Supermarkets, which was permitted to close without any divestitures. Lead counsel in obtaining antitrust clearance.
- AMC Entertainment, Inc. in its $172 million acquisition of the Starplex Cinemas. Lead counsel in obtaining DOJ clearance for the transaction.
- Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) in its $640 million joint venture with SK Global Chemicals for the manufacture of high-performance polyethylene products. Lead counsel in obtaining worldwide antitrust clearance for the transaction.
- Boston Scientific Corporation in its $415 million acquisition of Bayer AG's interventional business. Lead counsel in obtaining FTC and all foreign clearances for the transaction.
- Northstar Memorial Group, "one of the nation's leading funeral, cremation, and memorial services providers," in its acquisition of certain assets divested pursuant to an FTC consent decree that was entered in conjunction with SCI's $1.4 billion acquisition of Stewart Enterprises. Lead antitrust counsel in obtaining FTC approval of the acquisition.
- Boston Scientific Corporation in its $275 million acquisition of C.R. Bard's electrophysiology business. Lead counsel in obtaining worldwide antitrust clearance for the tranasction, including obtaining unconditional clearance in the US without responding to a "Second Request."
- BP plc in the $2.4 billion sale of its Carson, California refinery and related logistics and marketing assets to Tesoro Corporation.
- Sony Corporation of America and Sony/ATV Music Publishing in obtaining antitrust clearance for the client's $2.2 billion purchase of the music publishing business of EMI.
- Intel in connection with its purchase of security software firm McAfee for $7.68 billion, which was cleared without a second request in the US and with Phase I commitments in the European Union.
- AMC Entertainment Inc. in its acquisition of most of the assets of Kerasotes ShowPlace Theaters LLC, which was resolved with the DOJ and various state attorneys general with limited divestitures.
- Visa Inc. in connection with its $2 billion acquisition of Cybersource, a leading provider of merchant payment solutions for Internet commerce.
- Cisco Systems, Inc. in its acquisition of Starent Networks, Corp. Assisted Cisco in securing DOJ approval of the transaction without responding to a second request.
- Altria Group, Inc. in its acquisition of UST Inc. Assisted Altria in securing early termination of the Hart-Scott-Rodino waiting period.
- Unilever in the sale of its Lawry's & Adolph's branded spice blends, seasoning blends, and liquid marinades business.
- Adobe in its $3.4 billion acquisition of Macromedia, a leading developer of software used by creative professionals and web developers. Transaction permitted to close without divestitures after second request.
- Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corporation in its merger with AMC Entertainment Inc.; was resolved with the DOJ and various state attorneys general with the divestiture of only 10 Theaters.
- Occidental Chemical Company in the $360 million purchase of Vulcan Materials Company's chemical assets.
"Recognized Practitioner" – Antitrust (DC) (2015-2016)
Antitrust: Merger Control (2015-2019)
- JD, American University, Washington College of Law, 2004
- BA, Colby College, 1998
- District of Columbia