Name: Fiona N. Magona
Firm Name: MMAKS Advocates
Country: Uganda
Expertise: Private Equity Law

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Professional Biography:

Fiona is a Partner in the corporate team at MMAKS Advocates. She has previously worked with leading firms in Johannesburg and Kampala.

Fiona specialises in corporate mergers and acquisitions, private equity, mining, energy and natural resources, projects and infrastructure and general corporate commercial and regulatory advisory.

She has highly commendable skills and a wealth of experience in both local and multi-jurisdictional mergers and acquisitions cutting across sectors like telecom, insurance, banking, mining and energy.

She routinely handles legal due diligences, advises on corporate transactional structuring, negotiates local and cross border transactional agreements, commercial operational agreements, in addition to having an impressive knowledge of the local regulatory framework for advice on compliance issues, licensing regimes, and issues affecting local and foreign investors. Some examples of these transactions are listed further below.

Fiona holds a LLM in commercial law from the University of Birmingham, and has previously served a six months placement at mining giant and former FTSE 100 mining company, Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (Johannesburg). She has recently returned from a placement with Slaughter and May in London.

She is a Rotarian, a wife and mother.

Membership In Professional Societies:

– Committee Member, Professional Development Committee, Uganda Law Society (ULS)
– Committee Member, Female Lawyers Committee, Uganda Law Society (ULS)
– Uganda Law Society (ULS)
– East Africa Law Society (EALS)

Professional Qualifications:

– M (Commercial Law), Birmingham University, England
– Diploma in Legal Practice (Bar Course), Law Development Centre, Kampala
– B (Hons.), Makerere University, Uganda

Career Summary:

– 2017 > Present Partner, MMAKS Advocates
– 2013 > 2016 Senior Associate, MMAKS Advocates
– 2008 > 2012 Senior Associate, Bowman Gilfillan Attorneys, Johannesburg
– 2004 > 2007 Associate, A F Mpanga Advocates
– 2003 > 2004 Clerkship, Kasirye Byaruhanga & Co Advocates

Areas Of Expertise:

– Corporate Mergers and Acquisitions
– Private Equity
– Mining and Energy
– Projects and Infrastructure
– Corporate and Regulatory Advisory

Top Matters:

– Advising a Private Equity fund based in the UK, on its proposed acquisition (through an SPV incorporated by it) of shares in Bujagali Holding Power Company Limited (BHPCL), which is a shareholder in Bujagali Energy Limited (BEL). The transaction involved conducting a comprehensive legal due diligence on the operations and existing contractual status of both BHPCL and BEL with the Government of Uganda, completing detailed regulatory questionnaires on foreign investment and hydro power regulation in Uganda, and reviewing and commenting on the transaction agreements from a Ugandan law perspective;
– Currently advising a government agency on the regulatory framework applicable to a proposed Public Private Partnership for the construction of a highway in Kampala, funded by the IFC. Our advice covers a cross section of regulatory issues including but not limited to procurement of contracts with the government, environment matters, employment and immigration matters, finance and tax, etc;
– Advising a leading communications company in Uganda, on the proposed acquisition of a majority stake by Dentsu Aegis Network, a multinational media and digital marketing communications company headquartered in London. The transaction involved advising on the structure of the transaction, negotiating the Letter of Intent, assisting with a comprehensive legal due diligence on the target’s operations, and reviewing and negotiating the transaction agreements.
– Advising (as local counsel), a Middle Eastern Private Equity investor on a potential acquisition of a stake in a prominent hydro power project in Uganda. The advice involves corporate governance and compliance issues, regulatory permits, environmental compliance, employment laws, property laws, insurance, etc);
– Advising a leading gaming company in Europe, on its proposed acquisition (through an SPV) of majority shares in an entity holding the national lottery business in Uganda. The transaction involved conducting a comprehensive legal due diligence on the operations and existing contractual status of the target company, advising on the regulatory environment for lottery, gaming and betting services in Uganda, and drafting and negotiating the transaction agreements;
– Advising a Swiss mining company on the acquisition of a majority stake in a mining company in Uganda valued at approx. USD 100,000,000;
– Advising on the acquisition of a telecommunications operator in Uganda valued at USD 100,000,000;
– Acting as local counsel in the verification of an acquisition of a stake in a Ugandan hotel by an SPV in Uganda wholly owned by a private equity fund based in the Isle of Man;
– Advising a foreign based aerospace defence company on setting up business in Uganda, as a government defence contractor in the aviation and aerospace activity sector. This involved advice on the best suited corporate structure, the regulatory environment relevant to the activities proposed by client (including but not limited to entering into contracts with government, employment laws, property laws, aviation laws, immigration, tax, etc);
– Advising on the legalities of a profit sharing business structure involving various entities in Uganda, Dubai and South Africa;
– Advising on a share purchase by a company based in the British Virgin Islands, of a majority stake in a Ugandan Company;
– Advising on a joint venture business structure between a local company and a Chinese company jointly bidding for contracts awarded by the government of Uganda;
– Drafting commercial, operational and service agreements for local financial institutions e.g Diamond Trust Bank, Crane Bank for mobile money solutions, ATM Cash dispensing, security vetting, etc…
– Drafting various opinions to both local and foreign clients on various regulatory issues including and not limited to setting up business in Uganda, the investment regulatory regime in Uganda, the regulation of aviation, unmanned ballons, telecommunications, prepaid cards issued by non-financial institutions businesses, the regulation of mobile money payments in Uganda, the regulation of lottery, gaming and betting activities in Uganda (including tax implications), etc…

Other Transactions:

– Asset purchase by Eaton Towers Holdings LLC of towers from Orange Uganda;
– MMC UK Group’s acquisition of Alexander Forbes subsidiaries across Africa;
– Sale by Barclays Bank of its custody business across Africa, to Standard Chartered; and
– Proposed Bharti Airtel acquisition of a stake in MTN South Africa.