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About Laura Onken

Laura is a counsel in our antitrust, competition and trade group, based in Washington, DC and a member of Freshfields’ global economics team.

Laura has worked on a range of antitrust law issues, with particular experience representing clients on the US merger control and review process, multijurisdictional merger control, civil antitrust litigation, and corporate compliance programs. She has particular experience in matters relating to the technology, pharmaceutical, oil and gas, publishing, and medical services sectors.

Prior to joining Freshfields, Laura was an attorney at the Federal Trade Commission’s Mergers III Division, where she represented the Commission in antitrust merger and conduct investigations in all aspects of the investigatory discovery process, including leading outside economic experts.


Recent work

  • AstraZeneca on its successful $39bn acquisition of Alexion including securing unconditional clearance in more than 20 antitrust and foreign direct investment jurisdictions.
  • Saint-Gobain on its $2.3bn all-cash acquisition of GCP Applied Technologies.
  • Evonik in defeating the FTC at trial in the agency’s challenge to its proposed acquisition of PeroxyChem, a competing hydrogen peroxide producer. This victory ended the FTC’s seven-trial win streak in litigated merger challenges.
  • Sonoco Products Company on its acquisition of the remaining equity interest in its joint venture with the WestRock Company, RTS Packaging, and one paper mill in Chattanooga, Tennessee, for $330 million in cash.
  • LANXESS on its agreement with International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) to purchase IFF’s Microbial Control business unit for $1.3bn.
  • Google in United States, et al. v. Google LLC (E.D. Va.), and In re Google Advertising Antitrust Litigation (S.D.N.Y.), litigation brought by the Department of Justice, more than 30 state attorneys general, and various class action plaintiffs, alleging violations of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act in connection with Google’s ad tech business.
  • Novartis on its $2.1bn acquisition of Endocyte, a US-based, publicly held, biopharmaceutical company focused on developing targeted therapeutics for cancer treatment and its $8.7bn acquisition of AveXis, a US publicly traded pharmaceutical company focused on gene therapy.
  • PepsiCo in relation to a civil lawsuit from a bottler alleging numerous federal and state antitrust violations (achieving dismissal of all antitrust claims).
  • Smiths Group, a London-listed global technology company, on the international competition and regulatory aspects of its acquisition of Morpho Detection, a California-based detection and security solutions company. Read more about the deal in our case study.
  • Intel, a global manufacturer of computer microprocessors and computing devices and leader in the server and semiconductor processing chips industry, on its $16.7bn acquisition of Altera.
  • Rexam, the leading global beverage can maker, on global merger control aspects of its $6.9bn takeover by US rival Ball Corporation, which brought together the world’s two largest producers of beverage cans.
  • A US industrial manufacturer in an FTC Section 5 investigation of alleged anticompetitive co-ordination among US suppliers.
  • Hachette Book Group in DNAML Pty Ltd v. Apple, and related eBooks litigation brought by eBook retailers claiming antitrust injury from Publishers’ adoption of the agency sales model (grants of summary judgment in favor of defendants upheld on appeal).



  • JD, Georgetown University Law Center 2012.
  • BA, University of Chicago 2009.


  • Admitted to practice in Maryland and the District of Columbia.
  • 2017 Concurrences Antitrust Writing Award for the Best Academic, Mergers category, for “A Hedgehog in Fox’s Clothing? The Misapplication of GUPPI Analysis” (co-authored with Jan Rybnicek).
  • Vice Chair, Books & Treatises Committee, American Bar Association Section of Antitrust.
  • 2022 Competition Editorial Advistory Board, Law360.

Awards and recognitions

  • Who's Who Legal: Competition Future Leaders 2023



  • Law360 Merger Guidelines' Broad Tack Ignores Recent Precedent

  • ABA Section of Antitrust Law, contributor The Energy Antitrust Handbook (third ed.)

  • George Mason Law Review, Fall 2016 (with Jan Rybnicek) A Hedgehog in Fox’s Clothing? The Misapplication of GUPPI Analysis

  • 2016 ABA Section of Antitrust Law Spring Meeting briefing & publication materials, April 2016 FTC v. Steris: Potential Competition and Litigation Free of Presumptions

  • Competition Policy International, November 2015 (with Terry Calvani) It May Not Be Perfect, But It Is Progress: Reflecting on the FTC’s Section 5 Guidance

  • The Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy, Summer 2011 Game Theory and Citizens United