Prudence Smith is a highly experienced competition law practitioner who advises clients on a full range of competition regulatory law issues. She has extensive experience in merger clearance, cartel and anticompetitive conduct investigations and litigation, ACCC immunities, authorizations, and notifications of contracts affecting competition.
Prudence's background includes more than 14 years at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), many of those years as an ACCC internal lawyer. She also has considerable experience in the information and evidence gathering and sharing processes of the ACCC. In particular, she was responsible, on numerous occasions, for the preparation and enforcement of statutory notices pursuant to section 155 of the competition statute and instructed on a large number of examinations. Since joining Jones Day, Prudence has assisted clients in responding to these notices, including in relation to allegations of criminal conduct.
Prudence is active in mentoring women lawyers beginning their careers, especially those focusing on competition law.
The following represents experience in significant matters in the public domain acquired prior to joining Jones Day.
All matters were considered under either the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) or the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) as appropriate and all references to sections or parts are contained within these Acts.
Media and entertainment
Advised the ACCC in relation to the 2013 acquisition of shares in Consolidated Media Holdings by Seven Group Holdings. The acquisition was opposed by the ACCC and was considered in the context of free to air television.
Advised the ACCC in relation to the 2012 acquisition of Austar by Foxtel. The acquisition was allowed to proceed following the acceptance of section 87B undertakings. The areas for consideration in this transaction were in relation to cable television, acquiring content, broadband, and voice telephone products.
Advised the ACCC in relation to the 2011 proposed joint venture between Universal Studios International and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in relation to the distribution of home entertainment product such as DVDs.
Transport. logistics, and infrastructure
Advised the ACCC in relation to the International Air Cargo Cartel litigation before the Federal Court of Australia. In Australia, the ACCC pursued 15 local, European, and Asian based airlines for price fixing in the Australian air cargo market. The Federal Court ordered total penalties in Australia of almost $100 million from 13 airlines. A judgment against two other airlines is outstanding.
Advised the ACCC in relation to the 2011 application by Qantas Airways and American Airlines for authorization of a Joint Business Agreement.
Advised the ACCC in relation to the 2010 application for authorisation by Virgin Blue and Air New Zealand of an alliance in relation to passenger services between Australia and New Zealand. The authorization was granted subject to conditions.
Advised the ACCC in relation to the 2009 application for authorisation in relation to a joint venture between Virgin Blue, Delta, and other related airlines on trans-Pacific routes.
Advised the ACCC in relation to the 2011 application by NBN Co Limited (NBN Co) for authorization for particular provisions of an agreement between itself and SingTel Optus Pty Ltd and other Optus entities (Optus) to migrate Optus' hybrid fiber coaxial cable (HFC) subscribers to the national broadband network (NBN).
Advised the ACCC in relation to a 2007 proposed joint venture between Onesteel and Smorgon Steel for the joint production of pipe and rectangular hollow section.
Advised the ACCC in relation to the 2007 acquisition of Smorgon Steel Group Limited by OneSteel Limited. The acquisition was allowed to proceed following the ACCC’s acceptance of section 87B undertakings. This matter considered competition in respect of certain manufactured steel products, scrap metal processing, and the supply of steel product to grinding media manufacturers and mining companies.
Advised the ACCC in relation to its 2012/3 investigation under Part IV of shopper docket petrol discount practices of both Woolworths and Coles.
Advised the ACCC in relation to the 2010 proposal to acquire Interfrank (Franklins) by Metcash. The matter was opposed by the ACCC. Upon the advice by Metcash that it intended to proceed with the proposed acquisition, the ACCC filed the matter in the Federal Court – ACCC v Metcash Trading Limited  FCA 967. The matter was also heard by the Full Federal Court in 2011 ACCC v Metcash Trading Limited (2011) FCR 297.
Advised the ACCC in relation to the revocation of an exclusive dealing notification by Nestle Australia Limited and the application by Nestle for review of the ACCC’s decision to the Australian Competition Tribunal in relation to Nescafe coffee imported and sold by Aldi in its supermarkets.
Advised the ACCC in relation to the 2009 proposed merger of Vodafone and Hutchison 3G in certain retail and wholesale telephony markets.
Advised the ACCC in relation to the 2006 proposed acquisition of Wattyl by Barloworld. The proposed acquisition was opposed by the ACCC and abandoned by the parties.
Advised the ACCC in relation to the 2013 proposed acquisition of Sigma Pharmaceuticals by Aspen Pharmacare. The acquisition was allowed to proceed following the ACCC’s acceptance of section 87B undertakings. The areas of assessment in this matter included the provision of certain pharmaceutical products.
Advised the ACCC in relation to the 2012 proposed acquisition of certain pathology businesses of Healthscope Limited by Sonic Healthcare. The acquisition was allowed to proceed following the ACCC’s acceptance of section 87B undertakings. The areas of assessment in this matter included the provision of pathology services in various geographic markets.
Advised the ACCC in relation to the 2010 application for authorization by the Generic Medicines Industry Association of their code of practice. Authorization was granted on the basis of conditions.
Advised the ACCC in relation to the 2004 proposal to acquire DCA’s radiology business by MIA. The ACCC accepted both structural and behavioral undertakings before permitting the proposal to proceed. The areas of assessment focused on various radiology or imaging services in Adelaide and areas in the Barossa.
Advised the ACCC in relation to the 2003 acquisition of NRMA Health by MBF. The area of assessment was in respect of private health insurance.
Advised in respect of a failure to comply with a mandatory safety standard in relation to child car safety restraints, and oversaw ministerial recall.
Advised and conducted litigation before the Federal Court (ACCC v MHG Plastics Industries Pty Limited  FCA 788) and Full Federal Court (MHG Plastic Industries Pty Limited v ACCC  FCA 1069) in 1999 in respect of a failure to comply with a mandatory safety code in relation to motorcycle helmets by MHG Australia.
Advised the ACCC in relation to the 2010 proposed joint venture between Rio Tinto by BHP Billiton. The matter did not proceed and was considered in the context of various forms of iron ore including lump and fines.
Advised the ACCC in relation to the 2008 proposed acquisition of Rio Tinto by BHP Billiton. The matter did not proceed and was considered in the context of various forms of iron ore including lump and fines.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Issues Guidance on Its Information Gathering Authority
- January 2019
The Australian Chapter in The Cartels and Leniency Review - Edition 7
- March 16-17, 2017
Brisbane General Counsel Seminar: Issues in Competition and Consumer Law – Unfair Contracts regime, the ACCC’s focus in 2017 and common competition slip ups including with notices
- March 15, 2017
Impacts of antitrust laws throughout ASEAN to its operations
- September 22, 2016
Regulation, Litigation and Enforcement - Individuals and enforcement issues
- April, 6 2016
Simplifying Expert Evidence to Achieve Better Results
- May 6, 2015
Georgetown University's Government Affairs Institute: Economics Institute for Competition Enforcement Officials
- April 28, 2015
Individuals and Competition Law in Australia, Japan and the United States
- August 4, 2014
Opportunities & Risks: Competition Law Developments in the Asia-Pacific
- July 22, 2014
ACCC Statutory Notices: Strategies and Tips
- The College of Law, St Leonards (Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice 2004); University of New South Wales (LL.B. 2004; M.Com. 1999; M.A. 1998; B.A. 1995)
- High Court of Australia, Supreme Court of New South Wales, and High Court of New Zealand
- Served with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) (1999-2014), including as principal lawyer in the Enforcement and Compliance Unit and Trade Practices and Litigation Unit (Mergers and Adjudication Sub-Unit)
Best Lawyers in Australia — regulatory practice (2020)
Chambers Asia-Pacific — Australia: competition/antitrust (2017)
Legal 500 Asia Pacific — Australia: competition and trade (2015)