Dentons seals end of Qatar monopoly with Vodafone IPO

Denton Wilde Sapte has advised Vodafone Qatar on its $950m (£621m) IPO on the Doha Securities Market – one of the first multinational companies to list on a Middle East exchange.

The deal was the second-largest Qatari IPO ever and the Dentons team had to obtain special permission from the local authorities to remove the 99 per cent cap on foreign ownership after listing.

Corporate associate Romi Nayef said: “As a result of the IPO, Vodafone Qatar is now more Qatari-owned than Qatar Telecom.

“There were 80,000 ­individual Qatari subscribers and a number of Qatari institutional in-vestors, including superannuation funds in the ­education and health ­sectors.”

He added: “But we had to take into account the fact that Vodafone would one day buy 100 per cent of the ­company.

The firm picked up the mandate after it advised Vodafone on its successful bid to operate in the emirate following 22 years of monopoly by Qatar Telecom.

The operator’s equityis held in a joint venture between Vodafone and the Qatar Foundation.

This is Vodafone’s first telecom start-up in 10 years. Dentons Doha ­managing partner Leigh Hall said: “We worked with Vodafone during its bid stage and we’re doing ­corporate and fixed licence work.”

The firm is also advising on network procurement, telecom outsourcing contracts, corporate governance and other start-up activities. Corporate associate Lynsey Edgar is involved in ongoing implementation work.

One of the regulatory requirements was for the official IPO prospectus to be written in Arabic, and key to Dentons’ offering was its bilingual expertise from partner Safwan Moubaydeen and associates Zaher Nammour and Kamel Daou.

The deal comes on the back of key client wins for Dentons in the emirate including acting as global counsel for Al Jazeera and advising the Qatar Investment Authority.