Key legal and regulatory developments driving and shaping M&A
Over recent years we have seen infrastructure funds begin to focus on digital infrastructure as a distinct asset class, increasingly diversifying and specializing in fiber/broadband investments, data centers and other cable/satellite opportunities.
Accelerated by the global pandemic, this trend has been brought sharply into focus and is expected to increase due to the growth of smart, sustainable cities; the shift towards remote working; increased connectivity; and the digitization of company operations, e.g. supply chains.
Our Digital Infrastructure practice comprises an integrated and global team of lawyers across key practice areas including Corporate, Banking, Projects, Data Protection, Competition and Real Estate, who advise investors, operators, developers and service providers active in this space.
Digital infrastructure including telecoms towers, broadband fiber networks and data centers is one of the most critical, dynamic and rapidly growing sectors in the contemporary infrastructure sphere.
Data centre and digital infrastructure M&A deals closing in 2020 set a new record of $34.9 billion globally, eclipsing the previous 2017 record of $24.8 billion.
Over recent years there has been a growing focus from infrastructure funds and other investors on digital infrastructure as a distinct asset class, which has in turn lead banks and other financial institutions to follow suit.
On April 21, the EU Commission is expected to adopt a proposal for a regulation (the AI Regulation) of “artificial intelligence systems” (AI systems), imposing new obligations that will impact businesses across many, if not all, sectors of the economy. The AI Regulation is ambitious and will prove controversial, touching off a legislative battle lasting at least until 2022.
On 10 February 2021, some years after the first draft was proposed, the Council of the EU’s Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) finally adopted an agreed position on the ePrivacy Regulation, allowing the legislation to progress to the next stage of negotiation, namely the trilogue between the Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission.
The dramatic and unpredictable events of 2020 have fuelled the growth of digital infrastructure development and investment in the Asia-Pacific region and we expect that opportunities will continue to abound for operators and investors alike.
In October 2020, the European Commission was given the new power to screen all Foreign Direct Investment into the EU under Regulation 2019/452. Jay Modrall discusses this new regulation and its impact on digital infrastructure stakeholders.
Data protection is an essential consideration when selecting an appropriate location to build a data centre.
Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has advised French Telecoms operator Orange S.A. (Orange) on the EUR 268m acquisition of a controlling stake in fixed operator Telekom Romania Communications by Orange Romania.
In this issue, we cover a broad spectrum of ‘hot button issues’ for boards and companies operating internationally.
© Norton Rose Fulbright LLP 2021