A&O, Freshfields and Linklaters secure Emirates bank merger

Allen & Overy (A&O), Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Linklaters have scored key roles advising on a Middle Eastern banking mega-merger.

Linklaters is advising Emirates Bank International on its merger with National Bank of Dubai, which is being advised by A&O. Under advice from Freshfields, Goldman Sachs is acting as the lead financial adviser to the banks’ steering committee, which was formed specifically to deal with the merger.

The two banks have announced that they will merge to create Emirates NBD, which will have a combined market capitalisation of AED41.3bn (£5.56bn). This will form the largest bank in the Gulf by assets.

The banks intend to create a new company called Emirates NBD, which will acquire the share capital of Emirates Bank International and National Bank of Dubai in exchange for new shares.

The Linklaters team acting on the deal is being led by Dubai managing partner Ewan Cameron and Dubai partner Scott Campbell. At A&O Dubai partner Simon Roderick is leading for National Bank of Dubai.

The Freshfields team acting for Goldman Sachs is being led by corporate partners Bruce Embley in Dubai and Edward Braham in London.

According to Cameron the merger is particularly significant as it represents the first-ever tender offer takeover in the Gulf.

He added: “We’re seeing a lot of consolidation in the financial services sector. There is a degree of saturation in domestic markets and banks are having to look abroad. We’re involved in a lot of banking acquisitions.”

The integration of the two Middle Eastern banks is expected to take between 18 and 24 months with the potential for further acquisitions. The merged bank will focus on developing its investment banking and Islamic finance businesses.