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Digital Communications Infrastructure

Digital infrastructure drives the future, making it an attractive area for investors, and an area of scrutiny for regulators

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How we help

At CMS, we have some of Europe’s leading legal specialists in the technology, media and communications sector. Our Digital Communications Infrastructure Team combines exceptional expertise in project and structured finance, competition regulation and large-scale investment, while our market-leading telecommunications team has decades of experience in the technology and communications space, including strong expertise in the areas of fibre, towers, subsea cables, network sharing, data centres and satellite.

With full service offices in over 40 countries, we have the geographic reach, people and expertise to manage the biggest and busiest volumes of sector-specific work for our clients.

A safe pair of hands

Thanks to a diverse range of clients and our career backgrounds, CMS has looked at and advised on digital infrastructure issues from every angle, across our practice groups.

Some of our recent experience includes advising:

  • KKR on the acquisition of a majority stake in Telefónica Chile’s fibre optic network.
  • Telefonica Deutschland on the sale of its passive infrastructure to Telxius.
  • Macquarie Capital on the acquisition of a stake in MasMovil’s fibre-to-the-home network and a joint venture for rural fibre roll out in Spain.
  • Macquarie on the sale of a stake in Pentacom to Daiwa Energy & Infrastructure.
  • euNetworks on its acquisition of The Loop from Gamma.
  • Foresight Group on a long-term financing agreement with Lightning Fibre. 
  • Marguerite on the refinancing of its minority stake in EllaLink.
  • CityFibre on the acquisition of FibreNation.
  • Horizon Capital and Datagroup on the leveraged acquisition of Volia.
  • Vodafone Ukraine on the acquisition of Vega Telecom.
  • Natixis on a EUR 180 million syndicated loan to Sipartech.

TMT Legal Adviser of the Year

TMT Finance M&A Awards 2019

Discover our work

31/05/2021
CMS Net­work Shar­ing 4.5
On the brink of a new gen­er­a­tion
5G In­sight
03/12/2021
Di­git­al Ho­ri­zons
We are pleased to share with you our latest CMS thought lead­er­ship – Di­git­al Ho­ri­zons, a series of brief re­ports ex­plor­ing CEE’s di­git­al fu­ture.  Based on a re­cent sur­vey can­vassing the views of...
16/06/2021
CMS In­fra­struc­ture In­dex: Ac­cel­er­at­ing trans­form­a­tion
The in­fra­struc­ture mar­ket has re­mained re­si­li­ent in the face of COV­ID-19. The CMS In­fra­struc­ture In­dex has ranked 50 coun­tries by their at­tract­ive­ness for in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment and it paints a very pos­it­ive pic­ture. Singa­pore tops the lead­er board, bolstered by the un­veil­ing of its Green Plan 2030 which aims to ad­vance sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment and re­duce the coun­try’s car­bon foot­print. There are big spend­ing plans in every re­gion as gov­ern­ments seek to close in­fra­struc­ture gaps, re­cov­er from the pan­dem­ic and stim­u­late their eco­nom­ies.   Please click through the re­port or down­load the pdf ver­sion at the bot­tom of this page.
10/01/2022
In­vest­ing in new tech­no­lo­gies
CMS Chile ad­vised KKR on the ac­quis­i­tion of a ma­jor­ity stake in the ex­ist­ing fiber op­tic net­work of Tele­fon­ica Chile, the largest in the coun­try. The aim is to cre­ate the first in­de­pend­ent and open ac­cess whole­sale fiber op­tic in­fra­struc­ture net­work avail­able to all cur­rent and fu­ture tele­com op­er­at­ors in the coun­try.The deal will bring great­er broad­band ac­cess, cre­at­ing a com­pet­it­ive mar­ket­place that be­ne­fits con­sumers and busi­nesses across the coun­try. Fiber-to-the-home con­nectiv­ity is con­sidered a ma­jor tech­no­logy up­grade as it is a ne­ces­sary step for next-gen­er­a­tion ap­plic­a­tions such as 5G de­ploy­ment, HDTV stream­ing and sym­met­ric­al ser­vices.The com­pany plans to ex­pand broad­band cov­er­age in Chile from 2 mil­lion homes today to a min­im­um of 3.5 mil­lion homes by 2023, and provide whole­sale ser­vice to more than 40,000 busi­nesses, tele­com towers and small cells. The trans­ac­tion is val­ued at ap­prox­im­ately USD 1bn. It was signed on 22 Feb­ru­ary 2021 and closed in Ju­ly 2021.The CMS Chile team that ad­vised KKR was led by part­ner Jorge Al­lende D. and in­cluded part­ner Ig­nacio Er­razquin, seni­or as­so­ci­ates En­rique Ver­gara and Se­bastián Bar­ros, and as­so­ci­ates Ri­cardo Celedón, Tomás Bar­ros and Pedro Al­lende. 

Key Contacts

Portrait of Chris Watson
Chris Watson
Partner
London
Portrait of Anne Chitan
Anne Chitan
Partner
London

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If you need to be advised on digital infrastructure issues, please don't hesitate to contact us directly.

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01/06/2022
CMS Next
What’s next? In a world of ever-ac­cel­er­at­ing change, stay­ing ahead of the curve and know­ing what’s next for your busi­ness or sec­tor is es­sen­tial.At CMS, we see ourselves not only as your leg­al ad­visers but also as your busi­ness part­ners. We work to­geth­er with you to not only re­solve cur­rent is­sues but to an­ti­cip­ate fu­ture chal­lenges and in­nov­ate to meet them.With our latest pub­lic­a­tion, CMS Next, our ex­perts will reg­u­larly of­fer you in­sights in­to and fresh per­spect­ives on a range of is­sues that busi­nesses have to deal with – from ESG agen­das to re­struc­tur­ing after the pan­dem­ic or fa­cing the di­git­al trans­form­a­tion. We will also share with you more about the work that we are do­ing for our cli­ents, help­ing them in­nov­ate, grow and mit­ig­ate risk.To be able to provide you with the best sup­port, we im­merse ourselves in your world to un­der­stand your leg­al needs and chal­lenges. However, it is equally im­port­ant that you know who we are and how we can work with you. So, we in­vite you to meet our ex­perts and catch a glimpse of what is hap­pen­ing in­side CMS.En­joy read­ing this pub­lic­a­tion, which we will up­date reg­u­larly with new con­tent.CMS Ex­ec­ut­ive Team
06/04/2022
CMS Al­bania has ad­vised 4IG on the ac­quis­i­tion of One Tele­com­mu­nic­a­tions...
CMS has as­sisted 4iG on the in­dir­ect ac­quis­i­tion of One Tele­com­mu­nic­a­tions, upon ac­quir­ing all the shares in the Bul­gari­an com­pany Al­bania Tele­com In­vest. One Tele­com­mu­nic­a­tions is a ma­jor tele­com­mu­nic­a­tion...
08/03/2022
CMA pub­lishes fi­nal de­cision in Cell­nex / CK Hutchis­on UK towers in­quiry
In Novem­ber 2020, Cell­nex an­nounced a series of ac­quis­i­tions from CK Hutchis­on of nearly 25,000 tower es­tates across Italy, the UK, Ire­land, Aus­tria, Sweden and Den­mark. While five of the six trans­ac­tions...
15/02/2022
CMS ad­vises Foresight on Con­nect Fibre in­vest­ment
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS has ad­vised Foresight Group LLP (“Foresight”), a lead­ing lis­ted in­fra­struc­ture and SME in­vest­ment man­ager, on its in­vest­ment in­to Con­nect Fibre, a com­munity minded, full...
27/01/2022
Emer­ging Europe M&A Re­port 2021/2022
Fol­low­ing glob­al trends, the M&A mar­ket in emer­ging Europe surged in 2021— more money was spent on ac­quis­i­tions and in­vest­ments than in any of the pre­vi­ous sev­en years. After a re­l­at­ively poor show­ing in 2020, trans­ac­tion volume also bounced back to pre-pan­dem­ic levels. Not only did dir­ect ac­quis­i­tions and in­vest­ments fare well, but stock mar­ket list­ings also reached un­pre­ced­en­ted levels. Has the M&A mar­ket in emer­ging Europe scaled new heights?Wel­come to the 2021/22 edi­tion of the Emer­ging Europe re­port.
10/01/2022
Tech­no­logy: a uni­fy­ing force
Com­pan­ies of­ten talk about the scourge of the silo, the farm­ing stor­age meta­phor that has come to rep­res­ent teams or de­part­ments that op­er­ate on their own. However, with tech­no­logy trans­form­ing vir­tu­ally every in­dustry on the plan­et, col­lab­or­a­tion across sec­tors has be­come es­sen­tial. Ad­di­tion­ally, the COV­ID-19 crisis has high­lighted the cru­cial role tech­no­logy, spe­cific­ally con­nectiv­ity, plays as the back­bone of our busi­ness world across all sec­tors, and once COV­ID-19 is brought un­der con­trol or even erad­ic­ated, it will prove es­sen­tial for so­cial and eco­nom­ic prosper­ity. For­ging links in di­git­al in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects Jonath­an Dames, a part­ner at CMS in Lon­don, says that his team’s prac­tice tra­di­tion­ally centred on so­cial and eco­nom­ic in­fra­struc­ture and en­ergy fin­ance, but is in­creas­ingly shift­ing to­wards di­git­al in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects, in­clud­ing fibre net­works and data centres.He says that these kinds of pro­jects re­quire close col­lab­or­a­tion between tra­di­tion­al pro­jects and pro­ject fin­ance law­yers and their col­leagues in Tech­no­logy, Me­dia & Com­mu­nic­a­tions (TMC), “We al­ways had cros­sov­er, and en­joyed great col­lab­or­a­tion with both the In­fra­struc­ture & Pro­jects and En­ergy Sec­tor Groups, for ex­ample, but now we are work­ing with the TMC Sec­tor Group much more closely be­cause we are fa­cing reg­u­lat­ory is­sues and re­gimes that we have nev­er faced be­fore such as Code Powers, the re­quire­ments of the Com­mu­nic­a­tions Act and re­lated le­gis­la­tion.“CMS has ex­tens­ive in­fra­struc­ture, en­ergy and tele­coms ex­pert­ise and is able to bring it all to­geth­er to cre­ate the skill set re­quired to de­liv­er long-term pro­ject fin­an­cing to tech­no­logy-based in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects.”Ad­di­tion­ally, the fund­ing of di­git­al in­fra­struc­ture pro­jects, such as the 10,000km El­laLink sub­sea cable between Brazil and Por­tugal, de­mands more com­plic­ated fin­an­cing struc­tures to cov­er the re­lated risks and cre­ate the op­tim­al cap­it­al stack to get the best all-in pri­cing. This has in­volved us­ing mezzan­ine fin­ance and vendor fin­an­cing for con­struc­tion, with a view to at­tract­ing cheap­er op­er­a­tion­al peri­od fin­an­cing in the me­di­um term. A sub­sea cable, cross­ing in­ter­na­tion­al wa­ters and land­ing in mul­tiple leg­al jur­is­dic­tions, is not, un­der­stand­ably, ex­posed to the same po­ten­tial threats and per­ils as a hos­pit­al or a con­ven­tion­al power sta­tion or a wind farm on a single site. So, not all the usu­al rules, mar­ket norms, leg­al con­structs and stand­ard mit­ig­ants ne­ces­sar­ily fit for a fin­an­cing of this type of as­set. Rise of the ma­chines The CMS In­tel­lec­tu­al Prop­erty (IP) Group has un­sur­pris­ingly been at the fore­front of tech­no­lo­gic­al in­nov­a­tion, sup­port­ing cli­ents in the iden­ti­fic­a­tion, pro­tec­tion and com­mer­cial­isa­tion of their IP as­sets. Tom Scourfield, Co-Head of the group, is based in Lon­don and Warsaw, two cit­ies well-known for their tech­no­logy in­cub­a­tion. He ob­serves, “We are not only see­ing an in­crease in the use of tech­no­logy in col­lab­or­a­tion, but much more fre­quently, col­lab­or­a­tion with tech­no­logy it­self.”Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence (AI) is a grow­ing area of fo­cus. Pat­ent ap­plic­a­tions for AI tech­no­lo­gies have in­creased by 170,000 since 2013, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent re­port by the World In­tel­lec­tu­al Prop­erty Of­fice (WIPO). In the field of AI pat­ents, there is cur­rently a fas­cin­at­ing de­bate around the ques­tion of pat­entab­il­ity of in­ven­tions cre­ated by AI ma­chines them­selves. Ac­cord­ing to Tom Scourfield, “Bey­ond pat­ents, we are also see­ing an in­creased use of AI in de­tect­ing and mon­it­or­ing coun­ter­feits and oth­er on­line brand harms. AI is also be­ing used to sup­ple­ment and sup­port the ana­lys­is of sim­il­ar­it­ies between com­pet­ing brands, wheth­er in terms of brand clear­ance or in­fringe­ment scen­ari­os.”Whatever de­vel­op­ments AI and oth­er in­nov­a­tion may bring, he thinks that one thing is cer­tain, “As IP law­yers, we al­ways have to be for­ward-think­ing, look­ing to pro­tect and se­cure com­pet­it­ive ad­vant­ages for our cli­ents in mar­kets and op­por­tun­it­ies that are not even fully es­tab­lished yet.” Pi­on­eer­ing new products Lon­don Funds part­ner Chris­toph­er Luck sees a real ap­pet­ite for new types of as­sets from the funds com­munity. He says that di­git­al tech­no­lo­gies are trans­form­ing the back-of­fices of as­set man­agers and are im­prov­ing the cus­tom­er ex­per­i­ence. Fund man­agers are be­com­ing bet­ter at stor­ing and har­ness­ing data, us­ing block­chain tech­no­lo­gies and plat­forms to make on­board­ing of know your cus­tom­er (KYC) in­form­a­tion and data pro­tec­tion a more stream­lined pro­cess. The use of smart con­tracts is also be­com­ing more pre­val­ent. Chris­toph­er Luck notes that the ad­vent of token­isa­tion, the pro­cess of con­vert­ing real as­sets in­to di­git­al rep­res­ent­a­tions (tokens) on a block­chain, has opened up the in­vest­ment mar­ket to a broad­er range of in­sti­tu­tion­al and re­tail in­vestors. “By demo­crat­ising or cre­at­ing more op­por­tun­it­ies for in­vestors, this is provid­ing ad­di­tion­al li­quid­ity in­to a num­ber of sec­tors, most not­ably real es­tate.” He says, “We are see­ing tokens at their most ad­vanced in the United States and Asia, and grow­ing in the UK and Europe.”  Un­der­stand­ing new en­vir­on­ments  In oth­er more tra­di­tion­al sec­tors, law­yers are in­creas­ingly be­ing ex­pec­ted to provide ad­vice on how to deal with the chal­lenges and op­por­tun­it­ies that tech­no­logy provides.Mark Ziek­man, Co-Head of the CMS Con­sumer Products Group, says, “In the con­sumer goods sec­tor, block­chain is mak­ing an im­pact, provid­ing the sup­ply chain and cus­tom­ers with a great­er de­gree of con­fid­ence in the proven­ance of a product and wheth­er it meets key sus­tain­ab­il­ity cri­ter­ia.”Cus­tom­ers, par­tic­u­larly mil­len­ni­als, are in­creas­ingly de­mand­ing in­form­a­tion around trace­ab­il­ity and audit­ab­il­ity to have con­fid­ence in FM­CG com­pan­ies, lo­gist­ics com­pan­ies and re­tail­ers.Fur­ther­more, Mark Ziek­man be­lieves that tech­no­logy in gen­er­al has played a pivotal role in ad­dress­ing wide­spread busi­ness dis­rup­tion caused by COV­ID-19, en­abling com­pan­ies to trans­form their busi­ness mod­els. Good ex­amples are res­taur­ants which al­most in­stant­an­eously changed their busi­ness mod­el to provide takeaways and food de­liv­er­ies. Shops shif­ted their fo­cus to selling on­line. These changes will not dis­ap­pear in the af­ter­math of the COV­ID-19 pan­dem­ic. Shift­ing reg­u­lat­ory land­scapes Reg­u­lat­ors con­tin­ue to face the on­go­ing chal­lenge of keep­ing pace with in­nov­a­tion and the new mar­ket dy­nam­ics it cre­ates. ESG factors have come to the fore in the minds of reg­u­lat­ors as well and this think­ing is only go­ing to in­tensi­fy. Cristina Reich­mann, a Bucharest based part­ner in the CMS Bank­ing & Fin­ance Group, says that reg­u­lat­ors are al­ways hav­ing to re­spond to new eco­nom­ic mod­els and pub­lic sen­ti­ments. She has seen fast dis­rup­tion in the bank­ing sec­tor CEE, “Ro­mania, for ex­ample, has a his­tory of in­nov­a­tion, pre­vi­ously emer­ging as a ma­jor in­ter­na­tion­al out­sourcing hub and then be­com­ing a fintech centre with a num­ber of uni­corns.” She points to agile bank­ing and fintech, which are provid­ing great­er ac­cess and a broad­er suite of ser­vices to cus­tom­ers, and with this comes reg­u­lat­ory chal­lenges. She says, “There are a lot of com­pli­ance as­pects to be met and solved.”
21/12/2021
CMS ad­vises com­cross share­hold­ers on sale of shares to H.I.G. Cap­it­al port­fo­lio...
Stut­tgart – The share­hold­ers in the com­cross Group have sold shares in the com­pany to In­frat­ech Bau, a port­fo­lio com­pany held by H.I.G. Cap­it­al. With a cur­rent work­force of over 200, com­cross is a lead­ing...
25/11/2021
CMS ad­vises City­Fibre on ma­jor ex­pan­sion of Full Fibre part­ner­ship with...
In­ter­na­tion­al law firm CMS has ad­vised City­Fibre, the UK’s largest in­de­pend­ent Full Fibre plat­form, on a ma­jor ex­pan­sion of its stra­tegic part­ner­ship with Voda­fone. The deal es­tab­lishes Voda­fone as...
30/11/2021
TMT World Con­gress
CMS is de­lighted to be back at the in-per­son TMT World Con­gress 2021. Our di­git­al com­mu­nic­a­tions in­fra­struc­ture team looks for­ward to con­nect­ing and re-con­nect­ing with you and oth­er key lead­ers from...
26/10/2021
5G vis­ion video series
A video series on the de­ploy­ment of 5G across the world
09/09/2021
CMS ad­vises Voda­fone Ukraine on Vega Tele­com ac­quis­i­tion
CMS Camer­on McK­enna Nabarro Olswang in Ky­iv has ad­vised lead­ing mo­bile op­er­at­or Voda­fone Ukraine and its par­ent com­pany, Neqsol Hold­ing, on Voda­fone Ukraine’s land­mark ac­quis­i­tion of Vega Tele­com from...
16/06/2021
CMS In­fra­struc­ture In­dex: Ac­cel­er­at­ing trans­form­a­tion
The in­fra­struc­ture mar­ket has re­mained re­si­li­ent in the face of COV­ID-19. The CMS In­fra­struc­ture In­dex has ranked 50 coun­tries by their at­tract­ive­ness for in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment and it paints a very pos­it­ive pic­ture. Singa­pore tops the lead­er board, bolstered by the un­veil­ing of its Green Plan 2030 which aims to ad­vance sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment and re­duce the coun­try’s car­bon foot­print. There are big spend­ing plans in every re­gion as gov­ern­ments seek to close in­fra­struc­ture gaps, re­cov­er from the pan­dem­ic and stim­u­late their eco­nom­ies.   Please click through the re­port or down­load the pdf ver­sion at the bot­tom of this page.