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Linklaters in the Middle East

Advising clients on their most important transactions in the region for over 45 years

 

The Middle East offers increasingly sophisticated investment opportunities and clients come to us because they want a law firm they can trust to support their strategic priorities in the region.

With over 45 years of experience in the Middle East, we appreciate and understand its rich culture and can tailor our advice to reflect the regional and local market requirements. We are committed to ensuring we leverage our local knowledge and experience and, combined with international best practice, to providing our clients with the advantage they need to maximise the opportunities on their most complex assignments – whether it’s operating in, moving into, or looking to expand in the region.

Our offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Riyadh act as a hub for the firm’s activities in the MENA region. We have established ourselves as one of the leading firms in the region capable of advising on large cross-border or complex matters for our clients. To provide a seamless service, we also leverage our global network and draw on our market-leading expertise across our offices, practices and sector teams.

Explore all our office locations in the Middle East by selecting a map pin. Unselect the map pin to return to the summary.

Our offering in the Middle East

Banking

As countries in the Middle East consider ways to promote sustainable economic growth, the financial industry in the region is going through radical transformation. To meet their capital raising objectives, clients need to work with a law firm that can help them navigate this complex landscape.

We are recognised leaders in the banking and finance sector in the region and we have been involved in some of the most significant high grade syndicated finance, acquisition finance, debt restructuring, real estate and project development finance and structured finance transactions in the Middle East. Clients can also benefit from our comprehensive experience in financial regulation, having previously advised on strategically important regulatory reform projects, such as the LIBOR transition projects.

Highlights of our work in the region include: 

  • The Oil and Gas Holding Company B.S.C. (nogaholding): advising on the first ESG Day 1 SOFR US$2.2bn dual tranche conventional and Murabaha facilities in GCC (Loan Deal of the Year, IFLR Middle East Awards 2022).
  • Emirates NBD Bank: advising on the region’s first sustainability-linked loan.
  • OQ: advising the arrangers on several US$1bn+ loan facilities.
  • DP World: advising the arrangers on the US$9bn facilities for the take-private of DP World.
  • Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: advising the mandated lead arrangers on a US$16bn dual conventional and Islamic financing for the Kingdom. 
  • Saudi Electricity Company: advising SEC as borrower on its dual conventional and Islamic term and revolving facilities with total commitments across both facilities over US$5.5bn.
  • Meydan Group: advising the company on its multi-billion-dollar reorganisation and debt restructuring.
  • Limitless LLC: advising the company on its debt restructuring plan.
  • LIBOR transition: advising on the large regulatory reform LIBOR-transition projects of international and regional banks.

Capital Markets

The Middle East is home to one of the world’s fastest growing capital markets. This presents unique opportunities and challenges for businesses in the region, and we are here to help our clients navigate them successfully.

Our capital markets team advises many of the biggest players in the market on their most significant and complex capital markets transactions. Consequently, our award-winning team is consistently ranked in the top tier by all legal directories, and has been recognised as the best capital markets team twice in the past three years.

From helping clients navigate challenging mandates, through to acting on some of the most structurally complex transactions across the MENA region, our experience ranges from debt, sukuk and equity issues through to derivatives and structured finance.

Highlights of our work in the region include:

  • Sovereign financings: advising on US$52bn of sovereign financings for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the Sultanate of Oman on the international markets across 25 series of securities issuances. For example, we recently advised on the Arab Republic of Egypt’s first sovereign green bond in the MENA region.
  • Financings in multiple currencies and into multiple markets: advising the leading financial institutions in each GCC country, including over US$26bn of capital and wholesale funding transactions for the three largest banks in the region, Saudi National Bank, Qatar National Bank and Emirates NBD.
  • Capital markets issuances by some of the region’s largest companies: advising clients such as Emaar Properties (Dubai), Abu Dhabi National Power Company TAQA, Oman Telecommunications and Investcorp Holdings (Bahrain).
  • Extensive issuances by financial institutions, sovereigns and corporates in each of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Jordan and other countries in the rest of the Middle East and North Africa region.

Corporate, Mergers & Acquisitions

Propelled by strong economic growth and ambitious government-backed mandates, M&A activity in the Middle East has seen significant growth in the past few years and the market continues to be well positioned to further advance the region’s long-term agenda.

Recognised as one of the leading advisors in M&A in deal activity in the Middle East, we have established ourselves as one of the handful offirms in the region capable of advising on leading cross-border transactions, and our clients regularly instruct us on their most complex deals.

We cover the full spectrum of corporate work advising buyers, sellers and financial advisers on public takeovers, private M&A, equity capital markets, private equity, joint ventures and commercial partnerships, disposals and corporate restructurings. Our end-to-end approach brings together our leading transactional expertise with the full range of specialist areas including antitrust, employment and incentives, environmental, intellectual property and technology.

Highlights of our work in the region include:

  • Ahli United Bank B.S.C. (AUB): advising on the recommended acquisition of AUB by Kuwait Finance House K.S.C.P., the first ever cross-border public takeover involving a share issuance and amounts to one of the largest ever takeovers in the GCC (M&A Deal of the Year, IFN Deal of the Year Awards 2022).
  • e&: advising on their US$400m investment in exchange for a majority stake in Careem’s Super App.  With this new investment, Careem plans to accelerate the realisation of its ambitious vision to create the first “everything app” serving customers across the greater Middle East.
  • Hassana Investment Company: advising on the US$2.4bn strategic investment in DP World's flagship UAE assets – Jebel Ali Free Port, Jebel Ali Free Zone and the National Industries Park, valued at approx. US$23bn.
  • ADNOC Pipelines: advising members of the consortium on the US$10.1bn investment into Abu Dhabi National Oil Company's natural gas pipelines in the UAE, the largest foreign direct investment into the UAE (MENA Infrastructure Deal of the Year, PFI Awards 2020).
  • Saudi Aramco Pipelines: advising a successful Abu Dhabi-based bidder on the multibillion international investment into Saudi Aramco’s natural gas pipelines (MENA Oil & Gas Deal of the Year, IJ Global 2021).
  • Zain: advising on the carve-out and sale of a majority state in tower infrastructure to the Public Investment Fund and others.
  • NEOM Company: advising on a US$200m joint venture with OneWeb to bring high-speed satellite connectivity to NEOM, Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East and neighbouring East African countries.
  • Abraj Energy Services SAOG and the selling shareholders: advising on the IPO by way of privatisation of Abraj Energy and listing on the Muscat Stock Exchange. This was Oman’s largest IPO in over a decade.

Energy & Infrastructure

From innovative major infrastructure projects to an increased focus on energy transition, the Middle East has become a hub for infrastructure and energy investments.

Our energy & infrastructure team in the Middle East specialises in large-scale, market-leading projects – covering a variety of sectors including power and water, hydrogen, refining and petrochemicals, oil and gas, PPP/PFI, infrastructure, energy and natural resources, mining and minerals. The team also specialises in complex, multi-tranche financings, with a mixture of conventional and Islamic structures, Export Credit and DFI/Multilaterals, international and regional lenders.

The breadth of our practice helps us to draw on our experience across different sectors and jurisdictions, enabling us to provide solutions to our clients’ most challenging transactions across the MENA region.

Highlights of our work in the region include:

  • NEOM Residential Communities, Saudi Arabia: advising NEOM on the procurement and development of its residential communities’ project, a social infrastructure project that will house the growing workforce of the region taking shape in northwest Saudi Arabia. This is the largest accommodation PPP project in the region and one of the largest PPP projects in the Middle East to date.
  • Green Ammonia Plant, Oman: advising the ECAs and lenders on the development and financing of a green ammonia plant at Duqm.
  • Mirfa IWPP, UAE: advising the lenders on the original US$1.5bn Engie-sponsored Mirfa IWPP in Abu Dhabi, as well as on the subsequent US$1.08bn refinancing (MENA Refinancing – Power & Water Deal of the Year, IJ Global Awards 2022).
  • NEOM FDP, Saudi Arabia: advising NEOM on its first selective desalination plant in Saudi Arabia that it will be powered solely by renewables and will involve no liquid discharge.
  • Taiba and Qassim IPPs, Saudi Arabia: advising Saudi Power Procurement Company on the development of two 3.5GW greenfield gas fired IPPs located in Taiba and Qassim.
  • Scaling Solar Programme, Afghanistan: advising IFC and the Government of Afghanistan on the first solar power project in Afghanistan.
  • First Schools PPP, Jordan: advising IFC and the Government of Jordan on the first wave of schools PPP projects in the country.

Litigation, Arbitration and Investigations

Clients in the MENA region come to our litigation, arbitration and investigations team for our expertise in handling the most sensitive, complex and strategically important disputes and matters for them.

We cover a broad range of litigation, arbitration, and investigations matters and have extensive experience in disputes involving construction, energy and infrastructure; M&A; and various types of complex commercial disputes, including joint venture disputes; financial sector disputes and regulatory matters; property and finance disputes; technology-related disputes; banking litigation; and contentious insolvency.

Highlights of our work in the region include:

  • A leading Middle Eastern media company: advising in several ICC arbitrations relating to the performance and termination of various cooperation and service agreements.
  • A major mining and manufacturing Middle Eastern company: advising in a successful ICC arbitration against the construction contractor in relation to an EPC turnkey contract for a land-sea storage and shipping terminal.
  • A Middle East-based major telecommunications company: advising in winning an arbitration brought by a minority shareholder in a company that operates a mobile telephone network, as well as in various court proceedings on an investment in Africa.
  • A Middle Eastern gas company: advising in an arbitration against the buying state under long-term petroleum supply contract.
  • A prominent state-owned UAE company: advising in a high-stake, high-profile arbitration. The dispute related to the termination of joint venture and concession agreements.
  • A construction contractor: advising in an LCIA arbitration relating to a project in Iraq.
  • A leading European energy company: advising in an arbitration under the LCIA Rules brought by two Middle Eastern companies.

TMT

The TMT sector continues to grow in the Middle East, with investments in emerging technologies and telecommunications being at the forefront of the region’s transformational economic agenda and defining its future. As this sector continues to rapidly transform businesses, markets and everyday life, our priority is to help clients at all stages of growth maximise opportunities and navigate the threats in this increasingly interconnected, regulated, dynamic and demanding world, using our deep extensive experience in this field.

With a unique mix of expertise in data, privacy, AI and other emerging technologies, digital infrastructure, telecoms and fintech, our Middle East TMT practice is supported by a deep bench of complementary practices with knowledge of the tech sector clients and their pressing digital issues. The breadth of our team, led by our Middle East-based experts and drawing on our global expertise, allows us to support our clients on complex projects, ranging from regulatory advisory matters, data and privacy compliance, complex technology commercial transactions, licensing of intellectual property rights to due diligence and transaction document workstreams in corporate or financing transactions.

Highlights of our work in the region include:

  • e&: advising on their US$400m investment in exchange for a majority stake in Careem’s Super App.  With this new investment, Careem plans to accelerate the realisation of its ambitious vision to create the first “everything app” serving customers across the greater Middle East.
  • NEOM Company: advising on a US$200m joint venture with OneWeb to bring high-speed satellite connectivity to NEOM, Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East and neighbouring East African countries.
  • Zain Saudi Arabia: advising on the carve-out and sale of a majority state in tower infrastructure to the Public Investment Fund and others.
  • Saudi hyperscale data centres: negotiating our client’s arrangements with Oracle and other arrangements for the development and maintenance of hyperscale data centres.
  • Saudi Ministry of Finance: advising on several complex technology arrangements, including for government cloud services and a large-scale all-of-government ERP project.
  • UTC blockchain platform: advising Etisalat on the establishment of the first-of-kind UTC blockchain platform to streamline trade finance transactions in the region.
  • Starzplay Arabia: acting for the consortium, including Etisalat and an Abu Dhabi-based SWF, on the acquisition of Starzplay.
  • ByteDance: advising on its US$10m Series A+ investment in iMile, a Dubai-based last-mile delivery start-up bridging Chinese sellers to emerging markets.

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