B&M beats CC and White & Case to Saudi privatisation

Baker & McKenzie has fought off rival bids from Clifford Chance and White & Case to advise all parties on the $4bn (£2.43bn) privatisation of Saudi Telecom – Saudi Arabia's largest ever privatisation.

The firm was transaction counsel on the deal, advising underwriters Gulf International Bank, issuer Saudi Telecom Company and selling shareholder the Saudi government.

Riyadh project finance partner John Xefos led the Baker & McKenzie team, alongside London corporate partner Tom Philipp.

The offering on the Saudi stock exchange is of up to 30 per cent of Saudi Telecom's share capital. The privatisation is expected to unleash further liberalisations in Saudi's state-owned sector.

The government wanted the privatisation carried out to international standards, as new capital markets regulations and regulations on the listing of joint stock companies are expected to be issued soon. Xefos said: “The government used this as an opportunity to prepare people for these regulations that would bring us to the same standard in terms of disclosure, accountability and transparency, as many European countries.”