Freehills is acting for Metcash as it does battle with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to acquire Franklins.
The ACCC issued a Federal Court injunction against Metcash's proposed $215 million acquisition of 80 Franklin stores late last year on the grounds that it would be uncompetitive.
Metcash is Australia's largest grocery wholesaler, with its clients including IGA supermarkets. The ACCC argued that if Metcash acquired Franklins, it would substantially reduce grocery market competition.
Coles and Woolworths account for over 70 per cent of the market share for Australian supermarkets, with the IGA group of stores accounting for around 20 per cent. Franklins, which only operates in New South Wales and is owned by South African company Pick n Pay, has less than a 5 per cent slice of the market.
Freehills partner Grant Marjoribanks is acting for Metcash in the Federal Court hearing, with corporate partners Martin Shakinovsky and Andrew Rich acting on the M&A aspects of the transaction. The wholesale distribution and marketing company, which also has a controlling stake in Mitre 10, has also retained the counsel of barrister Justin Gleeson SC.
Norman O'Bryan SC is counsel for the ACCC, with assistance from Matthew Blunn, an executive lawyer with the Australian Government Solicitor specialising in regulation and enforcement.
Justice Arthur Emmett is hearing the matter, with a ruling expected by the end of the month.