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Portrait of John O'Connor

John O'Connor


Level 15 Burj Daman
Dubai International Financial Centre
PO Box 506873
United Arab Emirates
Languages English

John O'Connor is a partner and head of 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.

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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.
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  • 2005 - LPC, Oxford Institute of Legal Practice, Oxford, UK
  • 2004 - European Comparative and International Law, LLB, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
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21 December 2020
Nas­daq Dubai now Em­bra­cing SMEs
In­tro­duc­tion Small and me­di­um sized en­ter­prises (SMEs) are a key as­pect of the UAE’s eco­nomy help­ing drive growth and di­ver­si­fic­a­tion. Sev­er­al ini­ti­at­ives, in­clud­ing ac­cel­er­at­or pro­grammes, in­cub­at­ors...
08 December 2020
UAE an­nounces ma­jor changes to Com­mer­cial Com­pan­ies Law
The UAE Gov­ern­ment has re­leased Fed­er­al De­cree Law 26/2020 (the “FDL”) which brings about sig­ni­fic­ant changes to the ex­ist­ing UAE Fed­er­al Com­mer­cial Com­pan­ies Law (Fed­er­al Law No. 2 of 2015, the “CCL”)...
14 October 2020
Share­hold­er and Ul­ti­mate Be­ne­fi­cial Own­er re­gisters for UAE busi­nesses...
New reg­u­la­tions con­cern­ing ul­ti­mate be­ne­fi­cial own­er­ship have been im­ple­men­ted in the UAE, pur­su­ant to Cab­in­et De­cision No. 58 of 2020 on the Reg­u­la­tion of Pro­ced­ures Re­lated to Real Be­ne­fi­ciar­ies (the...
07 October 2020
UAE Eco­nom­ic Sub­stance: Im­port­ant Changes
We pre­vi­ously dis­cussed the in­tro­duc­tion of eco­nom­ic sub­stance re­quire­ments in the UAE on 30 April 2019 in Law-Nows here and here. Its in­tro­duc­tion meant that UAE en­tit­ies were ob­liged to file eco­nom­ic...
8 September 2020
CMS ex­pands in the UAE
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS is pleased to an­nounce the open­ing of an of­fice in Abu Dh­abi and the ex­ten­sion of its Dubai of­fice lease in Burj Da­m­an Tower, DI­FC, through to Novem­ber 2027. Ex­pand­ing the...
01 September 2020
Re­struc­tur­ing and in­solv­ency law in United Ar­ab Emir­ates
1. What is the primary le­gis­la­tion gov­ern­ing in­solv­ency and re­struc­tur­ing pro­ceed­ings in your jur­is­dic­tion? Fed­er­al Law No. 9/2016 (the “Bank­ruptcy Law”) is the primary le­gis­la­tion gov­ern­ing in­solv­ency...
22 July 2020
Elec­tron­ic sig­na­ture law in com­mer­cial con­tracts in United Ar­ab Emir­ates
1. Defin­i­tion and form­al re­quire­ments of writ­ten leg­al state­ments or leg­al state­ments leg­ally bind­ing if the law re­quires writ­ten form The UAE has a multi-layered leg­al sys­tem, with le­gis­la­tion is­sued...
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...
12 May 2020
Leg­al guide for com­pany dir­ect­ors and CEOs in the UAE
The United Ar­ab Emir­ates (UAE) is a uni­on of sev­en Emir­ate states. Leg­al reg­u­la­tion across the Emir­ates broadly com­prises Fed­er­al Laws, which gen­er­ally ap­ply in all the Emir­ates, and loc­al laws, which...
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...
21 April 2020
NAS­DAQ Dubai now em­bra­cing SMEs
Small and me­di­um sized en­ter­prises (SMEs) are a key as­pect of the UAE’s eco­nomy help­ing drive growth and di­ver­si­fic­a­tion. Sev­er­al ini­ti­at­ives, in­clud­ing ac­cel­er­at­or pro­grammes, in­cub­at­ors and a mul­ti­tude...