Fueled by tremendous growth potential and an increasingly progressive regulatory environment, the Middle East is fast becoming a hotbed of M&A activity. Today, for example, the UAE is experiencing an upsurge in cross-border merger and acquisition activity. As a result, dealmakers throughout the Gulf Cooperation Council, including Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait, should be ready to strike while the proverbial iron is hot. As dealmakers survey the wealth of opportunities available in the region, they should be alert to certain trends particular to the Middle East. This article offers a brief overview of key issues to keep in mind as deals unfold.
Comprehensive due diligence is critical to a successful deal. Keep in mind, however, that companies in the Middle East are generally not required to disclose as much information as their counterparts in the U.S. and Europe. Indeed, deal teams may be surprised to learn that UAE laws do not require as much disclosure as other jurisdictions. This, however, is changing. Although there is little history of corporate disclosure in the Middle East, some countries are taking steps to improve transparency and communication with foreign investors.
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