Robert B. Bell is a Partner and Co-Head of the firm’s Antitrust practice group. He has extensive experience in securing antitrust clearance for mergers and acquisitions from both the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, as well as representing companies and individuals in criminal antitrust matters. For example, Robert currently represents a major multinational corporation in a Department of Justice investigation into criminal price fixing. Robert also regularly advises clients on matters involving antitrust litigation, and provides antitrust counseling on issues ranging from competitor collaborations to vertical distribution arrangements. His representations cover a wide swath of industry sectors, including imaging, communications, defense, entertainment, manufacturing, mining, chemicals and transportation.
Robert has been recognized for exceptional standing in the legal community in the area of antitrust law in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business from 2005–2013. Chambers USA cites “clients who applaud his ‘extraordinary, cutting-edge antitrust knowledge,’ and also his commitment to client service.” Additionally, he was selected by peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America in the area of antitrust law (2005-2006, 2010-2014).
A former clerk to US Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White, Robert received his JD from Stanford Law School, where he was a member of the Order of the Coif and Articles Editor of the Stanford Journal of International Studies. He received his MA from the University of Cambridge, and his BA, summa cum laude, from Dartmouth College, where he was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society.
- Currently represents a major multinational corporation in a Department of Justice investigation into criminal price fixing.
- Successfully represented two European executives of a US automobile parts manufacturer in a Department of Justice criminal investigation. According to the lawyer who represented the corporation, “Everyone expected [Robert’s] client to be prosecuted. His effective representation and advocacy convinced the government not to prosecute his client. He was, simply put, pitch perfect.” (“Q&A with Gibson Dunn’s Jim Walden,” Competition Law 360, March 1, 2013.)
- Obtained clearance for Meggitt PLC’s acquisition of Pacific Scientific Aerospace Corporation from the Federal Trade Commission. The transaction combined the largest manufacturer of aircraft fire detection equipment, which had recently attempted to enter aircraft fire suppression, with the largest manufacturer of aircraft fire suppression, which had an ongoing effort to enter aircraft fire detection.
- Successfully defended ConsumerInfo.com at trial against a monopolization claim brought by One Technologies in the Central District of California.
- Successfully represented Eastman Kodak Company in its acquisition of Böwe Bell + Howell’s scanner business. The Department of Justice allowed the transaction to proceed after an eight-month long investigation.
- Represented the whistleblower in a qui tam action alleging bid rigging on USAID-funded wastewater treatment projects in Egypt. The case, featured in a story by Kurt Eichenwald in The New York Times (April 13, 2001, p. C1), was the first time qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act have been used to expose a large multinational cartel. After a seven-week trial, the jury awarded the government $104 million, the second-largest jury award in the history of the False Claims Act. United States ex rel. Miller v. Holzmann, 563 F.Supp. 2d 54 (D.D.C. 2008). Following an appeal, United States ex rel. Miller v. Bill Harbert International Constr., Inc., 608 F.3d 871 (D.C. Circ. 2010), the remaining defendants settled for $47 million.
- Represented a major European airline in negotiating a settlement with the plaintiff class in the air cargo price-fixing litigation pending in the Eastern District of New York.
- Successfully represented LSL Biotechnologies in its appeal to the Ninth Circuit. Deciding an issue of first impression, the Ninth Circuit held that under the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act, a challenged agreement between LSL and an Israeli company did not have the “direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable” effect on United States commerce required by the Act. United States v. LSL Biotechnologies, 379 F.3d 672 (9th Cir. 2004).
- Successfully represented United Artists in securing approval from the Antitrust Division for the acquisition of two competing movie theater chains to create the largest chain of movie theaters in the country. Robert and his colleagues persuaded the Division to clear the acquisitions with no divestitures, notwithstanding that the Division had challenged smaller movie theater acquisitions in the past and had required substantial divestitures in those cases.