Stikeman Elliott
Middle East Practice
Our broad corporate transactional practice in M&A, corporate finance and banking enables us to provide strategic, tailored legal services for a wide range of sovereign wealth funds, state-owned enterprises and other large pools of capital in the Middle East region seeking to acquire or invest in Canadian businesses or assets. Reflecting Canada's position as an increasingly attractive target for investment by these entities, the firm, through its Canadian and London offices, regularly provides advice on a large number of significant transactions into Canada from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and other nations.

Our expertise extends to a variety of Canadian industry sectors of particular interest to Middle East investors including energy, oil and gas, renewable energy (including solar, wind, hydro and biomass), infrastructure, manufacturing, technology and hospitality. The firm has earned particular respect for expertise in acting for acquirers and target companies in both negotiated (friendly) and hostile take-over situations. Also of note is our expertise in the area of emissions trading and renewable energy, where we have advised a variety of domestic and international businesses on the cutting-edge in the transition to a carbon-constrained economy.

Over the years, we have been involved in a significant number of transactions concerning non-Canadian acquirers of Canadian businesses and have been at the forefront of evolving practices in M&A transactions. Our corporate teams work in tandem with lawyers in our related practice areas such as competition/antitrust (including foreign investment review), tax, labour and employment, real estate, government relations, environmental and intellectual property to ensure that challenges are strategically addressed and transactions proceed efficiently and successfully.

We are also one of the few Canadian firms with experience acting for governments and domestic corporations in the Middle East in relation to infrastructure development and financing.

Sovereign Wealth Funds and State-Owned Enterprises

Our expertise in the Middle East region includes acting for some of the largest SWF and SOE entities in connection with their investments in Canada. We have worked closely with these clients in relation to acquisitions in a variety of industries and we offer strategic, timely advice to navigate Canadian legal requirements and, in particular, to obtain regulatory approval for transactions. Structuring a transaction for approval under Canadian foreign investment and competition/antitrust regulations is a particular specialty when acting for SWF and SOE clients in the Middle East and around the world.

Representative Experience

The following is a list of recent mandates Stikeman Elliott has undertaken for Middle East clients or involving Middle East sovereign wealth funds, state-owned enterprises and other large pools of capital. Our experience includes acting for:


  • Dubai-based Istithmar World Capital and Nakheel in their acquisition of a 20 per cent interest in Cirque du Soleil.

  • The Carlyle Group in their sale of Standard Aerospace to Dubai Aerospace.

  • PrimeWest Energy Trust in connection with the $5.1 billion acquisition of PrimeWest by Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA).

  • Kingdom Hotels International and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in connection with the $3.8 billion acquisition of Four Seasons Hotels by Kingdom Hotels, Cascade Investment, L.L.C. and Triples Holdings Ltd. and in the US$5.5 billion acquisition of Fairmont Hotels with Colony Capital.

  • Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Abu Dhabi Investment Council with respect to an investment in Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

Other Transactions

  • Abu Dhabi Airport Authorities in connection with the design, construction and commissioning of an airport terminal.

  • Royal family of Abu Dhabi and their related companies with respect to claims concerning the educational programmes for the UAE military.

  • Kuwait Finance House in Canada in designing a tax structure for investments.

  • Government of Bahrain in connection with the partial privatization of the Bahraini electricity sector and the development of a privately-owned 349-MW power plant and associated water desalination facility.

  • Kuwait Airways Corporation in its cases against the Republic of Iraq and Iraqi Airways Company in seeking recognition by the Quebec courts of several judgments of the UK courts, totalling over a billion dollars, rendered in the wake of the 1990 Kuwait invasion and the subsequent Gulf War. We were successful in an appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada where the Supreme Court held that Iraq is not entitled to claim immunity under the State Immunity Act. In another appeal before the Quebec Court of Appeal, the Court upheld the validity of a seizure before judgment of aircraft manufactured by Bombardier for the Republic of Iraq and Iraqi Airways Company. 

Related Practices
Key Contacts

Neil L. Bindman
Peter Castiel
Warren M. Katz
John W. Leopold

Eric M. Carmona
Curtis A. Cusinato
Brian M. Pukier
Jeffrey M. Singer

Craig A. Story

Related Publications