TMT in United Arab Emirates
The 'very thoughtful and creative' TMT team at DLA Piper Middle East LLP has 'stellar expertise'. It is regularly instructed on large-scale deals in the market, and it continues to add major new clients to its established client base. The department has seen consistent growth in the past few years. Recent internal developments include the promotion of Eamon Holley to partner in 2019; his areas of expertise include IT and telecoms, data protection and digital transformation. Key partner Jamie Ryder has been advising Expo 2020 Dubai on commercial sponsorship and associated agreements, including its Premier Partnership, Official Partner and Official Provider arrangements. Paul Allen heads the practice.
‘TMT group has stellar expertise. They can approach issues, problems, transactions, structures in many different ways and are very thoughtful and creative. Very client friendly and client focused.‘
‘The DLA Piper team possesses an exceptional world-class knowledge of sports audio-visual rights acquisition and distribution matters.‘
‘Very knowledgeable attorneys, particularly senior attorneys/partners.‘
‘The team stands out for the quality of the advice given, and how they balance it out with a pragmatic approach that reflects the needs of the business. This makes DLA Piper a real value add to an in-house legal team.‘
‘Jamie Ryder’s engagement, resourcing, efficiency, work value and communication is beyond what I have seen by a law firm in my 30 years of work with firms.‘
‘Jamie Ryder has unrivalled knowledge of sports and media rights. He provided timely and insightful counsel and guidance.‘
‘Eamon Holley stands out in terms of partner availability/engagement, quality of advice and matter management.‘
Expo 2020 Dubai
du (Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company)
Vodafone Group Enterprises
Saudi Telecom Company
- Advising Saudi Telecom Company on its purchase of the exclusive worldwide broadcast rights for the Saudi Professional League and other matches.
- Acting for Expo 2020 Dubai on a number of commercial sponsorship and associated agreements.
- Advised GFH Financial Group B.S.C., a Bahrain-based investment group, on its acquisition of 85% of The Entertainer group, a leading mobile e-commerce platform.
Highly regarded firm Al Tamimi & Company fields an experienced team of TMT lawyers, which are frequently appointed to advise on major local and regional projects. Among the team's areas of expertise are blockchain, AI, e-commerce, data privacy and cybersecurity. It is also seeing an uptick in work related to the Internet of Things (IoT), where the firm is able to leverage its substantial regulatory and commercial expertise. 'Amazing lawyer' Fiona Robertson is particularly active in the media and entertainment space. Steve Bainbridge is the head of sports and events management. Martin Hayward and senior associate Krishna Jhala are also names to note.
‘The Al Tamimi team is responsive, business-focused and thorough. The firm also is unparalleled in its coverage of the Middle East and Africa.‘
‘Al Tamimi is a really terrific firm. My go-to firm for all of my Gulf States needs.‘
‘Combination of regional base and international expertise.‘
‘Fiona Robertson is an amazing lawyer – a superstar!‘
‘Martin Hayward is also excellent, and associate Krishna Jhala is top-notch.‘
‘Nick O’Connell in Saudi Arabia is, simply put, the best technology lawyer in the region.‘
Jaguar Land Rover
Department of Finance, Ajman
Smart Dubai Government
- Advised Jaguar Land Rover on the structure for its ‘brand experience centre’ for test driving cars and promoting the brand across new platforms.
- Assisted with all legal matters relating to three major films produced by Image Nation.
- Advising an international music streaming service on its launch in the GCC.
Allen & Overy LLP
Tom Butcher heads the practice at Allen & Overy LLP, which benefits from the firm's well-known expertise in M&A and finance. Highlights included the team's advice to Abu Dhabi Media Company on its broadcast partnership with UFC to provide access to all live UFC events and non-live programming as part of a multi-year agreement. In addition to its TMT-sector clients, the team advises local and multinational corporates and financial institutions on outsourcing, technology procurement, e-commerce, IP, IT and data protection matters.
UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority
Abu Dhabi Global Market
Injazat Data Systems
Abu Dhabi Media Company
- Advising Yahsat on two separate joint ventures with Hughes Network Systems.
- Assisting Abu Dhabi Media Company with its broadcast partnership with UFC.
- Advising Malaffi on the implementation of a health information exchange for Abu Dhabi.
Sector-focused firm Bird & Bird is well versed across the gamut of corporate, commercial and regulatory matters affecting companies in the TMT industries. In the media space, the team advised production company Nomad Media on various projects, including the production of a local television show called The Majlis. David Bintliff heads the practice, which was bolstered by the arrival of associates Christopher Eklund from Clifford Chance and Lena El-Malak from an in-house position at Microsoft.
- Assisting Nomad Media with the production of an important local television show called The Majlis.
- Advising Perform Content on negotiating a range of commercial agreements and arrangements.
- Advised Etihad Airways on the outsourcing of its contact centre business to Dnata.
Clyde & Co LLP
Clyde & Co LLP combines 'excellent legal skills with great technical knowledge'; the firm has an impressive tech practice, and is particularly noted for its data protection expertise, where it has a 'dedicated regional practice'. In an illustration of this capability, the team was appointed by the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority to advise on the drafting and enactment of a new data protection law. The team expanded at the senior associate level with the arrival of Ben Gibson from Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP in 2019. Practice head Dino Wilkinson 'has exceptional legal and technical skills'.
‘The team at Clydes has a dedicated regional practice for Personal Data Protection. By bringing experience and best practice to the region, the client can be confident that advice is sound and reflective of the right direction of travel.‘
‘Lawyers from various jurisdictions, and that makes it very handy for advice on any type of legal query.‘
‘The team is unique on the basis of an excellent pairing of excellent legal skills with great technical knowledge. We also appreciated the ability to advise on complex strategic transactions involving multiple jurisdictions.‘
‘Engaged and knowledgeable about the sector.‘
‘There is a long track record, particularly with relevant experience in this region, understanding local law as well as “practice”.‘
‘Dino has exceptional legal and technical skills. We highly appreciated his customer-oriented and practical style, his good capabilities to react quickly to urgent matters and his personable nature.‘
‘The people I have worked with are steady, measured, and clear.‘
‘Dino Wilkinson and Ben Gibson are surgical around data privacy practice. They are a great team.‘
‘Dino Wilkinson stands out in terms of sound, strategic guidance on the subject of Data Protection. He has been central for us in our strategic approach in the region to data protection.‘
‘I value the patience to listen and the responsiveness of Dino Wilkinson to an inquiry.‘
Dubai International Financial Centre Authority
Dubai World Trade Centre
- Acted for Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFCA) on a full end-to-end basis on the drafting and enactment of the new data protection law.
- Advised Midis Group on the acquisition by Mindware FZ LLC of the entire-issued share capital of Arrow ECS FZCO.
- Advising Marriott on an ongoing basis on various significant technology law-related mandates in connection with the operation of its business.
Under the leadership of the highly regarded Raza Rizvi, the well-established TMT practice at Simmons & Simmons Middle East has a broad offering that covers all aspects of commercial, regulatory and transactional matters. The team was further bolstered in 2019 by the hire of managing associate Nick Roudev from Allen & Overy LLP in London. Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du) is a key client; recently, the team has assisted it with its work as master systems integrator on the Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority’s new “Smart District”, on various digitisation initiatives and on compliance with GDPR.
Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du)
Qatar Islamic Bank
Mercury Payments Services
Intigral (subsidiary of Saudi Telecom)
- Advising Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (du) on its complex TMT matters.
- Assisted Ciena with a major network roll-out project in Iraq.
- Advised EA Sports on the emerging regulation of gaming and e-sports in Saudi Arabia, and other matters.
The Bench has an industry-focused approach and specialises in the TMT and hospitality sectors. As such, it is a popular choice for companies operating across the media, tech, telecoms, e-commerce and fintech sectors, with clients ranging from start-ups to major multinational corporates. Joby Beretta and Chris Appleby are key contacts; the team was also bolstered by the arrival of Gerard Hobby from Dubai Holding.
‘We liaise directly with Joby Beretta, and his knowledge of the immediate subject and industry peers helps us immensely.‘
‘Timeliness and knowledge.‘
Virgin Mobile Middle East & North Africa
International Hotels Group (IHG)
Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC)
- Advised Virgin Mobile on mobile financial services agreements and other commercial agreements.
- Assisted LifeOnScreen with its international corporate structuring and establishment, intra-group agreements, regulatory compliance, standard terms and conditions and distribution agreements.
- Advising MSS on various TMT matters such as sport sponsorship and tech R&D and manufacturing.
Iain Black is the key contact for TMT-related transactions at Dentons. Black has notable experience in corporate and M&A deals in the TMT space, and the team also has experience advising public and private sector companies on commercial and regulatory matters. Kelly Tymburski left in July 2019.
SAS Middle East FZ LLC
Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques (SITA)
- Advising SAS on a number of technology projects and commercial matters concerning its suite of contracts for customers in the UAE and wider Middle East region.
Hadef & Partners maintains a busy practice, acting for TMT-sector clients in addition to a range of companies operating in the retail, education and healthcare sectors. The team has recently advised a number of clients on ICT-related matters and data protection issues. Key practitioners in the sizeable team include commercial practice head Victoria Woods and brand protection and trade marks specialist James Dunne.
Latham & Watkins LLP stands out for its expertise in tech and fintech, and leverages the firm's strengths in corporate, finance and projects to handle a range of transactions. A team of Dubai and London-based lawyers led by Brian Meenagh advised Newbridge Fintech on the development and roll-out of www.deposit-book.com, a UAE-based fintech that is designed to provide banks and corporates in the Middle East with new ways to borrow and lend money. In internal developments, associate Alexander Hendry relocated to Dubai from the Singapore office.
General Sports Authority of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
- Advising Newbridge Fintech on development and roll-out of www.deposit-book.com.
- Advising a VC company on a series F financing for a car-riding technology company.
- Advised General Sports Authority of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on two media events.
BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates LLP has a varied TMT offering but particularly stands out for the strength of its contentious practice; areas of expertise include defamation and e-crime disputes. Its clients include media, social media and tech companies. Munir Suboh and Rima Mrad head the department. Nadim Bardawil is a name to note at the senior associate level; his practice includes advising on technology-related agreements, e-commerce and data protection.
‘Munir Suboh is committed and dedicated to his clients. He provided legal advice, documentation and managed the transaction to conclusion.‘
‘Munir Subboh responds very quickly and on point.‘
MBC Group (MBC FZ LLC)
Gulf Film LLC
Middle East News FZ LLC – Al Arabiya News Channel
Fortafy Games DMCC
- Acted for Middle East News FZ in contesting a defamation/media claim.
- Advised Thomson Reuters on matters pertaining to a major restructuring and sale of assets.
CMS acts for a broad client base of tech, fintech, sports, social media, aviation and healthcare companies. The practice is led by Rob Flaws, who was promoted to partner in 2019 and has substantial experience in the delivery of private and public sector technology and communications projects.
- Advising Emirates Airlines on the development and negotiation of its contractual arrangements with IBM for the management of its IT infrastructure.
- Advising Phillips on a range of matters related to its distribution structure and commercial arrangements across a range of product lines.
- Advised on Movenpick’s GDPR compliance project, including advising on all aspects of data protection within Movenpick’s multinational business.
Eversheds Sutherland LLP is equipped to advise on contentious, non-contentious advisory and transaction-related work in the TMT space, where its clients include major regional and international companies. Practice head Nasser Ali Khasawneh receives strong praise, as does 'highly skilled and tech-savvy' senior associate Erica Werneman Root. Senior associate Christine Khoury is also noted.
‘Eversheds-Sutherland has been our partner for many years now and their service is yet to be equalled.‘
‘What makes Eversheds-Sutherland so unique is not only the great quality of their work and the talent of their people. It’s also their true and sincere partnership approach.‘
‘With Eversheds-Sutherland it’s never about deliverables and billables, it’s about solutions and win-win goals.‘
‘Their workforce is always kind, humble, highly skilled, timely and thorough.‘
‘Nasser Ali Khasawneh particularly stands out. He is always very actively listening and deeply engaged.‘
‘Erica Werneman Root is a highly skilled, tech-savvy and curious lawyer with the right balance of a challenger mindset coupled with firmness, humility and kindness.‘
General Commission For Audiosvisual Media
Saudi Telecom Company
- Advised GCAM on several matters, including on the best available options to organise the advertisement sector in Saudi Arabia and the best media trends and practices in the region.
- Advised STC on the laws and regulations pertaining to open source software applicable to the US, application programming interfaces and the procurement of services from third party freelancers.
- Acted in a number of advertisement-related arbitration cases representing Elan Group as claimant and respondent.
The commercial, IT and outsourcing practice at Gowling WLG is led by Tony Fielding, who was promoted to partner in 2019 and specialises in disruptive technology, e-payments, e-commerce, aviation-tech, digital transformation and blockchain. Clients include leading tech, e-commerce and financial services companies.
- Advised a client on the structure and the technology platform required for a start-up music platform in the UAE.