A&O, CC and Clydes scoop record UAE acquisition

Allen & Overy (A&O), Clifford Chance and Clyde & Co have benefited from their longstanding positions in the Middle East to grab roles on the biggest private-sector acquisition of a United Arab Emirates company by a foreign investor.

The firms advised on Australian company Leighton Holdings’ $715m (£352.13m) acquisition of a 45 per cent stake in Al Habtoor, the engineering company that built Dubai International Airport.

Al Habtoor was advised by A&O’s Dubai-based corporate partner Khalid Garousha, while Leighton turned to Clifford Chance senior associate Mike Taylor.

A&O’s instruction came from a recommendation from EFG-Hermes, Al Habtoor’s financial adviser, with whom the firm has a longstanding relationship in the Middle East. Although A&O has previously advised Al Habtoor, this is the largest corporate transaction it has worked on for the company.

Garousha said: “This deal encourages everyone to think of the Middle East as an attractive location for foreign investment.”

Leighton was also a new client for Clifford Chance, coming from a recommendation by Macquarie Bank.

Clydes advised on the $434m (£213.74m) syndicated financing facility for Leighton, provided by Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, Mashreq Bank and HSBC.