Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has provided legal counsel to CME Group Inc. (CME), the derivatives marketplace listed on Nasdaq, regarding a binding agreement with Saudi Tadawul Group Holding Company (STG), a Saudi-exchange listed entity. The agreement involves STG acquiring a 32.6 percent stake in Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME), a major international commodities exchange.
Following this agreement, STG will become the joint-largest shareholder in DME’s parent company, DME Holdings Limited, alongside CME Group. Other shareholders include the Oman Investment Authority, Dubai Holding, and global financial and commercial industry leaders.
The shares to be acquired consist of a combination of new and existing shares, with the proceeds from the new shares allocated to fund DME’s growth. The agreement also allows STG to increase its shareholding in the future, supporting a strategic move to capitalize on the Middle East’s geographic proximity to key commodity production hubs and end-markets. DME will play a pivotal role as a bridge between production and end-markets.
The Norton Rose Fulbright Dubai team advising on this deal was led by Dubai-based Partner Hamed Afzal (pictured), with support from Associates Michael Stevens, Amira Nassar and Ghislaino Kamdo and Trainee, Ali Zein. A team led by Dubai-based Partner Matthew Shanahan is advising CME Group on the financial services regulatory aspects of the transaction, whilst London-based Partner Michael Alliston and Associate Daniel Alexander advised on tax aspects.
This partnership aims to establish the Gulf Mercantile Exchange, capturing demand for energy, metals, and agricultural commodity markets. It also seeks to contribute to the global transition to a sustainable economy by launching next-generation derivatives contracts.
The completion of the transaction is subject to closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.