Firms To Watch: Commercial, corporate and M&A

ADG Legal acts for corporate, SMEs, family-owned businesses and high-net-worth individuals. Mohammed Al Dahbashi is the key name.
Hourani & Partners is particularly adept at advising clients on applications for foreign ownership, in addition to handling acquisitions in the region for buyers and sellers.

Firms in the Spotlight Commercial, corporate and M&A

ADG Legal

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Commercial disputes across the globe are becoming increasingly onerous to navigate. International business expansions and cross-border transactions carry risks of complexity, increased corporate scrutiny, and changing geopolitical and regulatory environments. Whilst clients look to proactively mitigate their risks, the attending stakes can be significant for businesses with potential global impact.

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We are experienced in all aspects of commercial and corporate transactions in accordance with local, regional laws. Our corporate department advises individuals, corporates, government entities and other institutions on various types of transactions and corporate related matters.  Our corporate services and advisory team provide full legal services for businesses that are both located onshore and …

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Commercial, corporate and M&A in United Arab Emirates

Al Tamimi & Company

Al Tamimi & Company‘s geographical presence across the region makes the team well placed to handle cross-border transactions and it continues to be involved in standout deals in the market. The M&A department also incorporates the firm’s venture capital and emerging companies practice, which was set up in 2019 and has established itself as a popular choice for investors. Clients also benefit from the firm’s My Tamimi App to securely connect with lawyers, view details of current matters and manage invoices. Samer Qudah leads on corporate structuring and Abdullah Mutawi is the head of corporate commercial. Richard Catling‘s diverse workload sees him handling M&A, advising on regional private equity and venture capital funding and acting for family-owned conglomerates in the GCC,

Practice head(s):

Abdullah Mutawi; Samer Quda

Other key lawyers:

Richard Catling; Andrew Tarbuck; James MacCallum; Fady Ghanem; Alex Ghazi; Andrea Tithecott; Izabella Szadkowska


Good solid knowledge of the local legal environment in practice and not just in theory.’

‘Overall good response times.

Good and timely client engagement and response, particularly from the managing partner, Samer Qudah.

The team is very innovative and willing to find solutions for their customers.

Al Tamimi are always on top of their peers in terms both understanding our business, the law & market.

They are responsive and most importantly business oriented.

They understand the business and have an economical thinking on top of the legal one.’

I can easily rely on every member in the team from partner to the paralegal.

Key clients

Brookfield Asset Management Private Institutional Capital Adviser (Canada) LP

Global Infrastructure Management LLC

NH Investment & Securities Co. Ltd

Ontario Teachers Pension Plan

Raffles Infra Holdings Limited


Galaxy Pipeline Assets Bidco Limited

Dubai Islamic Bank PJSC

The Future Investment Initiative Institute

Global Ventures

BLME Holdings plc

Gate Capital

Damac Properties Dubai Co PJSC

Chongqing Terminus Technologies Co. Ltd

Yas Marina Circuit (Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management LLC)

RCS Sport S.p.A.

Reed Exhibitions FZ-LLC

Riot Games Limited

Wanbao Mining (Hong Kong) Limited

Anglo Arabian Healthcare Investments LLC

Yusuf Bin Ahmed Kanoo (Holdings) Co WLL (“Kanoo


Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy LLP has an impressive ‘global footprint‘ with a team of specialists that showcase ‘international and regional expertise‘. The Middle East corporate practice is led by David Foster, who advises on domestic and cross-border M&A transactions for corporates, financial sponsors, investment funds and government entities. Regional managing partner Khalid Garousha also has an extensive cross-border M&A practice. Managing partner Ibrahim Mubaydeen and Nicholas Stuart are based in Abu Dhabi and advise on a broad range of corporate and projects transactions. Oil and gas specialist Judith Kim and Ben Ward are also noted.

Practice head(s):

David Foster

Other key lawyers:

Khalid Garousha; Ibrahim Mubayadeen; Nicholas Stuart; Judith Kim; Ben Ward


‘A&O’s global footprint remains its strongest unique advantage. It maps our business well and means that wherever we are doing something, we will have a capable legal partner to assist us.’

‘David Foster is an excellent partner – more than happy to get involved and really leads his team. He is a diligent and pragmatic advisor, liked and respected by both our legal team and our commercial colleagues.’

‘Allen and Overy are very professional and their advice is first class. They well understand that legal advice should also take into account the commercial realities of getting a deal done rather than just highlighting risks without sensible commercial solutions. Very few other law firms seem to have this trait as part of their culture.’

‘The individuals we work with are astute with an in-depth legal knowledge of both English Law as well as the Middle East Region. We value their insights into completing deals successfully as well as ones that are commercially viable.’

‘Market-leading law firm which always provides us with responsive, commercially-focused legal advice. Exceptional quality partners who are always available.’

‘David Foster is just superb, and a joy to work with. Not only is he extremely diligent and astute, he is commercially-minded too and always sees the bigger picture from a transaction standpoint.’

‘David Foster always provides a user-friendly experience, and his transparency on fees is always appreciated too.’

‘Proactive and cost efficient investment in understanding client’s business and needs. Diverse team, mix of international and regional expertise. Proactive in offering training and career development opportunities for clients.’

Key clients

NatWest Markets

Banco Santander

Abu Dhabi Power Corporation PJSC

DXB Entertainments


Adevinta ASA

Iron Mountain

Rubicon Technology Partners


The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia

Legatum Limited

Prosus / OLX

GEMS Education

Hikma Pharmaceuticals

Gulf Capital

Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company (ADQ)

Work highlights

  • Advised The Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the $516m recommended cash offer for the shares of ADES International plc.
  • Advised NMC Healthcare Limited (in administration) and NMC Health Plc (in administration) on the sale of the Eugin Group.
  • Advised on its investment in fintech firm Tamara, based in Saudi Arabia.

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance has a 'high degree of expertise' and 'strong capabilities in M&A and debt restructuring'. The practice advises sovereign wealth funds, government-related entities, corporates and financial institutions and investors on a wide variety of transactions. Mike Taylor heads the practice alongside regional managing partner Mohammed Al-Shukairy. Cross-border M&A, joint ventures and capital raisings are key areas of work for Jason Mendens and Deniz Tas. Counsel Daniel Boyle is also noted and has expertise in the banking, retail and infrastructure sectors.

Practice head(s):

Mohammed Al-Shukairy; Mike Taylor

Other key lawyers:

James McCarthy; Jason Mendens; Deniz Tas; Daniel Boyle; Rizwan Butt; Jack Hardman


Strong capabilities in M&A and debt restructuring and very good support from partners, as well as associate teams. Partner availability always excellent.’

‘Strong regional experience and cohesive team. Good local partner in Saudi Arabia, with strong connections.’

‘Mike Taylor is an experienced partner who’s seen a lot in the region and is alive to potential issues and local contingencies.’

‘Rizwan Butt is hard and was very knowledgeable on all legal documentation, responsive and precise.’

‘Jack Hardman has a strong knowledge of local regulators and was very helpful in helping think through the transaction structure and constraints likely to be faced by each buyer.’

‘Excellent knowledge and experience in all sectors of corporate work in both KSA and UAE’

‘High degree of expertise, state-of-the-art technology and capable of handling complex transactions’

Key clients

Mubadala Investment Company PJSC

Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC (TAQA)

DP World

Port & Free Zone World FZE

Abu Dhabi Retirement Pensions & Benefits Fund

Aldar Properties PJSC

Emirates NBD Bank PJSC

CVC Advisers Company (Luxembourg) S.à r.l.

Morgan Stanley & Co. International plc

Abu Dhabi Finance PJSC

Al Jaber Group LLC


Al Khaliji Commercial Bank QSC


A.P. Møller

Work highlights

  • Advising Al Khaliji Commercial Bank on its proposed merger with Masraf Al Rayan.
  • Advising DP World on its proposed acquisition (by way of scheme of arrangement) of JSE-listed Imperial Logistics, a logistics and market access solutions provider with operations across Africa and Europe.
  • Advising AXA and its joint venture partner in the Gulf region, the Kanoo Group, on the sale of their insurance operations in the Gulf region to Gulf Insurance Group (“GIG”) for an aggregate sale price of $475m.

Clyde & Co LLP

The commercial and corporate practice led by Philip O’Riordan at Clyde & Co LLP is praised by clients for its ‘pragmatic commercial approach‘ and strong understanding of the ‘intricacies of the region‘. Key sectors of strength include healthcare, insurance, education, energy, defence and security; Naji Hawayek co-heads the healthcare team and Ross Barfoot leads the education team. Benjamin Smith and Stephen McKenna are key points of contact for matters relating to foreign direct investment. Abhimanyu Jalan, Taimur Malik and legal director Roshanak Bassiri Gharb are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Philip O’Riordan

Other key lawyers:

Ross Barfoot; Naji Hawayek; Abhimanyu Jalan; Taimur Malik; Stephen McKenna; Roshanak Bassiri-Gharb; Benjamin Smith


‘Whilst Stephen McKenna has the technical expertise, he also excels in his knowledge of the ME region which is a source of great support for our business.’

‘Stephen McKenna values the opinion of in-house counsel and my team really enjoy working with him as he, unlike many outside counsel, take a collaborative approach with the team.’

The greatest advantage that the Clyde & Co. team have is the balance between letter of the law and its practical application. We always trust the team’s ability to provide a specific and usefully applicable advice.’

Benjamin Smith’s corporate advice is always extremely valuable. I most appreciate his ability to provide a clear understanding of the law while giving insight into the applicability of the law which reflects his great practical experience.’

Throughout the years Naji Hawayek has been essential in assuring our practices comply not only with the region’s laws and regulations and has also provided very useful insights on the industry.’

‘Naji Hawayek and the team are always attentive, provide precise and timely feedback and are always available (including weekends and odd hours).’

Roshanak Bassiri always works non-stop to ensure we are always ready with all the advice and documentation. Roshanak is definitely a resource that will go a long way in the region’s corporate space.’

The team is very client focused and has a pragmatic commercial approach. They understand the intricacies of the region very well.’

Key clients

National Marine Dredging Company (NMDC)

Al Najah Education LLC

Mapei SPA

Total Marketing Services (Total SA)

Babilou Investment LLC

Azimut (DIFC) Limited

Deloitte LLP

Dubai Airport Free Zone Authority

Work highlights

  • Advised on the contribution of 100% shares of NPCC to NMDC in exchange for a convertible note subscribed by SENAAT (shareholder of NPCC) that will become, further to the conversion of the note, the majority shareholder of NMDC.
  • Advising the Al Najah group on the sale of the entire issued share capital of Horizon English School LLC to UK based school operator, Cognita.
  • Advising DAFZ in relation to the drafting of new companies regulations.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper has a broad commercial, corporate and M&A offering with particular expertise across the technology, healthcare and life sciences sectors. Key areas of focus include M&A, joint ventures, corporate restructurings, private equity and venture capital transactions. Will Sievewright heads the firm’s Middle East corporate practice. Thérèse Abou-Zeid is an ‘excellent and dynamic lawyer‘ with an extensive cross-border M&A practice, particularly in the life sciences and healthcare sectors. Richard Hughes also has a strong cross-border M&A practice that covers the GCC and Africa. Senior associate Natalia Tombs is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Will Seivewright

Other key lawyers:

Thérèse Abou-Zeid; Richard Hughes; Natalia Tombs


‘Will Seivewright – responsive, clear and concise, commercially minded, and pleasant to deal with.’

‘They are an excellent support for our corporate transactions and helped us solve several matters.’

‘They are an excellent partner, trying to understand our business and needs and seeking practical solutions.’

‘The client service is excellent with transparency and visibility over the fees.’

‘Thérèse Abu-Zeid is an excellent and dynamic lawyer and a problem solver.’

‘Richard Hughes is an excellent common law lawyer who brought us his expertise and negotiation skills in M&A.’

‘I would like to point out the outstanding legal support received at all times by Thérèse Abou-Zeid having a deep knowledge of corporate law. She has been giving support even during PTO times.’

‘Thérèse Abou-Zeid: Good knowledge. Great lawyer. Stands her ground.’

Key clients

Zip Co

NMC Healthcare



INTL FCStone, Inc.



Work highlights

  • Advised leading digital retail finance and payments company Zip Co Ltd on the conditional acquisition of the remaining 78% of Spotii a buy now, pay later (BNPL) payments platform.
  • Advising ADNOC on the acquisition of 16 retail fuel stations in the Central Province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and on the acquisition of four retail fuel stations across the Eastern and Central Provinces of the Kingdom.
  • Advised Etihad on the sale of its 40% stake in Air Seychelles to the government of the Seychelles which now owns the entire airline.

Habib Al Mulla & Partners, a member firm of Baker & McKenzie International

Habib Al Mulla & Partners, a member firm of Baker & McKenzie International has a broad corporate, commercial and M&A practice and advises clients in the financial services, industrials, consumer goods and retail, energy and technology sectors. Omar Momany heads the practice and advises on public and private M&A, corporate restructurings, joint ventures and shareholder disputes. Hani Naja focuses on corporate structuring and Borys Dackiw specialises in compliance and anti-bribery advice. Counsel Melissa Forbes-Miranda handles M&A, joint ventures, corporate reorganisations and shareholder disputes. The firm grew in August 2021 with the arrivals of Osama Audi and Adnan Doha from King & Spalding LLP and Abeer Jarrar, who handles equity capital markets alongside M&A, from Linklaters.

Practice head(s):

Omar Momany

Other key lawyers:

Boris Dackiw; Hani Naja; Melissa Forbes-Miranda; Osama Audi; Adnan Doha; Abeer Jarrar


‘The team’s strengths are their ability to leverage their international network and resources to provide assistance in many practice areas; their in-depth local knowledge and strong commercial acumen; their ability to offer pragmatic legal advice.’

Strong work ethic – offer round the clock legal assistance – fast response times with pragmatic and to-the-point advice.’

‘Clear understanding of the context in which we execute transactions, understanding of the stakeholders involved.’

‘Attention to detail, high level of commerciality and practicality in negotiations, speed of execution.’

Key clients

Dar Al Takaful PJSC

Wipro Limited

Al Muqarram Group of Companies (UAE)

Getz Bros & Co (BVI) Inc.

AP Ventures Limited

Gulf Insurance Group K.S.C.P.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC)

Allegion Investments (UK) Limited

Gulf Marketing Group (GMG)

Seddiqi Holding

Work highlights

  • Advising KKR on the global acquisition of a 60% interest in the professional beauty business of Coty, including the Wella Retail Hair business, the Wella Professional Hair business, OPI professional nail care business, and GHD hair straighteners/hair styling business.
  • Advised Gulf Marketing Group, a leading family-owned retail company in the Middle East, on the acquisition of Royal Sporting House’s sports retail business, from Dubai-based conglomerate Al Futtaim Group.
  • Represented a Dubai-based strategic investor in acquiring a 22% stake from Amanat PJSC (a publicly listed company on DFM) in Taaleem PSC for AED 350 million through the acquisition of an SPV holding entity.

Hadef & Partners

Hadef & Partners has an established presence in the UAE with a full-service offering. Ahmad Sergieh heads the Dubai corporate offering and Yasser Omar leads the corporate team based in Abu Dhabi; the duo have broad cross-border transactional and corporate structuring practices. Managing partner Sadiq Jafar advises on inward investment, M&A and joint ventures. On the commercial side, Victoria Woods is a key name to note and has expertise across the retail, food and beverage, leisure and hospitality, digital media and technology fields. M&A specialist Patrick Tweedale is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Ahmad Sergieh; Yasser Omar; Victoria Woods; Sadiq Jafar; James Dunne

Other key lawyers:

Patrick Tweedale; Dina Mahdi


‘Hadef & Partners is a one stop shop firm with deep knowledge of the local market.’

‘The team has good connections and expertise with a business mentality which help clients to achieve good results.’

‘Ahmad Sergieh is the relationship manager with our company. He is always available and reachable via emails, whatsApp and mobile. He understands our business needs and future plans.’

‘Hadef & Partners provides efficient advice, that is presented in an easy to review format and takes into account practical and commercial aspects of the matter.’

‘Sadiq Jafar is an outstanding managing partner. Extremely responsive (at all hours and on all days) and well informed about the capabilities of his team.’

Key clients

Abu Dhabi – Department of Government Support

G42 Group

International Holding Company

Work highlights

  • Provided regulatory advice to a UAE-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing company on Covid-19 vaccination testing and clinical trials in the UAE.
  • Advised a multinational global leader in innovative comfort footwear for men, women and children on a franchise agreement.
  • Advised the shareholders of a Dubai-based manufacturer and distributor of generic medications on the sale of the entire issued share capital to one of the region’s largest holding companies.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has a broad corporate and M&A offering with a particular focus on sovereign wealth funds. The practice is active in a range of sectors and advises clients in the energy and infrastructure, TMT, pharmaceuticals and healthcare sectors. Practice head Chris Walters is a ‘standout corporate lawyer‘ with an experienced cross-border M&A, joint venture and investments practice. Senior associate Anna Szyndler provides additional support. Zubair Mir left the firm in 2021.

Practice head(s):

Chris Walters

Other key lawyers:

Anna Szyndler


‘The team is diverse in terms of background and experience covering a wide range of knowledge needed for M&A transactions in particular.’

‘Very professional but also friendly and easy to deal and interact with.’

‘Always available and always supportive.’

‘Chris Walters: A sharp lawyer with broad experience and knowledge of finance as well, including structuring M&A transactions. A great representative of yourself and your organization and is very much results driven.’

‘Chris Walters is always available to provide creative and balanced solutions that move the deal forward while ensuring the best interest of his client is protected.’

‘Chris Walters is a standout corporate lawyer with an outstanding knowledge across the Middle East.’

Key clients




Yas Holding



Provis Real Estate

Work highlights

  • Advised Aramex PJSC, a leading global provider of comprehensive logistics and transportation solutions, on its sale of a leading records and information management provider in the MENA region, Information Fort to Iron Mountain Limited.
  • Advised Axia Power Holdings (wholly owned by Marubeni Corporation) on the partial sale of its interest in the Fujairah F3 gas-fired power project.
  • Advised Provis Real Estate Management – Sole Proprietorship LLC, a subsidiary of Aldar Properties PJSC, on its acquisition of Asteco Property Management.

King & Spalding LLP

King & Spalding LLP‘s corporate team ‘add credibility to any deal they undertake‘. The team has an active M&A and private equity practice and showcases a strong presence in Saudi Arabia. Nabil Issa advises a number of Saudi government entities and has expertise across the healthcare, education, fintech, food and beverage sectors. Simon Rahimzada is active in cross-border M&A, joint ventures and corporate structuring in the energy and infrastructure sectors. Key names to note in the firm’s venture capital offering include James Stull and Macky O’Sullivan.

Practice head(s):

Jawad Ali

Other key lawyers:

Nabil Issa; James Stull; Macky O’Sullivan; Simon Rahimzada


‘Fast, responsive and experts in all the fields we contact them for.’

‘Simon Rahimzada in particular is a standout partner at K&S, he has been supporting me for the past 5 years and has always delivered.’

‘The matters are generally partner led which differentiates K&S Middle East from their competitors.’

‘The firm is able to involve lawyers with extensive Saudi and UAE law experience and industry experts in one team.’

‘They are able to quickly involve lawyers outside of the region in a seamless manner.’

‘The firm is able to come up with creative yet practical solutions.’

‘The team members are responsive, professional, practice and sector experts.’

‘They are extensively strong and truly capable and innovative in breaking and solving complex matters, and sometimes deal with unprecedented matters in the region.’

Key clients

Saudi Aramco Investment Management Company (SAIMCO)

Abu Dhabi Development Holding Company (ADQ)


Mizuho Gulf Capital Partners Ltd

Gulf Investment Corporation

Sadara Chemical

Mubadala Investment Company

Gulf Finance House

Ashmore Investments

eWTP Arabia

Gulf Capital PJSC

Riyad Capital

Western Union

Jabal Omar Development Company

Jeddah Economic Company

Arabian Company for Water and Power Development (ACWA Holding)


Small and Medium Enterprises Authority (SME Authority)

MASIC (Mohamed I. AlSubaei & Sons Investment Company)

Wa’ed Ventures (Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Center)

Al Muhaidib

Wadi Makkah

Aramex PJSC


Riyad TAQNIA Fund

Global Ventures Ltd

Aramis Partners


Bulldozer Group

Social Development Bank

Saudi Jordanian Investment Fund

Christian Dior

Vision Invest

Bee’ah UAE and Bee’ah Energy KSA

Work highlights

  • Advising Cerberus on its co-investment with Olive Rock Partners, for their joint acquisition of shares in United Eastern Medical Services.
  • Advised Gateway Fund I, L.P., acting through its general partner, Gateway Partners Limited, on acquiring 42.5532% of all the Tim Hortons franchises across the GCC.
  • Advised ADQ on completing an approximately $72m Series F investment in Think & Learn Private Limited (commonly known as BYJU’S).

Latham & Watkins LLP

Latham & Watkins LLP has an active domestic and cross-border M&A practice and advises on both the buy and sell side of transactions. The team has dedicated specialists across a range of sectors, from healthcare and technology, through to energy and natural resources. Practice head Christopher Lester is praised for his 'solution-oriented' approach. Counsel Eyad Latif is well regarded for advising clients in the healthcare and education sectors.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Lester

Other key lawyers:

Eyad Latif


‘Great team of experts for the region, for us a one stop shop.’

‘Chris Lester is a great partner of the firm and uses his associates wisely. Like the rest of the team, he is solution orientated, not ego driven at all and very helpful.’

‘The most responsive legal team we have ever worked with.’

‘Very quick turn around and diligent work.’

‘They truly understand the VC space and the requirements, which is a major plus.’

‘Eyad Latif – Extremely knowledgeable and diligent; very trustworthy and completely adapted to our firm’s needs and approach.’

Key clients

SIG Combibloc

EIG Partners

Public Investment Fund

Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA)

Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia




Work highlights

  • Advised Silver Lake Partners on its investment in G42, an Abu Dhabi-based artificial intelligence and cloud computing company.
  • Advised EIG on its precedent-setting acquisition of a 49% equity stake in Aramco Oil Pipelines Company.
  • Advised SEHA on the launch of Union71, a new laboratory testing company for healthcare providers in the UAE.


The Middle East corporate practice at Linklaters handles public and private M&A, joint ventures, equity raisings and general advisory work. The practice is led by Abu Dhabi-based Nicholas Edwards, who was appointed as practice head in January 2021. Edwards has particular expertise across the energy and infrastructure sectors. Scott Campbell also has an extensive background in cross-border M&A and corporate finance.

Practice head(s):

Nicholas Edwards

Other key lawyers:

Scott Campbell

Key clients

Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC)

Abu Dhabi Pension Fund

Al Noor Hospitals Group

Alshaya Group

Arqaam Capital Limited

Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco)


Al Rajhi Holding Group


SABIC Agri-Nutrients Company



COSCO Shipping Ports Limited

DP World


Dubai Holdings

Dubai World

Emaar Properties & Emaar Malls

Emirates Defence Industries Company (EDIC)

Emirates Telecommunications Group (Etisalat)



Eshraq Properties PJSC

Exsab Investment

GEMS Education



Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD)

Majid Al Futtaim

Marya Group


Mobile Telecommunications Company Saudi Arabia (Zain)

Mawarid Holding Company

NCB Capital

Ontario Teachers (OTPP)

Public Investment Fund (KSA)

Qatar First Bank

Reckitt Benckiser

Savola Group

SHUAA Capital

Standard Chartered Private Equity

TAQA (Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC)

TasHeel Holdings Group

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP displays extensive cross-border expertise and is able to seamlessly advise on transactions with UK, US and UAE legal elements. Regional sovereign wealth funds, governmental and blue-chip UAE corporate clients make up the firm’s client base. Ali Shaikley and Sami Al-Louzi advise on a broad range of cross-border M&A and equity capital markets transactions, particularly in Saudi Arabia where the latter has an established presence. Marcus Booth heads the firm’s private equity offering and UAE-qualified lawyer Abdulwahid Alulama has a broad commercial law and M&A practice. Steven Worthington is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Sami E. Al-Louzi; Abdulwahid Alulama; Marcus Booth; Ali Shaikley; Steven Worthington

Other key lawyers:

Vasi Papadopoulos


‘The team combines the best of London skills with the flexibility and innovative approach that you would typically find in a smaller Law firm. You are getting a high calibre team with all the commercial experience you would need.’

‘Marcus Booth is outstanding – you know you are in the hands of a trusted adviser. The fact that the law is right is a given – he combines this with charm and a cut through no-nonsense approach to reach commercial decisions that everyone can live by.’

‘Marcus Booth does not create needless deal friction (and therefore costs) that you find some partners create in their wake. A top professional that is liked by clients and opposing counsel and their clients too.’

‘The team is very knowledgeable and diverse. They are always available and try to come up with commercial solutions to problems. Also, the international network of the firm means that global solutions are offered.’

‘Ali Shaikley is my main contact. Despite being an international lawyer, he is very locally aware and this mix of international and local is what makes the difference.’

‘The team has been incredibly responsive, very professional and extremely competent. They are also business minded and creative with solutions to get the deal done.’

Key clients

Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners

Abu Dhabi Financial Group

Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar)

Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority

ADES International Holding Limited

Agthia Group PJSC

AlKhabeer Capital

Alpha Bank S.A.


Arabian Contracting Services Company JSC

Basalt Infrastructure Partners

CI Capital Holding S.A.E

DP World


Emirates NBD Capital



European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

GFH Financial Group

Goldman Sachs

GSO Capital Partners

International Holdings Company PJSC

J.P. Morgan Securities plc

Kentech Corporate Holdings Limited

Kuwait Food Company (Americana)

Ma’arif Holding Company for Education and Training

Majid Al Futtaim Holding

Mubadala Investment Company


National Bonds Corporation

Oak Hill Advisors

Paradise Capital

Ports Customs and Free Zones Corporation

RIMCO Investments

Rothschild & Co.

Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco)

SHUAA Capital

Strategic Value Partners

United Arab Chemical Carriers Limited


York Capital Management

Work highlights

  • Advised J.P. Morgan Securities plc, financial advisor to Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC (“TAQA”), on its $20bn acquisition of a majority stake in the water and electricity generation, transmission, and distribution assets of Abu Dhabi Power Corporation PJSC (ADPower).
  • Advised Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) on its $69.1bn acquisition of a 70% stake in Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC).
  • Advised Saudi Aramco on its $12.4bn sale of a 49% equity stake in Aramco Oil Pipelines Company to a consortium led by EIG Global Energy Partners.

Afridi & Angell

Afridi & Angell is a ‘solid independent firm‘ with an experienced M&A, joint ventures and private equity transactional practice. Bashir Amed, who combines his transactional work with advising on competition matters, and Charles Laubach, who also handles government procurement matters, are the practice heads. Danielle Lobo is the go-to contact for private equity transactions. Senior associates Abdus Samad and Silva Pretorius are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Bashir Ahmed; Charles Laubach

Other key lawyers:

James Bowden; Danielle Lobo; Abdus Samad; Silva Pretorius


‘Solid independent firm.’

‘Amjad Ali Khan – most helpful and competent.’

Work highlights

  • Advised Bee’ah on its joint venture with Polygreen Limited.
  • Advised Dubal Holding LLC on the acquisition of a 60 per cent stake in OSE Industries.
  • Advised Almarai Company on its acquisition of frozen bakery manufacturer and producer Bakemart in the UAE and Bahrain.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has a team of ‘skilled professionals and is particularly recognised for its strength in the area of sovereign investments. Managing partner Wael Jabsheh is ‘highly respected in the corporate space and is a go-to contact for Abu Dhabi-based clients. Associate Mazen Baddar is also noted and his clients include sovereign investors, family offices and high-net-worth individuals. Dinmukhamed Eshanov left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Wael Jabsheh

Other key lawyers:

Mazen Baddar


‘Akin Gump has a strong team of specialist corporate lawyers who know the ins and outs of multimarket and single market businesses and the factors which affect their legal status.’

‘The team has extensive experience in protecting company’s risk, making appropriate arrangements to suit the needs of companies and handling takeovers, mergers and acquisition.’

‘By working closely with Akin Gump’s team of skilled professionals with expertise in the corporate field, you can be certain that your company remains compliant at all times and that all legal matters are handled appropriately with minimal risk and maximum protection, both financially and legally.’

‘Wael Jabsheh is one of the outstanding lawyers in the region. Thoroughness and proficiency on all types of corporate, commercials and M&A issues.’

‘Wael Jabsheh is always accessible to answer the many questions we have and ensures we are kept informed of any regulatory updates related to our business.’

‘Wael Jabsheh is without a doubt, reliable and very expeditious.’

‘Wael Jabsheh is a top-notch attorney who is highly respected in the legal community.’

Key clients

Ethmar Holdings

Brookfield Asset Management

Work highlights

  • Advising NEOM Company on the creation and development of the NEOM project, a $500bn megacity free zone.

Baker Botts L.L.P.

Baker Botts L.L.P.'s 'international advisory capability and robust client management' makes the firm an ideal choice for overseas investors looking to expand into the UAE and wider Middle East region. Practice head Mark Bisch is 'highly strategic' and is supported by Haitham Hawashin. Hassan Elsayed is 'excellent' and has in-depth knowledge of the local regulatory landscape. For Saudi Arabia-related mandates, Stephen Matthews is a key point of contact. Patrik Daintry left the firm in 2021.

Practice head(s):

Mark Bisch

Other key lawyers:

Stephen Matthews; Haitham Hawashin; Hassan Elsayed


‘Haitham Hawashin is easily accessible and always responsive, which is an important quality from a client’s perspective.’

‘I have worked with Mark Bisch. He is very practical with his advice after talking thorough consideration of the objectives, jurisdiction and parties to the proceedings.’

‘Mark Bisch and Hassan Elsayed have very deep local law and practice knowledge. For difficult matters which require insight, Mark and Hassan are our go-to lawyers for Dubai.’

‘Mark Bisch and Hassan Elsayed are stand-outs in the Dubai legal market. They are excellent legal practitioners.’

‘Highly strategic advice with international advisory capability and robust client management.’

‘Mark Bisch stands out for the highly strategic, bold, innovative and client focused approach.’

‘The firm’s strengths are in their people…customer/client service is top notch. Although an international firm, you are treated like a friend and colleague. Let’s not forget the expertise.’

Key clients






Airgas, Inc.

Red D-Arc Limited

Dunkin’ Donuts

Enterprise Holdings, Inc.


Marsh & McLennan

Parsons Corporation


Emerson Electric


Baskin Robbins

Smiths Detection Middle East FZE

Bloom Energy

Shuaa Capital psc

Black & Veatch

Work highlights

  • Advising McDermott on international oil and gas projects.
  • Assisted Bloom Energy Corporation with corporate structuring advice and the resultant decision to form a new limited liability company in the DIFC to serve as its regional office to support the company’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Dechert LLP

Dechert LLP has a ‘business oriented‘ and ‘professional’ practice that advises across the full investment life cycle. The practice is led by managing partner Chris Sioufi who is a ‘great lawyer‘ and specialises in M&A, private equity, funds and structured finance matters. Philip Dowsett is another key individual to note and has a similar practice. Rodolphe Pellerin is another name to note.

Practice head(s):

Chris Sioufi

Other key lawyers:

Philip Dowsett; Rodolphe Pellerin


‘I have worked with the M&A team at Dechert on a number of occasions and they are always very professional and very much “on the ball”. They are clearly very experienced M&A lawyers and clients respond very well to them.’

‘Chris Sioufi and Rodolphe Pellerin – Available, business oriented and competent lawyers.’

‘Chris Sioufi is a great lawyer, one of the best I worked with in the MENA region.’

‘Rodolphe Pellerin is an excellent professional and hard worker.’

Key clients

Amanat Holdings PJSC

Yas Holding

Malabar Gold and Diamonds



Alameda Healthcare Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Amanat Holdings on the $232m acquisition of 100% of the share capital in CMRC Limited and a secured term loan.
  • Advised Yas Holding on the acquisition of a majority stake in Geltec Healthcare FZE.
  • Advised Malabar Gold and Diamonds on its transfer of incorporation to the DIFC and private listing on NasdaqDubai.


Dentons' corporate practice showcases local and international expertise and advises clients in the TMT, defence, energy, real estate and healthcare sectors. Iain Black heads the practice and is 'excellent' at M&A and joint venture transactions. Catherine Beckett is another key name to note; in addition to M&A, her practice also extends to advising on equity capital market transactions and business establishments. Ziad Saad splits his time between Dubai and Saudi Arabia.

Practice head(s):

Iain Black

Other key lawyers:

Catherine Beckett; Ziad Saad


‘The Dentons Corporate team in Dubai have been great partners on various transactions, providing not only sound legal advice, but great commercial guidance.’

‘Iain Black has been an excellent partner working with us on various transactions.’

Key clients

National Central Cooling Company (Tabreed)

Alamar Foods DMCC


Children’s National Medical Centre

Delta Partners


DMCC (Dubai Multi Commodities Centre)

DWTC (Dubai World Trade Centre)

Gulf Capital

MENA Infrastructure Fund

Redington International

Sharjah Islamic Bank

Sweetheart Kitchen


Delivery Hero

Work highlights

  • Advising Tabreed on its acquisition from Aldar of the business that supplies chilled air to buildings on the Saadiyat Island, including Abu Dhabi’s Louvre museum and the city’s New York University campus.
  • Advising the founder on his exit and disposal of his entire interest in the Projacs group to Egis.
  • Advising Delivery Hero on its participation in Dubai-based buy-now pay later platform Tabby’s series B investment round.

Hogan Lovells (United Arab Emirates) LLP

The corporate and commercial team at Hogan Lovells (United Arab Emirates) LLP advises on regulatory issues, compliance, and agency and distribution arrangements. Corporate practice head Imtiaz Shah focuses on high-value M&A transactions, with niche expertise advising luxury retail brands, while Charles Fuller is a key resource for sovereign wealth funds, venture capital firms, and private equity funds regarding transactions.

Practice head(s):

Imtiaz Shah

Other key lawyers:

Charles Fuller

Key clients

HRH Prince Alwaleed & Rotana Music

AS Group


Lockheed Martin

Work highlights

  • Advised HRH Prince Alwaleed’s Rotana Music in connection with the Warner Music Group’s agreement to buy a minority stake in the Rotana Music Group.
  • Advised the AS Group on its ongoing acquisition of a home healthcare business in the UAE which forms part of its wider corporate expansion strategy.
  • Advised on the acquisition by Synechron Inc. of Attra.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright advises on a wide variety of inbound and outbound investments for financial institutions, corporations and government entities. Adjou Ait Ben Idir heads the firm’s Middle East corporate, M&A, securities and cyber risk practice; she has also played a key role in bolstering the firm’s insurance offering in the region. Kayaan Unwalla focuses on cross-border M&A and government contracting in the technology, defence and manufacturing sectors. Senior associate Zaid Al-Rizzo is also noted. Key changes to the team include the arrival of Zubair Mir in 2021 from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.

Practice head(s):

Adjou Ait Ben Idir

Other key lawyers:

Kayaan Unwalla; Zaid Al-Rizzo; Zubair Mir


Adjou Ait Ben Idir has phenomenal interpersonal skills and project leadership. She spots her client’s needs and translates it to the stakeholders and provides business-oriented legal support.’

‘Zaid Al-Rizzo has great negotiation skills to reach a concurrence between different stakeholders/parties.’

Key clients



Ralph & Russo



First Gulf Bank

HSBC Bank Middle East

Macquarie Group Limited



EITC (Du telecom)

Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation


Total SA



Recochem Inc

Helios Investment Partners LLP

Cooper Pharma

Mayo Clinic

Ultima Stables




Asteco Property Management L.L.C



Work highlights

  • Advised Cooper Pharma on its granted license with United PPE to develop and manufacture Covid-19 diagnostic tests using Sherlock’s CRISPR technology.
  • Advised Elaine Jones on the acquisition of real estate services company Asteco Property Management to Aldar Estates.
  • Assisted SNC Lavalin with the sale of its oil and gas business to Kentech Corporate Holdings Limited.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Pinsent Masons LLP's corporate practice is 'extremely competent and professional'. The team has an 'impressive' cross-border M&A practice and has been particularly active on deals involving the healthcare and life sciences, energy and infrastructure sectors. The practice is led by Mohammad Tbaishat, who is supported by senior associate Christopher Neal. Joanne Clarke left the firm. 

Practice head(s):

Mohammad Tbaishat

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Neal


‘Pinsent Masons’ corporate team in Dubai is proving to be an outstanding player in the legal market in the region.’

‘Their well-diversified outstanding team has exceptional breadth of expertise in complex and challenging cross-border M&A matters.’

‘Mohammad Tbaishat is notably skilled in cross-border M&A transactions. He is very straightforward to work with, very impressive in negotiations and offers commercially savvy advice.’

‘Mohammad Tbaishat is extremely hard-working and meticulous, but at the same time very commercial and highly responsive. I wouldn’t think twice to recommend him to whoever is looking for a brilliant well-rounded M&A lawyer.’

‘Pinsent Masons’ corporate team in the UAE is extremely competent and professional.’

‘Their ability to handle complex cross-border M&A transactions is particularly impressive.’

‘They constantly offer innovative solutions including their auto-documentation and the patented HighQ due diligence software.’

‘Pinsent’s team members are very personable, pragmatic and sensible.’

Key clients

Raytheon Company

Speedy Hire PLC

Lion Group

Advanced Technology and Development

Svitzer Middle East Limited

National Center for Privatization (NCP)

EDF (global panel)

Work highlights

  • Advised Speedy Hire PLC in relation to the sale of certain business and assets of its Abu Dhabi entity to ADNOC.
  • Acted for NASDAQ listed Lion Group in relation to its indirect acquisition of a UAE crypto trading business.
  • Advised Svitzer on the proposed restructuring of its Middle East business and move away from its current BVI holding entity.

Shearman & Sterling LLP

Shearman & Sterling LLP is a go-to firm for issues involving minority investments, joint venture formations and acquisitions of controlling stakes or whole businesses. Regional managing partner Renad Younes has extensive M&A and projects expertise and advises clients on the full spectrum of oil and gas. Since publication, Marwan Elaraby left the firm.

Practice head(s):

Renad Younes

Key clients

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company

NEOM Company

The Saudi Arabian Industrial Investments Company (Dussur)

Gulf Petrochemical Industries Co. (GPIC)

The Dow Chemical Company




Mitsui & Co., Ltd

Addleshaw Goddard

Regional managing partner Andrew Johnston heads Addleshaw Goddard‘s Middle East corporate practice and advises a wide variety of corporates and financial sponsors. Lowri Llwyd specialises in cross-border M&A, private equity and joint ventures. Owen Richards is a key contact for outbound investment mandates. Managing associate Luke Aylett is 'thorough and highly responsive'. Fraser Dawson was a new arrival in January 2022.

Practice head(s):

Andrew Johnston

Other key lawyers:

Lowri Llwyd; Owen Richards; Fraser Dawson


‘Luke Aylett ticks all the boxes. He clearly gets the commercials, has the legal experience to implement them and handles the client very professionally. His manner and expertise breed enormous confidence.’

Luke Aylett – thorough and highly responsive.’

‘Lowri Lloyd – always available and finds a workable solution. Proactive and commercial minded.’

‘We have worked with AG on a couple of acquisitions this year and what makes them stand out is the approach of their team.’

‘They have great sector and regulatory knowledge, the team is very approachable and feel like an extension of our own in-house M&A team.’

‘They are commercial in their approach and are solutions focused.’

‘Their reports are clear and easy to read and tell me exactly what I want to know. They are also extremely responsive, available day and night in order to get a transaction over the line.’

‘Lowri Llwyd is fantastic, very client focused and able to explain complex legal problems and the solution in a clear and efficient way. She has excellent sector and regional knowledge.’

Key clients

ADNOC Distribution

du (Emirates Integrated Technology Company)

Cognita Limited (Cognita)

Reckitt PLC (formerly Reckitt Benckiser)

G4S Secure Solutions

Ideal Holding Limited

Phenna Group

Janus Continental Group

Polyeco Group

Elite Cargo

Coty (Middle East) FZCO

ResMed UK Ltd

3S Investment Limited (3S)

Agility/United Projects for Aviation Services Company

Al Futtaim Group

Aldar Properties – Provis

AJWGK Limited / HLD Group

AVEVA / Schneider Electric

Bios Middle East

Blue Ocean Terminals Limited

CedarBridge Capital Partners

Coffee Planet LLC

Coty Inc.

Coty Middle East FZCO

Dassault Aviation


Element Materials Technology

Emirates Flight Catering

Equitativa Group (the fund manager of, amongst other funds, the DIFC listed Emirates REIT)

Emirates Integrated Technology Company (du)

Exterran Corporation

Finasi Group

Fircroft Engineering Services

G4S plc

GEMS Education

GHA Loyalty DMCC

Guggenheim KBBO Partners Limited

Gulf Capital

Hawk Limited

Hoare Lea

J.K. Cement Works (Fujairah) FZC

John and Maura Kent

Kalera Inc

Kasamar Holdings

Kids First Group

Max’s Group

Mizuho Gulf Capital Partners

Multiplex Construction

Newsgroup International

Owners of Seashell Nursery

Phenna Group

Phanes Group

Polyeco Waste Management / Green Evolution

Reckitt Benckiser

RJ O’ Brien

Signify International B.V

TA Associates

Talria Limited/Dr. Nasir

The Carlyle Group and Ideal Holding Limited

The Shareholders of International Electromechanical Services Co. L.L.C

Traffic Digital Group

Val Morgan Australia Pty

Viking International Limited

WSP Opus

YUM! Restaurants International

Work highlights

  • Advising du on its AED 800 million sale of its 26% interest in Khazna Data Center Limited to Technology Holding Company LLC (a subsidiary of Mubadala).
  • Advising Cognita on its successful bid for the acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Horizons English School LLC, from two onshore corporate sellers within the Al Najah Education Group.
  • Advising Ideal Holdings Limited on the sale of a 20% interest in the Nabil Foods Group to Agthia Group.

Ashurst LLP

Ashurst‘s corporate practice assists clients with all aspects of M&A and focuses on energy and infrastructure transactions. Joint ventures are a key area of expertise. Simon Fraser heads the practice and manages the Abu Dhabi office. Stuart James is a key individual to note and specialises in cross-border and domestic transactions, particularly M&A, joint ventures and commodity sales.

Practice head(s):

Simon Fraser

Other key lawyers:

Stuart James


Ashurst and Simon Fraser are superb.’

‘Experts in problem-solving and in analyzing data/information of any target within our mergers and acquisitions objectives.’

‘Simon Fraser has helped create lump-sum M&A billing or by-the-deal billing which is highly appreciated in a lower oil and gas price climate.’

Simon Fraser is in a word “excellent”.’

‘Simon Fraser is indeed an expert in effective management of people and their varying opinions in collaborative efforts.’

‘Simon Fraser possesses an in-depth business awareness with a thorough understanding of all relevant commercial aspects of a deal.’

Key clients

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC)

Kuwait Petrochemical Company

Petrochemicals Industries Company K.S.C


ADES Investments Holding Ltd

Mubadala Capital

Geltec Inc. Pte. Ltd.

Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners

Multiplex Middle East Holding WLL

Interserve Group Holdings Limited


Work highlights

  • Advised ADNOC on a series of transactions involving the sell-down of direct and indirect interests in ADNOC Gas Pipeline Assets LLC.
  • Advised ADES Investments Holding Ltd (AI) on all aspects of the $516m takeover of ADES International Holding plc by Innovative Energy Holding Ltd.
  • Advised Sojitz Corporation on all aspects of its acquisition of an interest in Mirfa International Power and Water Company from Shuaa Capital.

Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird has a broad corporate and M&A offering with particular expertise in cross-border joint ventures in the healthcare and TMT sectors. UAE managing partner Anders Nilsson heads the firm's corporate and aviation practices and advises on the full range of public and private M&A. On the commercial side, IP practice head Melissa Murray is the primary point of contact; Murray specialises in franchising, distribution and supply agreements.

Practice head(s):

Anders Nilsson; Melissa Murray

Other key lawyers:

Johannes Eisser; Eddie Chiu; Surabhi Singhi


Very professional and experts in their field. Always supportive and available for their clients. They are very pro-active compared to any other law firm.’

Eddie Chiu is the legal advisor we worked with and he is very knowledgeable, very responsive and always available. Our need was about franchise law and Eddie Chiu is an expert in this field, for any territory. He was involved during the meetings with our clients and delivered a great job.’

Good working knowledge of local requirements and reasonable value. Very responsive and easy to work with.’

Our key relationship is with associate Surabhi Singhi who again has excellent knowledge of local process, is very responsive and is a stand-out associate for us in the region.’

Practical advice, managed timeline well. Well-rounded team.’

Anders Nilsson gave us practical advice with a strong commercial awareness.’

A very responsive, collaborative team with real technology experience. Above all, they understand the client’s business and commercial drivers.’

Melissa Murray is an excellent IP lawyer and really goes out of her way to understand commercial drivers. Johannes Eisser appreciates the details and intricacies of a deal and goes the extra mile to service the client. Always calm and collected.’

Key clients

Athena FZE

Rackspace Limited

Marafie Works Group for Foodstuff & Restaurants

Aeon Luxe DMCC

Saudi Economic and Development Holding Company (SEDCO)

T3 Technology Ltd

Work highlights

  • Assisted Athena FZE with the transfer of certain games of the client and the business in relation thereto to a US mobile marketing firm.
  • Advised Rackspace Limited on setting up a physical presence in the region and helped incorporate a branch in Dubai.
  • Advised a European listed healthcare company on partnering with a UAE entity to establish stem cell treatment centres through a joint venture entity in the UAE.

Bracewell LLP

Joint venture and shareholder arrangements, commercial contracts and corporate structuring are key areas of strength for Bracewell LLP. The practice has expertise in the manufacturing, defence, recruitment and energy areas. Managing partner Chris Williams heads the practice and is supported by dual-qualified English and Saudi lawyer Ibrahim Siddiki, who joined the firm in April 2021 from Vinson & Elkins LLP.

Practice head(s):

Chris Williams

Other key lawyers:

Ibrahim Siddiki


Chris Williams is a consummate professional.  In any situation Chris finds the core issues and brings order and calm to often contentious situations.’

Finally having a group of professionals working together that can easily understand a client’s business, needs and provide a suitable practical solution. Having a partner that can deal with UK, UAE and KSA law is an amazing USP for this law firm.’

Chris Williams is an extraordinary professional that takes seriously his oath to do the best for his clients. He gives amazing advice that is easily understood and applied.’

‘Ibrahim Siddiki is the partner that is fluent in KSA law, along with UAE and UK law. This broad legal knowledge, with both English and Arabic, makes him a unique and invaluable professional to deal with.’

Key clients

General Motors

Vertex Aerospace


Pilot Chemical


Dover Corporation

Khalid Yousuf Al Marzouq & Sons Group of Companies (KMGC)

NES Global Talent Management

Blu Stone Management

Alcazar Energy Partners

Amerapex Corporation

Allied Telesis

RP International

ARIA Commodities

Label Labs

Yalla Baby Box

Riviana Foods/Tilda Rice

Liquid Power Speciality Products Inc.

Servita Consulting

United Service Organizations

Arabian Chemical Terminals

Al Jomaih Automative Company LLC

Al Jomaih Energy and Water Company LLC

Insaan Group

Work highlights

  • Acting as General Motors’ go-to corporate/commercial counsel in the UAE and in respect of its wider Middle East operations.
  • Acting for KMGC in respect of its Venice subsidiary.
  • Assisting TVG DWC LLC with its Expo 2020-related matters.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has substantial cross-border M&A experience and has expertise advising sovereign wealth funds and pension funds. Gamal Abouali has a broad range of experience and advises on M&A, capital markets transactions and projects. Tihir Sarkar has strength advising multinational corporates and sovereign wealth funds. Chris Macbeth is also noted and was promoted to partner in 2020.

Other key lawyers:

Gamal Abouali; Tihir Sarkar; Chris Macbeth


Chris Macbeth is simply extraordinary. Strength and the speed of his grasp of the essence, agility, precision, flexibility and reliability.  Also very humble, approachable and available.’

The team is uniquely placed with a very strong business acumen. They also evidence excellent ability to maintain the same superior client experience over the years irrespective of individual changes within the team.’

The lawyers at Cleary are generally very pragmatic, commercial and hands-on.’

‘They understand well the business considerations that drive a specific deal and are able to provide very tailored legal advice aligned with the nature of our organization as well as the practical implications of the issue at hand. They have also developed a strong knowledge of our institutional sensitivities and preferred approach based on past transactions they have advised us on.’

Chris Macbeth is a superb lawyer to work with and Gamal Abouali has incredible gravitas and client service skills. ‘

Whilst the entire team is to be commended, Chris Macbeth has always stood out. Chris is a sharp lawyer who makes it his business to be attentive to the needs of his clients regardless of whether he is leading on a transaction. He ensures that his clients legal needs are always covered, beyond closing. He is always available as a trusted sounding board, with helpful advice.’

Key clients



Public Institution for Social Security


Ministry of Finance of the United Arab Emirates

Work highlights

  • Counsel to a major ME-based sovereign wealth fund on its investment in thyssenkrupp Elevator AG as part of a consortium of investors led by Advent International and Cinven that included the sovereign wealth fund of the government of Singapore, GIC, and German private foundation RAG-Stiftung.
  • Advised OMV AG on its acquisition of a 15 percent interest in Abu Dhabi National Oil Company Refining and a to-be-established global-trading joint venture for approximately $2.5bn.
  • Advised an affiliate of Mubadala Investment Company PJSC on its significant indirect equity investment into Truck Hero Holdings Inc., as part of a consortium of investors led by L Catterton IX.


CMS specialises in transactions in the technology, energy and infrastructure, and hotels and leisure sectors. Practice head John O’Connor advises on cross-border M&A, joint ventures, franchise and distribution structures. Karim Fawaz heads the firm’s TMT offering. The group was bolstered by the recent arrivals of Patrik Daintry from Baker Botts L.L.P. and legal director Ben Gibson from Clyde & Co LLP.

Practice head(s):

John O’Connor

Other key lawyers:

Karim Fawaz; Patrik Daintry; Ben Gibson

Key clients

Aldar Properties PJSC

Investment Corporation of Dubai


Al Dahra Group


Public Authority for Housing Welfare – Kuwait



Dubai Future Foundation



Abu Dhabi National Energy Company PJSC (TAQA)

Dubai Electricity & Water Authority





Weir Group

Hambro Perks / Oryx

Panthera Capital Investments

Mamo Pay

Cansco Group


Sunset Hospitality

Oman Hotel Tourism Company

Intercontinental Hotel Group

Jumeirah Hotels

Work highlights

  • Advised stc Pay on the acquisition of a 15% stake in its business by Western Union for approximately $200m, valuing stc Pay at $1.33bn.
  • Advising EMPG on its $1bn merger with OLX Group.
  • Advising Weir Group on the restructuring and sale of its oil and gas business in the Middle East to Caterpillar and Olayan Group.

Gibson Dunn

Gibson Dunn‘s team has a ‘business oriented‘ approach and represents a number of financial sponsors on both the buy side and sell side of M&A transactions. The practice is led by corporate specialist Hardeep Plahe. Of counsel Hanna Chalhoub is another key name. Fraser Dawson left the firm. Marwan Elaraby was a new arrival in October 2022.

Practice head(s):

Hardeep Plahe

Other key lawyers:

Hanna Chalhoub; Marwan Elaraby


‘Hardeep Plahe: we appreciate his profound research-based legal analysis and at the same time his ability to explain and clarify in a very business oriented manner.’

‘Hanna Chalhoub and Hardeep Plahe – commercial, responsive/available, deploy diverse teams. Pleasant to work with.’

Key clients

Abudawood Group

Agility Public Warehousing Company


Blackstone Group International Partners

Emirates NBD PJSC


Fajr Capital Limited

FTI Consulting Inc.

Gulf Capital


Jadwa Investment Company

Kuwait Investment Authority


Mizuho Gulf Capital Partners

Moby Group

The Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia



HFW has extensive experience assisting clients with international trade and commercial contracts matters in the maritime, commodities, energy and transport sectors. Rula Dajani Abuljebain and Alexander Reid are key contacts in Dubai. Richard Lucas heads the firm's Abu Dhabi offering, which also includes Tania De Swart and Vince Gordon.

Practice head(s):

Rula Dajani; Richard Lucas

Other key lawyers:

Alexander Reid; Vince Gordon; Tania de Swart


‘The HFW team has shown itself to deliver fantastic legal services.’

‘The HFW team offer quick responses to legal queries, work well within given timelines, and provide access to other services and expertise.’

‘I also note that HFW have provided access to international partners and firms in some of the more remote locations within which we operate.’

‘HFW have provided us sound industry advice alongside their specific legal advice. We view HFW as an excellent law firm.’

‘Tania De Swart has provided our company with excellent legal advice and service. She is both accessible and diligent in her approach.’

‘Tania De Swart has taken the time to understand our business which has allowed her to understand our needs and strategic place in the the market.’

Alex Reid has provided our company with exceptional services. I have called Alex on a number of occasions with issues that are ordinarily outside of his ambit, namely due to overseas requirements. Alex has been able to follow-up on my queries and connect with me with the appropriate expertise. He has gone above and beyond what I would ordinarily expect.’

‘Vince Gordon – His work is bespoke around finding the right solutions for our business in an often fluid environment. We find him a steady pair of hands that assist us at the wheel.’

Key clients

Lancaster6 DMCC

CNM Estates Limited

Force 10 Limited

Aquarius Global Limited

Aspen Medical Pty Limited (Australia)

Emirates Business Group

SAAB AB (publ)

Harris Corporation

Flight Centre Travel Group

MENA 360 DWC LLC (Fetchr)

Etihad Rail Company PJSC

Bahrain Airport Services

James Fisher & Sons plc

Fura Gems Inc.

Etihad Aviation Group

DOW Chemicals

Chedid Capital Holdings

Munich Re

Al Futtaim Willis

PPG Industries


DP World / P&O Maritime

Work highlights

  • Advised on the establishment of E-DARAT and on the drafting of the licensing agreements and the data protection aspects and privacy policies for the platform and all related regulatory matters.
  • Advising on all aspects of Aspen Medical Pty Limited’s project to design, build and operate six primary healthcare clinics in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
  • Advising Lancaster6 and its employees on a regulatory investigation being conducted by the United Nations Security Council in relation to possible breaches of Libyan arms embargoes.

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP  undertakes complex, high-value transactions in the energy sector, many of which are multi-jurisdictional. The work encompasses corporate, M&A and project development and financing. Clients range from well-known corporates through to smaller independents such as petrochemical companies. Other clients hail from sectors such as healthcare and fintech. Managing partner at the Dubai office, Patricia Tiller’s expertise includes a focus on the international energy and infrastructure sectors, while David Pang’s expertise spans cross-border M&A, commercial, private equity and venture capital investments matters. Special counsel Martin A. Skehill handles project finance and infrastructure developments, broader commercial matters and restructurings.

Practice head(s):

Patricia Tiller

Other key lawyers:

David Pang; Martin A. Skehill

Key clients

OEG Offshore

Emirates Global Aluminium PJSC

Al-Waha Petroleum Company Limited

Abu Dhabi Global Market

CAPE Infrastructure

ENOC Link L.L.C.

Hoover Ferguson Group

Petromal (a unit of National Holdings)

Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) LLC

Beema Insurance Services LLC

Endemaj Funds LLC

Seven Holding Limited

Coolshop LLC

NeoVision Ventures LLC

Work highlights

  • Advising Emirates Global Aluminium PJSC in connection with several commodities sales agreements.
  • Advising Al-Waha Petroleum Company Limited (a subsidiary of the China National Petroleum Corporation) on commercial agreements relating to its role as an international oil and gas contractor in Iraq.
  • Advising Abu Dhabi Global Market on the drafting of revisions to ADGM’s Commercial Licensing Regulations and related regulations and rules.

Ibrahim & Partners

Ibrahim & Partners has an active M&A practice in the UAE and is frequently instructed to advise on acquisitions and disposals of private and public joint stock companies. Practice head Malack El Masry has a broad M&A and corporate practice that covers ECM and project finance transactions. Managing partner Ahmed Ibrahim is another key individual to note.

Practice head(s):

Malack El Masry

Other key lawyers:

Ahmed Ibrahim


Practical, pragmatic and business acumen to understand the needs of the client and why the transaction is being made.

Malack has huge experience in M&A.

Key clients

Meraas and Dubai Holding

Wilo Middle East FZE

Tristar Transport LLC

Work highlights

  • Advised Meraas and Dubai Holding on the purchase of DXB Entertainments PJSC (DXBE).
  • Advised Wilo Middle East FZE on the purchase of a pumps overhauling, repair and service business from Direct Trade House International LLC.
  • Assisted Tristar Transport LLC with extensive due diligence and advised on certain restructuring steps to align for its listing.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP advises on a wide variety of inbound and outbound M&A transactions driven by private equity, sovereign and government investment, particularly in key sectors including the oil and gas, healthcare and defence sectors. Abu Dhabi-based Mark Gilligan heads the practice and is supported by a Dubai team which includes Chadi Salloum and senior associate Joanna Maria El Khoury.

Practice head(s):

Mark Gilligan

Other key lawyers:

Chadi Salloum; Joanna Maria El Khoury


‘The team is supportive and responsive, as well as knowledgeable and experienced in the market. They are also cost effective and flexible, in addition to having a US tax specialist in Abu Dhabi.’

‘Joanna El Khoury is an experienced associate on VC deals. She is quick and to the point.’

Mark Gilligan – very responsive and solution orientated. His team act as an extension of our internal legal team.

Key clients

Advanced Wellness

Al-Baddad International

Etihad Airways PJSC

J.S. Held Group

Konark Capital Partners

Michael Baker International, Inc.

Mizuho Gulf Capital Partners Ltd.

Sequoia Capital

STC Ventures

Stonepine Capital Partners

Tadano Ltd

TMS Global, Inc.

TVM Capital Healthcare Partners Limited

Warba Bank K.S.C.P. – Client name publishable but not deal

Wamda Capital

Work highlights

  • Represented Mizuho Gulf Capital Partners Ltd. (MGCP), the investment manager of the Gulf Japan Food Fund (GJFF), on the structuring, acquisition, and financing of a majority stake in the Organic Foods and Café (OFC) group.
  • Advised TVM Healthcare (CEIC) Ltd., TVM Healthcare MENA II (CEIC) Ltd., Olayan Investments Cyprus Ltd., MENA Healthcare Services Co. Ltd., and QFB LT Care LLC on the $232m sale of CMRC Ltd., a Cypriot holding company that owns long-term care and rehabilitation centres in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.


AMERELLER advises its European, North American and Japanese client base on cross-border M&A, particularly in relation to foreign inbound investments. Cross-border restructuring is another area of focus. Native German-speaker Jochen Murach jointly heads the practice alongside Jonathan Noble, who is fluent in Arabic, and Christopher Gunson, who is a key point of contact for the firm's Japanese clients.

Practice head(s):

Jochen Murach; Christopher Gunson; Jonathan P. Noble


‘Accessible, understand the needs properly, know the client and its products well, collaboration is perfect, team is supportive and have good knowledge’

‘Jochen Murach is always helpful and approachable. He understands what the client needs and provides fantastic support, not only provides the answers to the questions but also guides you to see the topics from other perspectives proactively.’

‘The team is efficient and solutions orientated.’

‘Their response rates are quick, and they are always a pleasure to deal with.’

‘They have a strong knowledge of the laws in the region, particularly those in the UAE, and are always up to date on new issuance or amendments to laws and regulations, as well as the issuance of directives and circulars.’

‘They offer creative billing solutions, that allow in-house legal functions to operate much quicker. This is extremely helpful, as it allows our in-house workflow to continue fluidly.’

‘They offer staffing that is diverse and therefore provides the ability to have fresh and new perspectives on issues that arise during the course of representation.’

‘Jonathan Noble is an exceptional lawyer, that I have a lot of admiration and respect for. The way that he conducts himself, his personality makes him stand out when you first meet him. But it is his exceptional business mind and creative solution-making mentality that offers a one-of-a-kind experience when he is providing representation.’

Key clients

Idemitsu Kosan Co, Ltd

Hitachi Ltd.




Isuzu Motors International FZE

Fujitsu General Middle East FZE

FujiFilm Middle East FZE

FujiFilm Corporation

Anjarwalla Collins & Haidermota (AC&H)

Anjarwalla Collins & Haidermota (AC&H) has an active cross-border M&A practice that covers Africa, South-East Asia and the GCC. Managing partner Atiq S. Anjarwalla heads the practice and is a key point of contact for mandates involving Kenyan law. Adil Shafi  is another key name to note.

Practice head(s):

Atiq S. Anjarwalla

Other key lawyers:

Adil Shafi


‘Atiq Anjarwalla & Ian Gaitta – Great knowledge, attention to detail and negotiating ability.’

‘They are very prompt, responsive, smart and caring and very practical.’

‘AC&H under the leadership of Mr. Atiq Anjarwalla has always set new and higher standards for legal practice.’

‘Their dynamic approach to business expansion without compromising on the quality of legal services is inspiring.’

‘Their focus on their lawyers through internal and external training programs and collaborative associations with other law firms is testament to their values and ethos as an organization which is rooted in shared knowledge and growth.’

‘In addition to a strong legal understanding, Adil Shafi’s commercial acumen sets him apart from his peers. His responsiveness, round the clock availability and constant thirst for learning is reflective of his solid work ethic.’

Key clients

CPAS Management DWC-LLC

The Alliance Group, Africa

Minti Motorsport Limited

Betika Group

Technomedics International (Private) Limited

Taurus Wealth Management Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for an organisation that operates in the manufacturing, FMCG, frozen foods, cosmetics, real estate, home appliances, electronics sectors on a global restructuring exercise involving the UAE and other countries.
  • Acting for Technomedics International on the proposed acquisition of the entire shareholding of JF&I Packaging (Pvt), including its wholly owned subsidiary in the UAE.
  • Acting for the shareholders of a group of companies operating in the food industry in Kenya on the sale of a minority stake in the group to an Africa-focused investment company, Tana Africa Capital.


BonelliErede provides corporate and commercial transactional support to clients across the UAE and GCC in a range of sectors from luxury goods and shipping, to energy and healthcare. Managing partner Marco De Leo heads the practice and has expertise in corporate litigation, M&A and joint ventures, particularly cross-border transactions involving countries in Africa.

Practice head(s):

Marco De Leo


‘Great skills and availability.’

Key clients

Vertiv Group


International Materials Inc.

Luxottica Group

Hitachi Rail STS

Work highlights

  • Assisted Hitachi Rail STS S.p.A. with the management of the systems and integration contract for Stage Two of the UAE’s national railway network awarded by Etihad Rail.
  • Advised Luxottica Middle East on the contractual relationship with its distributor Magrabi group for the GCC for Luxottica’s products.
  • Advising International Material Inc. on the activity of its branch in the UAE, including assisting the client in restructuring its judicial presence in the UAE.

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP

At Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP, Jeremy Miocevic, who is praised by clients for his 'strategic thinking', heads the practice. The arrival of Ibrahim Elsadig has bolstered the firm's presence in the UAE and GCC region. Paul Bugingo is a key contact for cross-border transactions in Africa.

Practice head(s):

Jeremy Miocevic

Other key lawyers:

Patrick Callinan; Ibrahim Elsadig; Paul Bugingo; Hazem Hebaishi


‘Jeremy Miocevic, intellect and his ability for big picture/strategic thinking.’

‘Ibrahim Elsadig, years of GCC experience, and a very calm demeanor.’

‘Good knowledge of local law and business practices. Able to provide a common sense approach to transactions’

‘Jeremy Miocevic – practical approach and good knowledge of the law and business.’

‘Hazem Hebaishi – always available associate, good knowledge of the law and always willing to put maximum effort in.’

‘We have direct access to Jeremy Miocevic and speed of response and turnaround time for work is very good. Jeremy pulls in support from other Partners and Associates as the nature of the work dictates.’

‘Jeremy Miocevic is a stand-out lawyer and individual. He applies sound legal experience in a practical and realistic manner, bearing in mind the MENA markets in which we operate.’

‘There is no substitute for hands-on practical experience which Jeremy Miocevic has in abundance.’

Key clients


Work highlights

  • Advised Zutari on the purchase of the GCC business of another engineering company which involved complicated legal structuring issues regarding the transfer and maintenance of engineering consultancy licences.
  • Advised a DIFC Fintech entity on a joint venture with a UK digital bank regarding the commercialisation of its fintech application.
  • Assisted a UK-based food technology company with drafting and negotiating complex master licence agreements for the licensing of the technology in various markets including Australia, New Zealand and Qatar.

Galadari, Advocates & Legal Consultants

Galadari, Advocates & Legal Consultants' corporate practice in Dubai is led by corporate specialist Ken Dixon and founding partner Ziad Galadari, who has in-depth projects and infrastructure expertise. Fadi Hassoun heads the firm's Abu Dhabi offering.

Practice head(s):

Ziad Galadari; Ken Dixon; Fadi Hassoun


‘The team is very professional and understands the requirements of the client and provides legal opinions in a timely manner.’

‘Abdullah Galadari goes the extra mile to under the business requirements of the client.’

‘The care and attention to detail from all of the staff helps them stand out.’

‘They are always available to help and will get things done properly and promptly.’

‘They are very business focussed which is invaluable.’

‘They come up with solutions to problems rather than more questions, which is the opposite of all other law firms I have worked with.’

Key clients

Government of Umm Al Quwain

Dubai Holding and subsidiaries

Sterling Business Services DMCC


Energy Drilling

Dubai Airports




Planet Pharmacy

Gulf Explosives

Shuaa Capital

Abu Dhabi financial Group

Government of Ajman

Unicredit SpA

Dubai Properties Group


Federal Customs Authority

Umm al Quwain Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation


Business Bay LLC

Dubai Production City

Dubai Media City

Energy Drilling International

National Bonds Corporation

Dubai Investments PJSC



Fujairah Gold


Work highlights

  • Advised the Government of Umm Al Quwain on IWP project and venture with ACWA Power Water and Power Projects, Mubadala and the Federal Electricity and Water Authority.
  • Advised on the acquisition of a majority shareholding of Fujisoft to an undisclosed Singapore-based entity.
  • Advised Action Group on a transaction worth $1.8m concerning the acquisition of a majority shareholding in a free zone establishment based in Hamriyah Free Zone carrying out oilfield equipment supply and maintenance services to Action Group (the “FZE”).

PwC Legal Middle East

PwC Legal Middle East specialises in M&A and restructuring and advises clients in the retail, industrials, digital, financial services and energy sectors. Practice head Darren Harris is experienced handling cross-border transactions and his client base includes private equity houses, high-net-worth individuals and entrepreneurs. Alan Wood advises on M&A, joint ventures and general corporate advisory with a focus on the Saudi Arabia market.

Practice head(s):

Darren Harris

Other key lawyers:

Alan Wood

Key clients

Organic Foods & Café


Dear Systems

Al Futtaim

Rentokil plc

Public Investment Fund (PIF)



Al Seer (Spinneys Supermarket)

Aldar Properties

Work highlights

  • Advised Organic Foods & Cafe on the majority disposal of the group to a private equity buyer.
  • Advised Al Futtaim Group on the disposal of its retail sports business in the Middle East and Asia.
  • Advised Dear Systems on the sale of the business to US private equity business, Cin 7.

SCHLÜTER GRAF Legal Consultants

Boutique law firm SCHLÜTER GRAF Legal Consultants has a broad corporate and commercial offering with particular expertise in infrastructure and construction. Managing partner Andrés Ring focuses on joint ventures, M&A and re-structuring and also advises on commercial law-related contentious matters. Mahmoud Shahawy and Usama Munir are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Andrés Ring; Christoph Keimer

Other key lawyers:

Mahmoud Shahawy; Usama Munir

Key clients

Republic of Colombia

Power Mech Projects Limited


Gulf Drug LLC

Unilever Gulf FZE

Schenker Middle East FZE

Baenninger Trading LLC

A leading manufacturer & supplier of Intralogistics Solutions

Puma Middle East FZ LLC

Work highlights

  • Advised the Republic of Colombia on the planning and construction stage of its pavilion at the World Expo 2020 Dubai.
  • Advised Unilever Gulf FZE on the corporate and commercial laws in the Gulf region.
  • Advised Power Mech Projects Limited on a project worth $15m on the erection, installation, testing, pre-commissioning and commissioning of two units at a 750MW power plant.

Simmons & Simmons Middle East

The UAE corporate practice at Simmons & Simmons Middle East has a key focus on acting for asset management companies and financial institutions, as well as clients in the healthcare and life sciences and TMT sectors. James Coleman heads the corporate practice and works closely with Raza Rizvi, who heads the firm's Middle East TMT and intellectual property offering.

Practice head(s):

James Coleman; Raza Rizvi

Key clients

Konkola Copper Mines

Triterras Fintech Pte Ltd

Orion Resource Partners

Hambro Perks Ventures Limited

Wego Middle East

BECO Holdings Ltd

Checkout MENA FZ-LLC

NCB Capital

KKR Asia Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised the provisional liquidator of Konkola Copper Mines on the proposed disposal of its copper smelting business.
  • Advised the Hambro Perks-managed Oryx Fund on multiple venture capital investments across the region including in the fintech and healthtech sectors.
  • Advised Orion Resource Partners on its private equity investment into Allied Gold Corp, an international mineral company based in Dubai with key operating assets in Sub-Saharan Africa

Stephenson Harwood

Stephenson Harwood is a well regarded advisor on high-value, mutli-jurisdictional M&A, private equity and venture capital transactions, and is regularly instructed on such matters by leading public and private companies. Leading partners Diwakar Agarwal and Sandeep Dhama are ably supported by recommended senior associate Toufic Safie.

Other key lawyers:

Diwakar Agarwal; Sandeep Dhama; Toufic Safie


‘Exceptional team, very knowledgeable, great client service mentality.’


Key clients

Abraaj Global Credit Managers

Shareholders of Al Dahra Group

Inspired Education

KIMS Healthcare

Knowcross Limited

Eddyfi Technologies

Esyasoft Technologies

EnTrust Global Fund

Livio AB

Cleartrip Inc


Zhongman Petroleum and Natural Gas Group

Grabba International DMCC

BRP Bizzozero & Partners SA

Work highlights

  • Advising EnTrust Global’s Blue Ocean Fund on a loan facility to United Overseas Group in relation to its acquisition of United Arab Chemical Carriers, a Dubai-headquartered international shipping company.
  • Advised Inspired Education Holdings, a UK based educational services provider, on the multi-million dollar private equity acquisition of Synkers Lebanon, a Lebanese-based education platform with a subsidiary in Dubai.
  • Advising the owners of TSA Group, a global hotel and hospitality consultancy that operates in over 50 countries, on its sale to Florida-based Frontline Performance Group, a strategic hospitality software and performance consultancy.