Goldman case signals new antitrust liability for private equity

Author: Gemma Varriale | Published: 18 Aug 2011

An EC statement implicating Goldman Sachs in the alleged cartel offences of a subsidiary company could signal a harder line on the antitrust liability of private equity firms.

In July, the EC issued a statement of objections to Goldman Sachs’ buyout arm in connection with allegations that Milan-based Prysmian was part of a cartel for submarine and power cables.

This is one of the first cases in which a private equity fund has been targeted for the alleged cartel infringements of a portfolio company. There is no allegation that Goldman Sachs or any of its employees participated in, or were aware of, the alleged cartel.

The shift in approach could have significant consequences for funds because the EC has the power to issue firms with fines valued up to 10% of worldwide turnover (calculated on the basis of consolidated group turnover).

Alex Nourry, head of the London antitrust practice...