Family Businesses

Supporting your family business to thrive

Over recent years family-owned businesses in the Middle East have continued to experience exponential growth and success, with many having evolved into large and complex multinational conglomerates with an ever-increasing need for the best legal advice. Clyde & Co can offer this.

We recognise that no two-family businesses are alike.

We seek to have conversations with our clients to ascertain “where they’re going” both regionally and globally, as well as to understand the commercial realities of their business. Our lawyers bring a family-centred perspective, prioritising the preservation of family harmony and unity while safeguarding your business interests. 

We aim to create a smooth transition from one generation to the next, ensuring the legacy of your family business endures. 

Our full-service nature and wide range of practices enables us to draw teams of specialist lawyers from across a variety of legal disciplines to advise not only on “family level” issues, but also on operational issues that are unique to family businesses. We take pride in offering practical guidance that considers both the legal aspects and the unique dynamics of family-owned businesses. Our lawyers collaborate closely with clients to find sustainable solutions that align with our clients' family values and business objectives.

We are one of the first international law firms to be accredited by the DIFC Family Wealth Centre as "Governance and Succession Planning Advisers".  In addition, partner Nora Al Muhamad and legal director Reina Hashash are amongst the first lawyers to have been individually accredited as "Governance and Succession Planning Advisers". The DIFC Family Wealth Centre holds an essential position in supporting family businesses to achieve growth and prosperity across generations and we look forward to engaging in future collaborations.

Our expertise includes advising family businesses on:

  • Succession planning and Sharia compliance 
  • Structuring and restructuring 
  • Corporate governance and sustainability 
  • Family disputes and conflict resolution 
  • Corporate and family asset ownership and risk management 
  • Wealth management and family office
  • ESG transformation from a legal and regulatory perspective 
  • Corporate and commercial matters

A selection of our experience includes:

  • Advising the National Centre for Family Businesses (NCFB) in Saudi Arabia on recommendations to improve the legal framework for family businesses in the Kingdom. The review involved providing recommendations on amendments to the new commercial companies laws in Saudi Arabia in relation to family-owned companies.*
  • Advising a UAE public body on the recently introduced federal Family Business law, suggesting enhancements to legislation specific to UAE family businesses to provide them with the tools to improve business sustainability and family unity.*
  • Advising Cenomi Retail, a Saudi listed company and pioneering retail brand partner, on the SAR 120 million sale of its franchise rights (and related assets) for 18 brands to Abdullah Al-Othaim Fashion Company. The brands include household names such as Flormar, OXXO, and Monsoon. The transaction is expected to complete in Q1 2024. Cenomi Retail is the largest franchise retailer in the Kingdom and the only listed business of its type in the Middle East. Founded by renowned businessman and property developer Fawaz A. AlHokair in partnership with brothers Salman and Abdulmajeed.
  • Advising local GCC families on succession issues, creating corporate structures ranging from the incorporation of limited liability companies to complex trust and double trust structures in multiple jurisdictions, including advising on complex Sharia law-related issues.
  • Advising one of the largest regional conglomerates in the Middle East on its strategic acquisition of 30 companies in Asia via a JV with a leading private equity firm.
  • Advising Majid Al Futtaim on the sale of two of its City Centre Clinics to Mediclinic Middle East. 
  • Advising regional conglomerate Al Khayyat Investments (AKI) on its acquisition of Growthcap Investments LLC’s distribution business in the UAE in respect of over 30 brands including Tippys, Natures Kitchen, Enviro Guard, Resona Organics and Huy Fong.
  • Advising a construction contractor affiliate of the Al-Futtaim Group, a UAE conglomerate, in relation to the EXPO 2020 project in Dubai.
  • Advising a multi-billion-dollar GCC based family conglomerate in respect of its strategic restructuring, diversification and corporatisation programme, which included the creation of private joint stock companies, and the implementation of a complex series of other corporate vehicles in order to implement a family succession plan.
  • Advising major family businesses operating in the retail and construction sectors in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, on confidential matters relating to international expansion, asset and operational risk management, legal structuring, succession planning, family governance charters and alternative dispute resolution.*
  • Acting in relation to a confidential / private matter in the DIFC Courts involving a family wealth management / transfer dispute under DIFC law trust arrangements. Including advising on trust termination, injunctive relief and alleged incapacity issues.
  • Advising a regional conglomerate on their transformation to a single enterprise resource planning system across all its business units. After having successfully completed the first phase of gathering and developing all requirements and blueprints necessary to implement the SAP S/4HANA system, they appointed us to provide legal support on the contract with the selected system integrator.
  • Advising Chalhoub Group on data protection matters. This included designing a data protection compliance programme for Chalhoub following an assessment of its data processing activities across its offices in the UAE and KSA.

*Experience of a team member prior to joining Clyde & Co.

UAE Family Business Law briefing

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Meet the team

Abhimanyu Jalan
Abhimanyu Jalan

Partner

Nora Al Muhamad
Nora Al Muhamad

Partner

Mohammed Almarzouki
Mohammed Almarzouki

Partner

Nassif BouMalhab
Nassif BouMalhab

Partner

Chadi Salloum
Chadi Salloum

Partner

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