Firm Profile > WH Partners > Ta' Xbiex, Malta

WH Partners
LEVEL 5, QUANTUM HOUSE
75 ABATE RIGORD STREET
TA' XBIEX XBX 1120
Malta

Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 2

Offering 'pragmatic solution-orientated advice,' the commercial, corporate and M&A team at WH Partners has been involved in a varied range of M&A and big-ticket commercial deals in the gaming and gambling sector. The team has also worked on matters concerning blockchain and crypto assets. James Scicluna and Olga Finkel are the practice heads. Robert Zammit and Rachel Vella Baldacchini are other key names.

Practice head(s):

James Scicluna; Olga Finkel

Other key lawyers:

Robert Zammit; Rachel Vella Baldacchini; Davinia Cutajar; Christina Borg Debono

Testimonials

‘I can rely on them no matter the topic or how complex the advice requested is. I have one partner who is my main point of contact, and she plugs me in to the different departments and lawyers from the firm as needed. They have never let me down. The team is very capable, fast and responsive and they have a client oriented approach.’

‘My main contact at WH is Dr Davinia Cutajar. She is thorough and dedicated to my business as though it was her own. She is hands-on and solution oriented, and remembers things about my business that I honestly would never expect my lawyer to remember. It tells me I am not just a number. She is ready to step in whenever needed, and is always thinking ahead. She has very strong expertise on corporate and company law matters, corporate governance, business and property law.’

‘I think they are the best of the Maltese law firms with expertise in the gambling sector.’

‘I particularly rate James Scicluna.’

‘The team manages to combine an excellent level of service and expertise with efficient and timely responses, even when given tight deadlines from our end, projects are always completed on time and efficiently.’

‘The team is also pro-active in addressing any potential pitfalls during the process, to ensure timeliness.’

‘This is a Corporate/Commercial team that is incredibly experienced in transactional work. We have used WH for many years on a variety of legal matters. Acknowledged as unparalleled (in terms of skills and strength in depth) in the gambling sector, they are also significant advisers in Corporate and transactional work both for gambling sector clients but also in a number of other sectors.’

‘Partners have excellent experience in cross border deals- both Olga Finkel and James Scicluna are leading on a number of deals originating out of London and the US. We would certainly look to WH first for most of our finance, corporate, tax, gaming, regulatory and commercial matters before going elsewhere.’

‘Connected and “can do” lawyers on several fronts: if I need local expertise in Malta I know I can get ready access to the technical skill set- if I need insights into a Regulators mindset, I can get it via James and Olga and if I need access to Government for strategic issues, they are so well connected they can deliver quick access for me. Its a 365 degree service.’

‘James and Olga are both outstanding lawyers and they are my main contacts at WH Partners. Both are razor sharp, very strategic and solution oriented. I regularly work with them on both transactional and finance work.’

‘Capable, committed and driven team dedicated to delivering on our objectives.’

‘Senior partner James Scicluna provided excellent guidance and advice throughout the M&A process that he led – very “switched on” drawing on invaluable past experience coupled with consistently accurate insight into the motivation, drivers and machinations of the other party to the transaction. All associates were dedicated, responsive, thorough etc. however Christina Borg Debono stood out from the team that James put together to deliver on our project.’

‘Very professional individuals and complete range of services available.’

‘The team has very significant experience in a number of sectors but, in particular the gambling industry, where its track record is particularly strong in terms of deals on which they have advised and the delivery of pragmatic, solution orientated advice, particularly around regulatory issues.’

‘James Scicluna is unerringly commercial in his approach and knows what clients need.’

Key clients

Stars Group Inc.

Interwetten Limited

Solutions Group Limited

Betclic Group

Quantum Properties Limited

Cherry Group

Evolution Gaming

IBID Group

Betsson

Eaton & Co

The Coffee Company Limited (“Costa Malta”)

FalconX Limited

Fintech Tier 2

The 'extremely knowledgeable and reliable' practice at WH Partners advises on the full range of blockchain and technology-related matters. It has negotiated some big-ticket technology licences and assisted in the launch of several ICOs. It assisted FalconX this year on obtaining a license as well as two venture capital seed funding rounds where the client raised over $17m. The team is led by Joseph F. Borg.

Practice head(s):

Joseph F. Borg

Testimonials

‘WH Partners are extremely knowledgeable and reliable when it comes to assisting on legal matters in Malta. This contributed to create an incredible reputation as one of the best law firms in the country.’

Key clients

Notional Transfer Ltd

Thrive Labs Ltd

Consensys AG

Everest Network Ltd

FalconX Limited

Bitconvert Ltd

Casino Coin Foundation

Emoney plc

Paysafe Group plc

Private client Tier 2

The 'responsive' private client team at WH Partners assists with relocation and tax advisory. The practice assists high-net-worth individuals with residency applications and advises on wealth structuring through trusts and foundations. The practice is led by the 'really hardworking, driven and pragmaticRamona Azzopardi. Davinia Cutajar  and Fabrizio Speranza were recently promoted to the partnership.

Practice head(s):

Ramona Azzopardi

Other key lawyers:

Davinia Cutajar; Fabrizio Speranza

Testimonials

‘Professional team, accessible and easy to work with. Responsive, technical, business approach.’

‘New industries and technologies (e-gaming, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, etc).’

 ‘Ramona Azzopardi is practical, quick to react, offers high technical advice.’

‘WH Partners has an exceptionally efficient legal practice. Requests are handled promptly and professionally.’

‘Ramona Azzopardi is very attentive to the expectations of customers. She combines efficiency and good humour, which makes the relationship confident and pleasant.’

‘For us an innovation is the personal level of contact, no distance between lawyer and client makes it comfortable.’

 ‘Ramona Azzopardi  has a personal approach, is really hard working, driven, and pragmatic’

‘Responsive , know what they are doing.’

‘I have worked with WH Partners for many years now, very regularly and on complex client matters. They are extremely knowledgeable. They stand out in terms of their knowledge of tax and legal matters, both from a Maltese as well as from an international perspective.’

‘They have a great document management system and good and efficient billing software. They are at the forefront of technical matters in Malta in areas as diverse as private clients, technology, and financial services.’

‘Ramona Azzopardi is a very good all round tax practitioner, she covers with ease all areas of tax, from international taxation to VAT, private client and corporate work. She is easy to work with, approachable.’

Banking, finance and capital markets Tier 3

Led by James Scicluna and Olga Finkel, the banking and finance practice at WH Partners assists clients across a variety of industries, with a focus on gaming and gambling, technology and blockchain. The team is ‘highly skilled and capable of handling complex matters’. Gaby Zammit, Kelly Fenech and Robert Skalina are ‘hardworking, responsive and very reliable.’

Practice head(s):

James Scicluna; Olga Finkel

Other key lawyers:

Gaby Zammit; Kelly Fenech; Robert Skalina

Testimonials

‘There is nothing I cant throw at this firm that they can’t do frankly! WH has a very strong finance, banking and capital markets practice, the team is reliable and highly skilled, capable of handling complex matters. They are known for their fintech work, but they are very experienced with traditional finance and capital markets matters too. They are our go-to partners in Malta for all finance, corporate, tax, gaming, regulatory and commercial matters.’

‘James and Olga are both outstanding lawyers ’

‘Great know-how and experience in DLT/Blockchain related matters.’

‘Despite its growth, still a fresh and personal ’boutique’ approach, pro-active, challenging, with the capabilities of a large firm. Knowledgeable in the specific area of expertise but without a ‘tunnel vision’. Able to see interference with peripheral industries and practice areas.’

‘We like the crisp, authentic, knowledgeable, to-the-point friendly personalities. The more complex it gets, the better they seem to feel ‘at home’. Pro-active, fast, detailed, understandable.

Key clients

Thrive Labs Ltd

Everest Network Ltd

FalconX Limited

Bitconvert Ltd

Casino Coin Foundation

Emoney plc

Paysafe Group plc

Consensys AG

Intellectual property Tier 3

The IP practice at WH Partners predominantly represents gaming and gambling, fintech, software and consulting clients. The firm is strong on the exploitation and commercialisation of all types of IP and IP due diligence in M&A transactions as well as the more routine registration of trade marks. The co-heads of the team are James Scicluna and ‘pro-activeOlga Finkel. Robert Zammit is another key name.

Practice head(s):

James Scicluna; Olga Finkel

Other key lawyers:

Robert Zammit

Testimonials

‘Very fast responses. Big Industry know how’

‘We feel that we have a team that works hand in hand with us rather than just for us. The main strengths of the WH team is their 360 degree view and depth of knowledge, which makes it easy for us to use them as a single reference point.’

‘The team attitude is one of pre-empting potential issues rather than acting after the fact, one that has helped us save a lot of money in the medium and long term and also avoided more serious legal issues months and years down the line.’

‘The depth of expertise that WH have when it comes to our activities in Software Development, Gaming and Artificial Intelligence is unrivalled in Malta. We have also used their team to co-ordinate with patent attorneys in the US, UK, Europe, China and Japan very successfully.’

‘We work mostly with Olga Finkel, who we have worked with for over 10 years and have always been very satisfied with the depth of expertise that she brings to the table, the clear articulation and explanation of complex issues and her attitude of being pro-active rather than reacting. We also value her knowledge of information technology specific legal matters and her knowledge of software terminology and processes, which is vital in our fast growing business in Artificial Intelligence. Her knowledge is at a premium as we have not met many lawyers who are both competent in law and also when it comes to the logical in-depth detail of the issues involved in AI.’

‘We would also like to mention Robert Zammit as one of the outstanding team members in WH, as he has always given us very fast and yet reliable service and results.’

The firm: WH Partners is a Malta-based leading law firm particularly active in the areas of technology, gaming & gambling, blockchain, payments, tax, corporate law, corporate finance, M&A, employment, property, intellectual property, data protection and corporate services.

Main areas of practice: 

Corporate /M&A:
Recent work includes:

  • Advising the Stars Group Inc. (NASDAQ: TSG; TSX: TSGI) on all of the Maltese law aspects of its acquisition of Sky Betting & Gaming from CVC Capital Partners and Sky plc (LSE: SKY) in a cash and stock transaction valued at $4.7 billion;
  • Assisting a company incorporated in the UK with the acquisition of a Maltese company directly holding shares in a cell of a Maltese protected cell company, including assisting on all Maltese regulatory aspects,, a transaction valued at £14 million;
  • Assisting Evolution Gaming, leading provider of Live Casino solutions, on all of the Maltese law aspects of its acquisition of Ezugi, a live dealer casino provider. The all-cash deal was carried out with an initial consideration of $12 million and possible additional consideration of a maximum of $6 million;
  • Advising the Stars Group Inc. on certain Maltese law matters in the context of its proposed merger with Flutter Entertainment;

Corporate Finance/Capital markets
Recent work includes:

  • Assiting Cherry AB in the due diligence on Malta operations in connection with its delisting from AktieTorget and listing on Nasdaq Stockholm (Mid Cap segment);
  • Acting for the prospective issuer of a 15m eur bond intended to be listed on the Malta Stock Exchange and intended to be secured via significant hospitality and real estate assets in Italy;
  • Advising a client with a debt securities listing on a regulated wholesale securities market in Malta on ongoing listing requirements and early redemption;
  • Acting for Aspire Global plc on all Malta-related aspects of its IPO on Nasdaq First North Premier in Stockholm, including its conversion to a plc, dematerialisation of its securities with the CSD in Malta and affiliation with Euroclear Sweden;
  • Advising a Luxembourg fund on a £50 million revolving credit facility to an SPV for the acquisition of debt and on Maltese law aspects of taking security on protected cell shares;
  • Advising a multinational gambling group on term and revolving credit facilities amounting to EUR 70 million; Advising a leading Asian online lottery service provider, listed on New York Stock Exchange, on the acquisition of a Malta-licensed lottery service provider and its related entities (Deal value: EUR 49.8M).
  • Advising a growth company in the food and beverage industry on fundraising through a listing on the ‘Prospects’ MTF in Malta.

FinTech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies:

Recent work includes:

  • Advising blockchain space start-ups on legal, corporate and regulatory issues when setting up their business;
    Advising over 25 clients on their ICOs;
  • Advising cryptocurrency exchanges and intermediaries to relocate to Malta and comply with the new Maltese regulatory requirements;
  • Advising financial institutions on the adoption of policies on servicing blockchain space start-ups;
  • Advising on the tax treatment of funds from ICOs and trading cryptocurrencies;
  • Advising on the licensing and operation of a MIFID II-compliant Multilateral Trading Facility targeting non-complex equity and debt securities;
  • Advising a number of clients in obtaining EMI and PSP licensees in Malta and providing ongoing advice and assistance.

 Gaming & Gambling:

WH Partners is internationally recognised for its expertise in both land based and remote gaming and gambling.

Recent work includes:

  • Advising the MGA on the design of the Maltese Gaming Act;
  • Advising the MGA on the drafting of a policy for licensees to accept payment in the form of cryptocurrencies;
  • Acting for scores of clients applying for or renewing remote gaming licenses;
  • Advising gaming and gambling businesses on migration of their business operations to Malta;
  • Advising financial institutions on acting as acquirers for gaming companies;
  • Advising on risk and licensing opportunities arising from client target markets;
  • Advising clients on challenging decisions of the MGA

 ICT & IP:

The firm’s focus on technology-rich, data-rich and intangible asset-rich businesses, results in high demand for the firm’s IP related advice. 

Recent work includes:

  • Advising on disputes involving the violation of the client’s trademarks, copyright and design rights;
  • Drafting and negotiating major software licensing agreements in the gaming and gambling industry;
  • Advising on the exploitation of IP assets as security for financing;
  • Advising on protection of emojis;
  • Advising on several trademark registrations and domain disputes;
  • Legal due diligence on IP assets;
  • Negotiating and drafting data licence agreements.

 Data Protection:

Recent work includes:

  • Carrying out extensive technical and legal GDPR compliance audits;
  • Advising clients on client-facing and internal HR issues;
  • Drafting and reviewing various data protection related documentation including data processing agreements, privacy policies, and notices.

 Private Client:
The firm advises several high-net-worth to very high- net-worth individuals/families, both Maltese and international, on succession planning, asset protection, residency and citizenship and related tax matters.

Real Estate:

Recent work includes:

  • Acting for a Maltese bank on over 160 property financing deals;
  • Advising several clients on acquisition of property, including financing, planning applications, drafting and negotiating contracts of works and assisting with services related to project management in the areas of construction and civil engineering;
  • Advising several clients on contentious matters relating to real estate;

Taxation:

Recent work includes:

  • Advising a variety of private and public companies on cross-border direct taxation matters;
  • Advising a variety of clients on indirect tax planning;
  • Assisting clients with VAT & tax compliance matters;
  • Assisting clients with tax reporting and disclosure matters;
  • Acting as tax representatives;
  • Providing VAT & tax advice on mergers & acquisitions.

 Anti-Money Laundering (AML)

Recent work includes:

  • Assistance in relation to AML/CFT compliance obligations relative to Gaming and Gambling, Financial Services Providers, Virtual Financial Assets and other obliged persons;
  • Providing advice and guidance with regards to AMLCFT laws, regulations and obligations;
  • Drafting of AML/CFT Policies and Procedures and overseeing the implementation thereof;
  • Assisting in carrying out KYC processes;
  • Providing AML training to key persons.
Department Name Email Telephone
Gaming and Gambling, A.I., Capital Markets, Corporate/M&A, Data Protection, Intellectual Property, AML Olga Finkel olga.finkel@whpartners.eu
Corporate/M&A, Gaming and Gambling, Commercial Contracts, Intellectual Property, Private Client, Competition/Antitrust James Scicluna james.scicluna@whpartners.eu
FinTech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies, Gaming and Gambling, eSports, IT & Telcos, Intellectual Property, Real Estate Joseph Borg joseph.borg@whpartners.eu
Gaming and Gambling, Corporate/M&A, Commercial Contracts, Employment, Data Protection, Regulatory & Licensing Robert Zammit robert.zammit@whpartners.eu
Taxation, Private Client, Citizenship, Residence and Immigration, Trusts and Foundations Ramona Azzopardi ramona.azzopardi@whpartners.eu
Photo Name Position Profile
Dr Ramona Azzopardi  photo Dr Ramona Azzopardi Tax Partner
Dr Joseph F Borg  photo Dr Joseph F Borg Partner
Dr Olga Finkel  photo Dr Olga Finkel Partner. Provides advice on strategic, commercial and regulatory matters to businesses in…
Dr James Scicluna  photo Dr James Scicluna Partner. Government relations, gambling regulation, devising strategic commercial solutions within a regulated…
Dr Robert Skalina  photo Dr Robert Skalina Senior Advisor. Provides advice to wide range of investment managers, advisors and…
Dr Robert Zammit  photo Dr Robert Zammit Partner
Number of lawyers : 24
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International Bar Association
International Alliance of Law Firms
International Masters of Gaming Law
Malta Chamber of Advocates
Malta Chamber of Commerce
Maltese-French Chamber of Commerce