Michael J. Esser

  • Partner
  • Emichael.esser@lw.com
  • Dreischeibenhaus 1
  • 40211 Düsseldorf
  • Germany
  • T +49.211.8828.4653
  • Boulevard du Régent, 43-44
  • Brussels B-1000
  • Belgium
  • T +32.2.788.6000


Dr. Michael Esser is a partner in Latham & Watkins’ Düsseldorf and Brussels offices. He is former Chair of the German Litigation & Trial Department. With more than 20 years of experience in antitrust and competition law, he advises major German and global companies in complex mergers and contentious antitrust matters. Mr. Esser assists clients obtaining merger clearances for their strategic transactions. He is particularly experienced with Phase II mergers both at EU level and in Germany. Likewise, he regularly supports clients in global cartel investigations and has been involved in the first settlement case by the European Commission. Mr. Esser represents clients before both the German Federal Cartel Office and the European Commission.

Recognized as one of the leading German antitrust lawyers, he is also considered as a notable practitioner within the technology, media, and telecoms sectors (JUVE 2016/2017, Chambers Europe Germany 2016, and Chambers Global Belgium 2016).

Mr. Esser is co-publisher of the magazine “Neue Zeitschrift für Kartellrecht” (NZKart) and regularly publishes articles on merger control and antitrust.


Mr. Esser’s experience includes, among others, advising:

  • DuMont on antitrust aspects of the
    • Sale of Mitteldeutsche Zeitung media group
    • Sale of Hamburger Morgenpost
  • Facebook in connection with its acquisition of CTRL-labs  
  • REWE in the FCO merger review process of Edeka/Kaiser Tengelmann*  
  • Liberty Global in its acquisition of German cable companies Kabel BW and previously Unitymedia*    
  • NEC in the European Commission’s investigation into DRAM semiconductors, the first settlement of a horizontal cartel case with the Commission*
  • Deutsche Telekom in its acquisition of Greek telecoms company OTE*

*Matter handled prior to joining Latham

Thought Leadership

  • Impact of COVID-19 on Global Merger Control Reviews -  October 02, 2020
  • Merger Control in Europe Following COVID-19 -  March 24, 2020
  • New Size-of-Transaction Test in German Merger Control -  July 05, 2016
Bar Qualification
  • Brussels Bar - E List
  • Rechtsanwalt (Germany)
  • Dr. jur., University of Hamburg, 1993
  • Second German State Exam, University of Hamburg, 1993
  • LL.M., University of Pennsylvania Law School, 1988
  • First State Exam, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität, Bonn, 1987
  • Technology
  • Financial Institutions
  • German
  • English
  • French
  • Antitrust & Competition
  • Litigation & Trial Practice
  • Payments & Emerging Financial Services
  • Communications Law
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Technology Transactions
  • White Collar Defense & Investigations
  • Private Equity