I make things happen – FAST!
Leading global and Australian brands trust me with their most significant and strategically important transactions and legal challenges because they know I will provide them with exceptional service, completely relevant solutions and bring passion and energy to deliver on their projects.
My expertise is in the fields of corporate advisory, mergers and acquisitions, competition, consumer and antitrust.
I’ve had the privilege to work with many, large fast moving consumer goods companies over many years, allowing me to bring industry knowledge to everything I do. My clients in this area include:
• The Coca-Cola Company and Coca-Cola Australia
• The a2 Milk Company
• Bega Cheese Limited
• Hill’s Pet Nutrition
• Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Company
The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) — represented TCCC in both the M&A and merger clearance aspects of a variety of transactions in Australia including in its 2018 acquisition of a 45% interest, together with its bottler, Coca-Cola Amatil, in the Made Group of Companies (owners of the Cocobella, Rockeby Farms and Impressed Juice brands), and its 2021 sale of that same investment.
The a2 Milk Company — providing daily advertising and marketing clearance advice to The a2 Milk Company on its global and Australian advertising and marketing campaigns, representing The a2 Milk Company in its competitor challenges and advising this client on food regulatory issues.
Bega Cheese Limited — obtained merger clearance from the ACCC on all its transactions including: • in 2020, in relation to its $534m acquisition of Lion Dairy & Drinks, owners of the Dairy Farmers, Yoplait, Big M, Masters and Dare and Farmers Union iced coffee brands; • in 2018, in relation to its $250m acquisition of Saputo’s Koroit processing facility; • in 2017, in relation to its $460m acquisition of various assets from Mondelez Australia including the Vegemite and Kraft peanut butter brands. Also represented Bega Cheese in 2017 in responding to a section 95ZK notice from the ACCC under the Competition and Consumer Act as part of the Federal Government’s enquiry into the dairy industry in Australia.
Decathlon — represented Decathlon in 2019 in relation to a section 155 notice issued to it by the ACCC, the subsequent ACCC investigation and then proceedings which were commenced by the ACCC against Decathlon arising out of breaches of various mandatory safety standards.
Competition and consumer law review of customer sales agreements of funeral services client — provided competition and consumer law advice in 2020 on the bundling and pricing provisions in this client’s customer sales agreements. This involved a complex assessment of markets for the supply of various goods and services, taking into account the current status quo in 2020 and potential structural reform being slated by the State Government.
Exclusive Dealing Review for FMCG client — completed an in-depth competition law review in 2021 and 2020 for a key client in relation to an exclusivity restraint and its rollover in a core commercial supply agreement with a retailer. This involved an assessment of the purpose and effect of the restraint on competition in various FMCG markets which amongst other things required an analysis of market scan data and consumer behaviour data.
Advice on global buying consortium — advised an FMCG client on a local subsidiary’s proposed involvement in a global buying consortium. This involved a complex analysis of various legal and practical issues in order for the competition law risks associated with the proposal to be assessed.
Cartel Conduct and Resale Price Maintenance Audit for key client — conducting comprehensive and in-depth cartel conduct and resale price maintenance audits for a key client of the firm over multiple years as part of the client’s compliance initiatives and in order to assist the client in determining the level of competition law risk exposure within their sales team.
Subway Systems Australia — In 2016, Laura was appointed to undertake a holistic review of all advertising and marketing materials by Subway Systems to ensure their compliance not only with the Australian Consumer Law, Food Standards Code, kilojoule labelling laws and the various AANA and AFGC advertising Codes of Practice but also to reflect best practice in advertising and marketing of meals sold in quick service restaurants. The deliverable for Subway Systems was a set of plain English guidelines, for easy use by the marketers in the company so as to assist them to quickly and accurately create copy, to minimise the time necessary for legal review and therefore ensure fast to market advertising.
Reebok Australia — in each of 2016 and 2015, Laura was appointed a Compliance Auditor to undertake an annual review of an Australian Consumer Law Compliance Program of Reebok Australia which was ordered to be implemented by the Federal Court of Australia arising out of proceedings brought against it by the ACCC for false and misleading advertising. Reebok Australia was motivated to retain Laura knowing she had significant experience in relation to such compliance audits so her review would be both efficient and credible to the ACCC.
Committees and memberships
Chair of Advertising Standards Industry Jury, in the case of Calinnova v Jenique 2019
Member, Competition Law Discussion Group
Member, Law Society of NSW
KU Children’s Services, Chair of the Board 2016 - 2021
Director, KU Children’s Services 2012 - 2021
Managing Partner, Addisons 2011 - 2016
Bachelor of Arts (Honours)/Laws, University of Sydney
“Laura Hartley has been my “go to” lawyer for all our external commercial needs since 2007. Her experience in the field, in-depth knowledge of our business and FMCGs generally, as well as her ability to respond to urgent matters in a “no-fuss” manner gives her an outstanding advantage amongst her peers.”