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Martin Davies, Partner, Mishcon Private

Martin Davies

Partner, Head of Middle East Group

Personal Profile

Martin Heads the firm's Middle East practice and is a Partner in the firm's international wealth planning and tax team group. Martin is widely recognised as a Middle East expert advising prominent families, companies and family offices from Saudi Arabia and the GCC countries on their international corporate and real estate investments and their personal financial affairs, leading and co-ordinating their global legal function.

Martin advises on all aspects of international private capital and wealth planning, often when a client is considering changing their life pattern, on the death of a family principal, on a review of historical structures or when a client carries out corporate acquisitions, investments or disposals. This regularly involves advising the family principals on taxation, succession, family structures and constitution, asset protection and reputation management as well as international investments, M&A, joint ventures and private equity. Martin's rare combination of experience in cross-border corporate transactions combined with his many years of providing strategic advice in wealth planning and international private capital enables him to act as a close adviser across all aspects of his client's affairs.

Martin's understanding of the nuances of doing business in Saudi Arabia and the wider Gulf is reflected in his reputation as a Middle East expert. He has been involved in the setting up and restructuring of many tens of local entities and joint ventures in the Middle East throughout his career.

Martin has lived and managed law offices in Riyadh and Washington, DC and continues to spend considerable time in the Middle East regularly advising European, North American and Far East companies on their inward investments and joint ventures in Saudi Arabia and the GCC. Martin co-founded and was formerly the elected Chairman of a global legal network with over 120 members and Martin's international 'reach' is genuinely global in supporting the firm's clients, regularly working with law firms and other professionals in multiple jurisdictions on a daily basis.

Martin has been actively involved in promoting trade with the UK throughout his career and is a founder member of the Saudi British Joint Business Council. He was co-founder of the Saudi-British Society and is a Trustee of the Oriental Cultural Foundation.

Key Experience

  • Advising a prominent Middle East royal family across multiple generations in respect of substantial inherited assets throughout Europe, reviewing historical structures for in excess of 50 family-owned companies and advising on updated structures, family succession, family constitution and asset utilisation and protection.
  • Advising a North American group on establishing an aviation manufacturing and licensing joint venture involving 6 jurisdictions, including the US, Canada, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and China. Advising the same client group in respect of financing and strategy for other projects in the financial services, media and defence sectors in multiple jurisdictions.
  • Advising a Middle East client in the disposal of his interest in a landmark building in the City of London valued at over £700m.  This involved a complex cross-border structure across 7 jurisdictions and related tax and corporate issues and a delisting of listed Loan Notes and ensuring the tax efficient distribution of the sale proceeds.
  • Advising a Middle East client on a $3bn US commercial real estate portfolio, including disposals, refinancings and acquisitions and a multi-jurisdictional tax efficient ownership structure facilitating a free flow of income and capital to the client family involving leading and co-ordinating counsel in the US and other relevant jurisdictions.
  • Advising a senior member of a leading Middle East royal family in successfully resisting substantial speculative claims of a highly sensitive nature made by a private individual in the UK; leading the legal team through multiple proceedings in the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court over a 10 year period involving issues of immunity and other public international law issues and complex contractual and novel areas of the law resulting in the dismissal of all cases.
  • Advising initially on a $1.4 billion refinancing of iconic Hotels in multiple jurisdictions and thereafter acting in their acquisition and related structuring.
  • Advising a Middle East based entrepreneur in respect of substantial cross border IP litigation, corporate set up and a related IPO in the UK and separately in respect of project financing for multiple manufacturing facilities.
  • Advising a US law firm and its multi-national corporate client on set-up and inward investment into the UK and related joint ventures and licensing in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
  • Advising a prominent Qatari family in respect of their private and commercial UK investments and related structuring, succession and tax issues.
  • Regularly advising numerous Middle East, Far East and North American corporate clients on their inward investments to the UK, their personal taxation and succession and 'exit' plans.
  • Advising a Saudi Arabian entrepreneur on the establishment of a global luxury fashion brand including start-up and shareholder documentation, tax and corporate structures, IP protection, licensing and alternative exit strategies.
  • Advising a Middle East merchant family on the death of an intestate family member and successfully arranging a post-death variation between family members resulting in a multi-million Pound tax saving agreed with HMRC.
  • Advising numerous cross-border media clients involved in production, direction, film, TV and music in a range of contractual, joint venture and investment transactions.

Career History

Partner & Head of Middle East, Mishcon de Reya LLP
Partner & Middle East Lead (London, Riyadh & Qatar), Clyde & Co LLP
Partner & Head of International, Howard Kennedy
Founder & Elected Chairman, Lawyers Associated Worldwide (the 'LAW' Global Legal Network)
Partner (London, Riyadh & Washington D.C.), niche Mayfair Firm
King's College London

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