Trusted counsel to the country’s leading business figures, Karl is a natural dealmaker whose commercial insight is indispensable when complex transactions demand a deft touch
Karl Tabbakh is the Regional Managing Partner for Québec, Co-Leader of the Firm’s International & Business Strategy and a member of McCarthy Tétrault’s Senior Leadership Team. A professional with deep business acumen, extensive global experience, and exceptional relationship-building skills, Karl is committed to delivering business solutions and results for clients.
Focused on providing clients with an understanding of both legal and business implications during major decisions, Karl is often brought in at the outset of transactions by the senior management of both strategic acquirers and financial sponsors to assist in the initial structuring and strategy around transactions and capital deployment.
- Corporate lawyer and strategic advisor with over 20 years of experience in structuring, negotiating, executing and closing critical business transactions in Québec and around the world.
- Focused on private equity, mergers and acquisitions, securities and capital markets.
- Respected advisor for strategic and complex cross-border transactions (both in-bound and out-bound)
- Negotiating and structuring leader and contributor of some of the highest profile and strategically critical transactions in Canada, the Middle East and globally.
Most recent relevant advising experience:
- Eddyfi/NDT in connection with the US$350 million acquisition of US based Zetec, a subsidiary of Roper Technologies.
- Eddyfi/NDT in connection with the acquisition of NDT Global and concurrent $600 million financing by CDPQ, Novacap, National Bank and Investissement Québec. This was a transformational transaction involving over 15 international jurisdictions and the coordination of a team of over 100 legal advisers.
- Quebec-based Hewitt Equipments in connection with the $1.1 billion sale of its business to TSX listed Toromont Industries.
- Eddyfi/NDT in connection with several Canadian and foreign acquisitions including: the acquisition of Norway based Halfwave; acquisition of UK based Senceive; acquisition of Canadian based Dynamic Risk as well as concurrent acquisition finance by Novacap, CDPQ, along with National Bank of Canada and Investissement Québec.
- Clearspring Capital in connection with the acquisition of Regal Confections, a leader in in confectionery and premium chocolate products in Canada.
- Regal Confections in connection with subsequent strategic acquisitions of Tosuta International as well the acquisition of Kisko Products
- Optimum Talent, one of Canada’s largest privately-owned integrated talent management firms, in connection with its sale to US global firm Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.
- Clearspring Capital Partners in connection with its investment in Telecon Inc. leading a $70 million equity financing in Telecon Inc.
- Eddyfi Technologies in connection with its growth strategy, including the acquisitions of UK based TSC Inspection Systems, a leader in the field of electromagnetic testing technologies and subsequent acquisition of the Teletest Products business and technology from Plant Integrity Ltd., a UK-based, wholly-owned subsidiary of The Welding Institute.
- Middle East-based sovereign wealth fund in connection with several Canadian investments and acquisitions.
- Walter Capital Partners in connection with the acquisition of a majority interest in Plasticase Inc. and the acquisition by way of going private of TSX-V listed Ergoresearch Ltd.
- Rio Tinto plc in connection with its US$38.1 billion recommended take-over bid of Alcan Inc. This was the largest take-over to close in Canadian history.
- US-based Mesirow Financial in connection with a strategic joint venture with sovereign wealth fund Mubadala to create a regional investment advisory company with global capabilities to focus on currency and commodity risk management.
- US-based Advanced Micro Devices Inc. in connection with the $5.5 billion take-over of ATI Technologies Inc.
Professional and personal achievements
In addition to his legal expertise, Karl brings a unique investor and business experience to our clients. In 2012, he co-founded a venture capital and private equity firm in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Prior to that, Karl was a partner within the world’s largest law firm which he joined in 2008 to start up their Abu Dhabi office and head its corporate practice.
Karl spent seven years in the Middle East and was Chairman of the Canadian Business Council in Abu Dhabi where he developed strong understanding of the Middle East markets and solid connections in the UAE business community. Previous to that, he was a partner in McCarthy Tétrault’s Business Law Group, where he had started his career in 1995. He worked in the Montréal, Toronto and London, UK offices until 2008 and, upon his return to Canada in 2016, he rejoined the firm.
Karl is a regular speaker and commentator in the financial press. Active advocate and leader in the business community, he was named Chair of Invest in Canada in September 2022. He has been sitting on the Board of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce since 2017, and acted as Chair from 2021-2022. He was also on the Board of directors of the Canada Arab Business Council.
Karl is active in the philanthropic world and supports many non-profit and community service organizations, including as member of the Centraide/United Way campaign, director of the National Circus School and Foundation and co-president of the Filleactive Father/Daughter Charity Ball.
Born in Syria, Karl immigrated with his parents to Canada at age 10 where he learned to speak English and French, in addition to his Arabic mother tongue. He received his LLB from Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto, in 1997 after completing his BCL at the Université de Montréal in 1996. He also obtained a B.Comm. from Université Laval in Québec City.
Canadian Lawyer's Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in Canada
Band 5: Corporate/Commercial - Quebec
The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory
Consistently Recommended - Corporate Commercial Law
The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory
Repeatedly Recommended - Mergers & Acquisitions; Private Equity
Lexpert Special Edition: Finance and M&A
Best Lawyers in Canada
Leading Lawyer - Mergers and Acquisitions Law; Securities Law
The Legal 500 Canada
Leading Individual and Recommended - International Expertise
IFLR 1000 Guide to the World's Leading Financial Law Firms
Notable Practitioner - Mergers and Acquisitions; Capital Markets: Equity; Private Equity