Picture of Chris Watson

Chris Watson

Head of the CMS TMC Group

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
Cannon Place
78 Cannon Street
United Kingdom
Languages English, French, Italian, Spanish, German

Chris Watson is Head of the CMS Technology, Media and Communications Group. In this position, he leads an international team of over 100 lawyers

He focuses on international commercial matters in the technology, media and communications sectors, particularly in areas where competition and regulation overlap, and on EU law arising in cross-border and complex telecommunications transactions.

He also has extensive experience in other regulated network sectors, such as postal and other utilities, as well as in general commercial, corporate, and financial matters.

Chris works with an extensive range of clients in the global telecommunications industry. He has been recognised in The International Who's Who of Telecoms & Media Lawyers for 2016 as one of only three "Thought Leaders" for Telecoms & Media across the EMEA in which he is described as "exceptionally bright" and "technically excellent", and boasts an "amazingly international practice".

He has a strong interest in the Middle East, having lived in Iran for a number of years, and has developed a global practice with approximately half of his clients based outside the UK.

Chris is a regular contributor to magazines, a sought after speaker and is frequently quoted in the media. He is a member of the governing Council of the International Bar Association (IBA), and a past chairman of the Communications Law Committee. Chris’s memberships also include Supreme Court of England and Wales, Paris Bar and board membership of the Space Law Committee.

He is dually qualified as a solicitor in England and as an avocat in France.

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"recognised as a Thought Leader for TMT".

Who’s Who Legal, 2018

Relevant experience

  • Cinven LLP on its bid to acquire a controlling stake in Telekom Slovenije (2015).
  • Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group (MCG) on the acquisition of NTL’s broadcast business for a purchase price of GBP 1.27bn.
  • T-Mobile/One2One in relation to the inquiry by Oftel and the Competition Commission into the charges made by UK mobile operators for call termination.
  • National Grid on the replacement of its electricity operational telecommunications (OpTel) assets.
  • The World Bank in relation to reform of the Lebanese telecommunications law, including drafting the new Law and Decrees in English and in French.
  • KPNQwest on the rollout of its pan-European network (including property, IT procurement and issues relating to co-ordination with other operators) and drafting sales contracts for sale of fibre, capacity and services on the network.
  • The Communications and Information Technology Commission, the Saudi Arabian telecommunications regulator, on the successful auction of a second GSM licence and, separately, of voice and data licences for a global consideration of USD 3.5bn.
  • The Office of the Telecommunications Authority in Hong Kong on the 3G licensing process.
  • The Jordan Telecommunications Regulatory Commission on the implementation of a new licensing/regulatory system.
  • FMC (USA) on the purchase of the alginates business of International Specialty Products (USA). The OFT decided not to refer the matter to the Competition Commission for further investigation. This was a first of its kind in this scenario and is likely to be a leading case reference by the OFT in years to come.
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MA Modern Languages, New College, Oxford

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Council Member, International Bar Association

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Lectures list

Speaker, Cyprus OCECPR Stakeholder meeting – 2015

Speaker, ABA Spring Meeting San Francisco – 2015

Speaker, IBA Vienna conference – 2015

Panellist, TMT M&A Panel at the TMT Finance & Investment Central East Europe 2014 Conference, Warsaw - 2014

Mentor, Oxford Student Dinner – 2014

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Show only
Jan 2018
Net­work Shar­ing 3.0
In­fra­struc­ture shar­ing and in­vest­ment 2017
The Fu­ture of Food
In­nov­a­tion in food is not only con­stant but it is defin­it­ive and once you move to the next stage there is no go­ing back. At CMS’s an­nu­al tech­no­logy con­fer­ence, this year themed In­nov­ate to Sur­vive, De­liv­eroo's Glob­al Head of Edi­tions, Ro­han Pra­dhan de­livered.
CMS wins a num­ber of Cli­ent Choice Awards 2017 across...
The Com­mis­sion pub­lishes draft re­vised SMP Guidelines
On 14 Feb­ru­ary 2018, fol­low­ing pub­lic con­sulta­tions and the com­mis­sion­ing of an eco­nom­ic study in 2017, the European Com­mis­sion pub­lished a draft of its up­dated Sig­ni­fic­ant Mar­ket Power Guidelines. These guidelines set out prin­ciples for Mem­ber State Na­tion­al.
TMC Con­fer­ence 2016 - Plat­forms: reg­u­lat­ors gotta catch...
The rise of the new lux­ury eco­nomy
Travel has al­ways played host to dra­mat­ic and of­ten dis­rupt­ive changes. At CMS’s an­nu­al tech­no­logy con­fer­ence, In­nov­ate to Sur­vive, onefinestay’s CEO, Javi­er Ce­dillo-Es­pin de­livered a key­note, sum­mar­ised in this art­icle.
CMS con­fer­ence: In­ter­ven­tion, In­nov­a­tion and Dis­rup­tion...
IBM Wat­son at work
There may be much hype around ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence but IBM has been demon­strat­ing the busi­ness po­ten­tial of ma­chine learn­ing through its Wat­son ana­lyt­ics plat­form since 2011. Wat­son came about after one of IBM’s re­search teams were at the pub watch­ing.
In­to the un­known: European M&A Out­look 2016
A study of European M&A activ­ity
In­nov­ate or your deal could die
Any com­pany or law­yer that has ever been in­volved in any kind of mer­ger or ac­quis­i­tion trans­ac­tion will know one thing for sure – a deal typ­ic­ally in­volve hours of leg­al work, in­clud­ing of­ten mundane, but es­sen­tial tasks.
High-speed mo­bile rol­lout sparks telco con­sol­id­a­tion
A step change in Elec­tron­ic Com­mu­nic­a­tions agree­ments
The Gov­ern­ment has an­nounced that the new Elec­tron­ic Com­mu­nic­a­tions Code will come in­to force on Thursday 28 Decem­ber 2017. The new Code marks a step change in the way re­la­tion­ships between site pro­viders and op­er­at­ors are gov­erned.
Spring/Summer 2016
TMC sec­tor up­date
Of­com an­nounces mo­bile spec­trum auc­tion rules
Of­com an­nounce­ment On 11 Ju­ly 2017, Of­com pub­lished the rules un­der which a new mo­bile spec­trum range in the UK is to be sold at auc­tion later this year. The an­nounce­ment comes as Of­com re­cog­nises that ex­tra spec­trum (air­waves that form the basis of com­mu­nic­a­tions.
CMS An­nu­al Re­view 2015-2016
De­liv­er­ing leg­al ex­pert­ise to trans­form your busi­ness
Of­com Nar­row­band Mar­ket Re­view Up­date
On 7 Ju­ly 2017, Of­com pub­lished a fur­ther step in its on­go­ing Nar­row­band Mar­ket Re­view 2017 (the “Re­view”) which cov­ers five whole­sale mar­kets sup­port­ing the de­liv­ery of re­tail fixed voice tele­phone ser­vices in the UK.
April 2016
CMS Net­work Shar­ing Study 2016
Of­com pub­lishes its re­vised en­force­ment guidelines
On June 28th 2017, Of­com pub­lished a state­ment set­ting out changes made to their En­force­ment Guidelines (the “Guidelines”). The Guidelines ex­plain which pro­ced­ures Of­com fol­lows when car­ry­ing out reg­u­lat­ory en­force­ment re­lat­ing to tele­coms and postal ser­vices,.