Sarah Best Headshot

Sarah Best

Special Counsel

Call Sarah +61 2 8915 1007

With the inherent complexities of competition and consumer law, I help to make these areas easier for clients to navigate so they can make well informed, strategic decisions and avoid assuming unnecessary legal risk.

My practice focuses on competition and consumer law especially in the fast moving consumer goods sector. I am very much solutions oriented and aim to find ways around legal road blocks to ensure that clients can run their businesses within the limits of the law.

I advise on anti-competitive conduct as well as merger clearances and the impact of competition law on various commercial activities like distribution and supply chain arrangements, joint venture/collaboration agreements and intellectual property licensing arrangements.

I also advise on consumer law issues including misleading and deceptive conduct, consumer guarantees, unfair contract terms, advertising and advertising sign-offs and general compliance with the Australian Consumer Law.

I represent clients in dealings with the ACCC, and my strong advocacy and solutions-based approach has led to great outcomes for clients in adversarial and cooperative contexts. I have worked on numerous regulatory investigations and inquiries and advised on and obtained merger clearances for various domestic transactions.

The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) — provided competition law advice to TCCC in relation to their August 2018 acquisition of Organic & Raw Trading Company which owns the MOJO brand of kombucha beverages and its minority investment in the MADE Group of companies. This involved an in-depth analysis of TCCC’s Australian business and the acquisition targets and then setting up protocols and guidelines to be followed locally to ensure compliance with competition law.

Bega Cheese — advised on merger clearance issues associated with recent acquisitions by Bega including the Vegemite and peanut butter assets bought from Mondelez Australia in January 2017. Prepared merger submission documentation for the ACCC and helped respond to various follow up inquiries from the ACCC, pulling together complex manufacturing and market share data. I also advised on Bega’s acquisition of the Koroit processing plant from Saputo in August 2018 and assisted with setting up information sharing protocols to manage the flow of information between the parties to allow for integration in the period prior to close of the deal. More recently, I advised on the merger clearance issues relevant to Bega’s bid for Lion Dairy & Drink’s cheese assets in late 2018 which ultimately did not proceed.

The a2 Milk Company — assisted a2 Milk with various initiatives following the settlement of proceedings against a competitor and has assisted with the review of pack copy and claims sign-off. I have also assisted in preparing a supply and distribution agreement, focusing on commercial logistics as well as some key competition and consumer law issues and intellectual property issues.

Competition Law Review for key client — completed an in-depth competition law review for a key client in relation to an exclusivity restraint 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 a 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.

RPM Audit for key client — conducted a comprehensive and in-depth resale price maintenance audit for a key client of the firm 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.

Indigenous Business Australia — advised on a suite of commercial funding agreements with a financial institution and the Federal Government and associated competition law structuring requirements. This involved an analysis of back-to-back contractual arrangements and advising on protocols and guidelines to be followed to ensure compliance with competition law.

Colgate-Palmolive & Hill’s Pet Nutrition — reviewed various different types of commercial contracts for this client over the years, advising on both general contract law issues as well as consumer law and privacy issues. I also provide strategic competition law advice from time to time in relation to these clients’ various supply channels and distribution arrangements and pricing/rebate policies.

Industries

Agribusiness

Dairy

FMCG

Gambling

Manufacturing

Technology

Qualifications

Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws (Honours), The University of Sydney