AS&H Clifford Chance has provided legal counsel for Saudi Tadawul Group (STG), a diversified capital markets group in the MENA region, on its strategic acquisition of a 32.6% stake in the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME), a renowned international commodities exchange based in Dubai. The acquisition involves a combination of new and existing shares, with the raised funds earmarked for fueling the growth of DME.
With this acquisition, STG becomes the joint largest shareholder in DME Holdings Limited, sharing this position with CME Group. Notable shareholders also include the Oman Investment Authority and Dubai Holding. The agreement includes an option for STG to further increase its shareholding in the future. As part of the strategic move, DME will undergo rebranding and be known as the Gulf Mercantile Exchange, underlining its pivotal role as the primary regional commodities exchange in the Middle East. The transaction is contingent on meeting closing conditions, including obtaining regulatory approvals.
DME, headquartered in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), will maintain its operations in the DIFC post-STG’s investment completion. Regulatory oversight will continue under the Dubai Financial Services Authority, with trades executed on DME cleared through CME Clearing and regulated by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission. DME is home to the DME Oman Crude Oil Futures Contract (DME Oman), a globally recognized crude oil benchmark used by five national oil companies in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
The cross-border team was led by Mohammed Al–Shukairy (pictured), M&A Partner at Clifford Chance in the Middle East with support from AS&H Clifford Chance Corporate Partner Daniel Royle.
Mansoor AlHagbani, Head of Capital Markets at AS&H Clifford Chance, provided specialist advice in relation to certain aspects of the transaction.
The core transaction team consisted of lead senior associates James Dadford (Dubai), Kimberly Ng (Dubai) and Rida Jamal (Riyadh), supported by associates Ismaila Ngum (Dubai), Leen Kayali (Riyadh) and trainee solicitor Zeena Sa’di (Dubai).