Picture of Chris Watson

Chris Watson

Partner
Head of the CMS TMC Group

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
Cannon Place
78 Cannon Street
London
EC4N 6AF
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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Education

  • MA Modern Languages, New College, Oxford
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Memberships

  • 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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Nov 2018
Con­nec­ted Fu­ture
Glob­al in­fra­struc­ture re­port
22/11/2018
New re­port | Con­nec­ted Fu­ture: in­vest­ment op­por­tun­it­ies in the rad­ic­ally...
Tech­no­logy-driv­en trans­form­a­tions are not only dis­rupt­ing our every­day lives, but are also rad­ic­ally trans­form­ing the in­fra­struc­ture sec­tor. On the one hand, in­nov­a­tion is driv­ing an up­grade of ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture, such as di­git­al; on the oth­er hand, it.
Jan 2018
Net­work Shar­ing 3.0
In­fra­struc­ture shar­ing and in­vest­ment 2017
03/10/2018
Aus­trali­an re­forms could re­quire UK com­pan­ies to crack en­cryp­ted com­mu­nic­a­tions
Po­ten­tial le­gis­lat­ive re­forms in Aus­tralia could see tele­com­mu­nic­a­tions and oth­er sim­il­ar com­pan­ies forced to help Aus­trali­an au­thor­it­ies ob­tain ac­cess to en­cryp­ted com­mu­nic­a­tions. The pro­spect­ive re­forms are out­lined in the Tele­com­mu­nic­a­tions and Oth­er Le­gis­la­tion.
09/02/2017
CMS wins a num­ber of Cli­ent Choice Awards 2017 across...
01/03/2018
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.
11/01/2017
TMC Con­fer­ence 2016 - Plat­forms: reg­u­lat­ors gotta catch...
07 Oct 18
IBA An­nu­al Con­fer­ence
Rome 2018
21/02/2018
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.