Home / People / John O'Connor
Picture of John O'connor

John O'Connor

Co-Managing Partner

T +971 (0)4 374 2800
Level 15 Burj Daman
Dubai International Financial Centre
PO Box 506873
United Arab Emirates
Languages English

John O'Connor is a partner and heads the CMS Dubai office. He also heads our Corporate and Commercial Practice in Dubai.

His expertise covers all manner of corporate and commercial transactions, including domestic and cross-border M&A, transaction structuring, joint ventures, capital raising, franchise and distribution contracts, agency arrangements, restructurings and reorganisations. He regularly advises domestic and international businesses on their cross-border activities as well as inbound and outbound investments.

John has authored numerous articles on legal developments relating to corporate structuring, joint ventures, distribution and agency contracts, directors’ liabilities and issues relating to cross-border transactions.

more less

Relevant experience

  • Delhaize Group on the acquisition of Serbian retailer Delta Maxi Group with operations in Serbia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Albania for EUR 932.5m.
  • A market-leading U.S. hedge fund on its USD 360m auction sale of a Middle East-based oilfield services group.
  • A prominent Dubai-based real estate developer on a AED 1bn joint venture for the development and sale of three large plots of land in Dubai Marina.
  • A UK private equity fund on its USD 30m acquisition of an oilfield services group based in Dubai and with operations in Singapore and Brazil.
  • The shareholders of a middle eastern temporary utilities group on a group reorganisation and warrant issue, debt refinancing, joint venture and sale of a further 20-35% of the group, valued at USD 100m.
  • A major european bank on capital raising across seven jurisdictions in the Middle East.
  • A multinational hardware business on its USD 500m bid for a global business with operations across North and South America, Europe and Asia.
  • A listed energy fund on its GBP 131m issue of “C Shares” to the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange.
  • A UK developer on its GBP 119m secondary listing of shares on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange.
  • Advanced Computer Software Group plc on the acquisition of 5 separate health-care based IT services  businesses with values ranging from GBP 5m to the GBP 100m acquisition of COA Solutions Group.
more less


  • 2005 - LPC, Oxford Institute of Legal Practice, Oxford, UK
  • 2004 - European Comparative and International Law, LLB, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
more less


Show only
Quarterly leg­al up­date for in­ter­na­tion­al busi­nesses con­tract­ing un­der Eng­lish...
01 September 2020
CMS Ex­pert Guide to re­struc­tur­ing and in­solv­ency law
Are you look­ing for in­form­a­tion on re­struc­tur­ing and in­solv­ency law? This CMS Ex­pert Guide provides you with everything you need to know.
03 June 2020
UAE Eco­nom­ic Sub­stance No­ti­fic­a­tion
The dead­lines for fil­ing eco­nom­ic sub­stance no­ti­fic­a­tions are on the ho­ri­zon (or in­deed just passed). In or­der to com­ply with the reg­u­la­tions in­tro­duced on 1 Janu­ary 2019 con­cern­ing eco­nom­ic sub­stance...
CMS Leg­al Up­date: Is­sues to be aware of when en­ter­ing in­to Eng­lish law...
12 May 2020
CMS Ex­pert Guide for dir­ect­ors of com­pan­ies
11 May 2020
Dir­ect­ors Du­ties in the UAE: Part 3 – Du­ties in times of Fin­an­cial Un­cer­tainty
In­tro­duc­tion With glob­al eco­nom­ies fa­cing un­cer­tain times as a res­ult of the COV­ID-19 pan­dem­ic, and many busi­nesses fa­cing sig­ni­fic­ant chal­lenges to cash flow, rev­en­ue and bad debts, the pos­sib­il­ity of...
27 April 2020
Dir­ect­ors Du­ties in the UAE: Part 2 – Group Struc­tures
Dir­ect­ors’ du­ties are cur­rently in sharp fo­cus as a res­ult of the eco­nom­ic con­di­tions caused by the COV­ID-19 pan­dem­ic and the de­cisions dir­ect­ors are be­ing re­quired to make in re­la­tion to their busi­nesses....
15 April 2020
Dir­ect­ors Du­ties in the UAE: Part 1 – Do you know your du­ties?
In­tro­duc­tion The glob­al eco­nomy has been severely im­pacted by the COV­ID-19 pan­dem­ic, com­poun­ded by a steep fall in oil prices, res­ult­ing in sig­ni­fic­ant chal­lenges across a mul­ti­tude of sec­tors. Dir­ect­ors...
25 March 2020
An up­date on the UAE FDI Law
In 2019 we re­por­ted on how the UAE has en­acted new laws (the “FDI Law”) to al­low up to 100% for­eign own­er­ship of “on­shore” com­pan­ies in the UAE, where­as pre­vi­ously for­eign in­vestors were re­stric­ted...
20 August 2019
Brave new world - eco­nom­ic sub­stance re­quire­ments in­tro­duced in the UAE
New reg­u­la­tions con­cern­ing eco­nom­ic sub­stance (Cab­in­et of Min­is­ters Res­ol­u­tion No.31 of 2019) (the “Reg­u­la­tions”) have been im­ple­men­ted in the UAE. The Reg­u­la­tions in­tend that all in-scope UAE en­tit­ies...
03 July 2019
UAE up­date: re­lax­a­tion of for­eign own­er­ship re­stric­tions
In 2018 the UAE passed the For­eign Dir­ect In­vest­ment Law (the “FDI Law’), which was in­ten­ded to pave the way to re­lax­ing for­eign own­er­ship re­stric­tions on com­pan­ies re­gistered “on­shore” in the...
30 April 2019
The New DI­FC Com­pan­ies Law Re­gime - Key Changes
With ef­fect from 12 Novem­ber 2018 (the “Im­ple­ment­a­tion Date”) the Dubai In­ter­na­tion­al Fin­an­cial Centre (the “DI­FC”) in­tro­duced the eagerly an­ti­cip­ated new com­pan­ies law re­gime which re­places the...