Chris Watson is Partner and Head of TMC at CMS. He focuses on international commercial matters in the technology, media and communications sectors, particularly in areas where competition and regulation overlap, and on EU law arising in cross-border and complex telecommunications transactions. He also has extensive experience in other regulated network sectors, such as postal and other utilities, as well as in general commercial, corporate, and financial matters.
Chris works with an extensive range of clients in the global telecommunications industry. He has been recognised in The International Who's Who of Telecoms & Media Lawyers 2014 as a 'Most Highly Regarded Individual' in which he is described as "exceptionally bright", and boasts an "amazingly international practice".
Chris has a strong interest in the Middle East, having lived in Iran for a number of years, and has developed a global practice with approximately half of his clients based outside the UK.
Chris is a regular contributor to magazines, a sought after speaker and is frequently quoted in the media. He is a member of the governing Council of the International Bar Association (IBA), and a past chairman of the Communications Law Committee. Chris’s memberships also include Supreme Court of England and Wales, Paris Bar and board membership of the Space Law Committee.
He is dually qualified as a solicitor in England and as an avocat in France.
- Cinven LLP on its bid to acquire a controlling stake in Telekom Slovenije (2015).
- Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group (MCG) on the acquisition of NTL’s broadcast business for a purchase price of £1.27 billion.
- T-Mobile/One2One in relation to the inquiry by Oftel and the Competition Commission into the charges made by UK mobile operators for call termination.
- National Grid on the replacement of its electricity operational telecommunications (OpTel) assets.
- The World Bank in relation to reform of the Lebanese telecommunications law, including drafting the new Law and Decrees in English and in French.
- KPNQwest on the rollout of its pan-European network (including property, IT procurement and issues relating to co-ordination with other operators) and drafting sales contracts for sale of fibre, capacity and services on the network.
- The Communications and Information Technology Commission, the Saudi Arabian telecommunications regulator, on the successful auction of a second GSM licence and, separately, of voice and data licences for a global consideration of $3.5 billion.
- The Office of the Telecommunications Authority in Hong Kong on the 3G licensing process.
- The Jordan Telecommunications Regulatory Commission on the implementation of a new licensing/regulatory system.
- FMC (USA) on the purchase of the alginates business of International Specialty Products (USA). The OFT decided not to refer the matter to the Competition Commission for further investigation. This was a first of its kind in this scenario and is likely to be a leading case reference by the OFT in years to come.