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Michael Hilton


Capital markets | Corporate advisory and governance | Infrastructure | Mergers and acquisitions | Private capital |

Always available, very personable and technically excellent. Attitude. Intelligence. Frankness. Energy level.

IFLR 1000 2024

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About Michael Hilton

Michael is our Regional Managing Partner, having previously headed up our Abu Dhabi office. He specialises in cross-border private and public M&A and joint ventures, with a focus on financial sponsor work.  In recent years he has advised on many of the major outbound investments from the region and been involved in most of the highest-profile transactions in the UAE.  

With more than 20 years of experience Michael's practice spans a number of sectors including energy and natural resources, infrastructure, financial services, telecoms and tech.  His clients include large government-owned institutions and corporates such as ADNOC, ENOC, DP World, Saudi Telecom Company and OSN, various financial institutions, a number of global financial investors and the region's most prominent sovereign wealth funds.

Much of the work Michael does crosses borders and a number of the deals he has worked on have been recognised by the legal industry's research and award bodies for their innovation and market impact.

Michael was previously based in the firm's London office, spending over a decade working on a variety of corporate matters, including some of the largest and most challenging M&A transactions.

Recent work

  • Advising Luxinva S.A., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), on the recommended cash acquisition of Dechra Pharmaceuticals PLC valued at £4.46bn.  The consortium is led by Swedish investment firm EQT Fund Management S.a.r.l. with Luxinva S.A. as co-investor.
  • Advising a number of high-profile regional sovereign wealth funds on a variety of matters including private equity, infrastructure and real estate investments involving assets based in Asia, Europe and the UK as well as other joint venture transactions.
  • Advising ADNOC on the establishment of an international futures exchange for Murban crude oil in the Abu Dhabi Global Market in partnership with Intercontinental Exchange.
  • Advising DP World in relation to its $13.9bn takeover by Port & Free Zone World FZE.
  • Advising DP World in relation to its acquisition of feeder shipping businesses operating in the Indian Subcontinent.
  • Advising CVC Capital Partners VIII on its €4.5 billion acquisition of Unilever’s global tea business, following a carve-out from the broader Unilever Plc group.
  • Advising Saudi Telecom Company on Western Union's acquisition of a 15% stake in STC's digital payment business, STC Pay. The investment will be made by way of a share subscription for $200m.
  • Advising KAR Group, a Kurdistan integrated oil and gas company, on its acquisition of a 40 per cent stake in Singapore-incorporated Kurdistan Pipeline Company Pte. Ltd in relation to the joint implementation of a US$3bn infrastructure project for the operation of the oil export pipeline in the Kurdish Autonomous Region.
  • Advising OSN on the refinancing of its term loan facilities involving the re-negotiation of its intercreditor arrangements, the incurrence of a new US$150,000,000 bridge loan from Kuwait Projects Company Holding KSCP, the refinancing of an existing US$150,000,000 term loan with Gulf Bank KSCP, and the amendment and restatement of US$113,000,000 of junior term loan facilities with the addition of new debt conversion rights.
  • Advising International General Insurance Holdings Ltd., a private Dubai-based insurance company, in connection with its business combination with Tiberius Acquisition Corporation, a Nasdaq-listed US special purpose acquisition company.
  • Advising Saudi Telecom Company on all of its recent high-profile transactions, including the US$3.1bn sale of Careem to Uber, the biggest ever technology deal in the region.
  • Advising Al Hilal Bank PJSC in relation to a three-way merger with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Union National Bank to create the third largest bank in the UAE, with total assets of US$114bn.
  • Advising International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) on its merger with Mubadala Development Company (MDC), creating the 14th largest state-owned investment fund globally with $125bn combined total assets and an entity with partnerships and businesses in 30+ countries.
  • Advising First Gulf Bank on its merger with National Bank of Abu Dhabi, creating the largest bank in the MENA region with $183bn of assets and a combined market capitalisation of approximately $30.9bn. Read more about the deal in our case study.
  • Advising Emirates National Oil Company on its circa $6bn acquisition and de-listing of Dragon Oil, a Dublin-listed upstream oil and gas company, with operations and assets in Iraq, Algeria, Egypt, Afghanistan and Tunisia.
  • Advising a consortium led by sovereign-backed Fajr Capital, with global investment and advisory firm Blackstone and Bahrain’s investment arm Mumtalakat as co-investors, on the acquisition of a minority stake in the leading regional education business GEMS Education. The deal was awarded M&A Deal of the Year at the IFLR Middle East Awards 2015.
  • Advising QEWC in relation to the bid to acquire a 20% stake in the Shuweihat S1 IWPP.
  • Advising the liquidators of BTU Ventures in relation to issues relating to an Abu Dhabi IWPP.
  • Advising Warburg Pincus on its acquisition of Dubai-based specialist IT software, development and solutions business mercator from dnata, one of the world’s largest air services providers and a subsidiary of the Emirates group.
  • Advising Saudi Telecom Company on the $865m sale of PT Axis Telekom Indonesia to PT XL Axiata TBK. The deal was awarded M&A Deal of the Year at the Asian Legal Business Awards 2014.
  • Advising the Al Tayer Group on a healthcare platform joint venture company with Dubai Investments and Ashmore.
  • Advising Chinese e-commerce company and tech giant Alibaba on its inbound greenfield joint venture with the UAE’s Meraas Holding.
  • Advising EFG Hermes Capital Partners Management on its joint cash bid to acquire the entire share capital of Damas International, listed on Nasdaq Dubai (formerly the DIFX), only the third ever public M&A transaction involving a Nasdaq Dubai-listed company. The deal was awarded M&A Deal of the Year at the IFLR Middle East Awards 2012.
  • Advising HSBC Bank Middle East on: the disposal of its retail and commercial banking business in Jordan to Arab Jordan Investment Bank; the disposal of its retail and commercial banking business in Pakistan to Meezan Bank; and the acquisition of the UAE onshore retail and commercial banking business of Lloyds Banking Group.
  • Advising Xstrata on numerous corporate transactions, including its investment in the Zanaga iron ore venture in Congo Brazzaville, its proposed $80bn and $10bn takeovers of Anglo American and Lonmin, and its $6bn rights issue and related party acquisition of the Prodeco coal business.
  • Advising a global financial business headquartered in the Middle East on a proposed IPO on Nasdaq Dubai and a possible secondary listing onshore in the UAE.
  • Advising Betfair Group on its £1.4bn IPO.
  • Advising UBS and Bridgewell on the £340m IPO of Dunelm Group.
  • Advising JP Morgan, UBS and Evolution on the cash box rights issue by Ashtead Group in connection with its acquisition of NationsRent.
  • Advising Goldman Sachs and ABN AMRO Rothschild on the IPO of shares in Public Power Corporation.
  • Advising Kuwait Projects Company (Holding) K.S.C.P. on the disposal of its 46.32% stake in Gulf Insurance Group K.S.C.P. to Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited for $860m.



  • Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, UK (MA Cantab, law)
  • Nottingham Law School, UK (diploma in legal practice)