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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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Nigeria > Commercial, corporate and M&A > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Commercial, corporate and M&A
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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The AELEX team is, according to one client, ‘always available, responsive, trustworthy and able to face tight schedules’. Department head Theophilus Emuwa, who is ‘approachable, knowledgeable and practical’, is handling Coca-Cola’s acquisition of a 40% stake in CHI, a leading producer of juice and value-added dairy brands in Nigeria. Transactional experts Lawrence Fubara Anga and Olusina Sipasi are key members of the team, as is energy and environment team head Soji Awogbade. Chinyerugo Ugoji and senior associate Ngozi Udokwu are also highly regarded.

Aluko & Oyebode’s ‘efficient’ team ‘demonstrates good practical legal and industry knowledge’. Group head Olubunmi Fayokun led on multiple market-leading transactions, including ExxonMobil’s sale of its 60% stake in Mobil Oil Nigeria, and Access Bank’s divestment of its 18% shareholding in Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers; senior associates Jennifer Martins-Okundia and Unekuojo Idachaba provided support. A team led by Ayodeji Oyetunde and Gbenga Oyebode acted for a consortium of leading private equity firms on its $80m acquisition of a stake in Beloxxi Industries. Oghogho Makinde leads the business advisory team; he acted for a market-leading European laboratory services company on its acquisition of a majority stake in a pathology laboratory company. Sumbo Akintola heads the firm’s TMT practice.

Banwo & Ighodalo is ‘a respected voice in the industry’; it is recognised for providing ‘bespoke, expert support from deals to regulatory compliance reviews’. ‘Very astute’ name partner Asue Ighodalo and ‘passionate, meticulous, tough negotiator’ Azeezah Muse-Sadiq together handled GlaxoSmithKline’s sale and divestment of its drinks business to Suntory Beverage & Food Nigeria, while Ighodalo and ‘very good, diligent lawyerAyotunde Owoigbe advised Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria on the divestment of its share capital and on its sale of Keystone Bank. Owoigbe and Stella Duru also advised Helios Investments on its acquisition of 49% of Oando’s interest in Oando Gas and Power. Femi Olubanwo, senior counsel Isa Alade and senior associate Tomisin Ojuawo, who is ‘a rising star in corporate and commercial law’, are recommended.

Olumide Akpata heads Templars’ corporate and commercial group, and has over two decades of experience in company formation, corporate governance and compliance, M&A and corporate restructuring. Finance team head Chike Obianwu handled Helios Towers’ $223m sale of a group company to IHS Holdings. The firm has a strong track record in regulatory compliance work, assisting clients including Etihad, Google, Halliburton and General Electric.

Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie regularly handles M&A, corporate restructurings and joint ventures. Senior partner Myma Belo-Osagie’s areas of specialisation include corporate restructuring, acquisitions, equity finance and infrastructure projects. Managing partner Daniel Agbor advised an African Capital Alliance-led consortium on its acquisition of a majority stake in one of Nigeria’s oldest banks; fund establishment is another strength of his. Folake Elias-Adebowale is a private equity specialist, and led advice to SABMiller on its disposal of interests in Voltic to Coca-Cola. Telecoms expert Jumoke Lambo, Nicholas Okafor and Ozofu Ogiemudia are also recommended.

Abdulai, Taiwo & Co handled Procter & Gamble’s sale and hive-off of a Vicks plant and associated business assets to Elixir Global Manufacturing Food, and conducted legal due diligence for Siat Nigeria relating to a concurrency buy-out of all shares in Ayip Eku Oil Palm. The water, leisure, power and transport sectors are key sources of instruction for the practice. Other clients include Procter & Gamble, Southern Sun Ikoyi Hotel and Abuja Electricity Distribution. Ladi Taiwo heads the corporate and commercial department; Alayo Ogunbiyi is also recommended.

Bloomfield Law Practice is recommended for its ‘simple methods and solutions to complex deals’, with one client noting its ‘top-notch approach to deal structuring and execution’. ‘Thorough, professional’ practice head Adedoyin Afun led advice to Sea Trucks Group on its corporate restructuring and the Nigerian law aspects of its issuance of a $575m senior secured bond, which was issued under Norwegian law. Ayodele Oni, who is noted for his ‘deep analytical ability’, provides ongoing legal and regulatory support to Lagos Business School and to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for its digital financial services research programme.

G. Elias & Co advises on innovative M&A, capital reorganisations, spin-offs, liquidations and share capital reductions. Highlights included advising Anheuser-Busch InBev on Nigerian competition matters and securities regulatory issues concerning its worldwide acquisition of SABMiller, and acting for Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria on its proposed sale of the now-bankrupt Aero Contractors. ‘Excellent attorney’ Gbolahan Elias is ‘incredibly pragmatic and knowledgeable’; managing partner Fred Onuobia is ‘an ideal partner for negotiating and documenting commercial transactions’. Fidelis Adewole is also recommended.

The practice at Jackson, Etti & Edu regularly advises on complex M&A and private equity transactions, acting for leading private equity firms such as ACA, Actis, Helios and Synergy on several investment mandates. Corporate and commercial head Folasade Olusanya advised CDC Group on its $65m purchase of an 18% stake in Zambeef Products. Managing partner Koye Edu is also recommended.

Olaniwun Ajayi LP’s practice advises on ground-breaking M&A, in particular across the banking, finance, consumer goods and fintech sectors. Yimika Phillips, who specialises in corporate and regulatory matters, recently advised Yulong Steel Pipe (Lekki) Investment FZE on regulatory compliance matters in connection with Nigeria’s steel and mining industry as part of plans to form a Chinese steel company in the free trade zone.

Adepetun, Caxton-Martins, Agbor & Segun advises on a range of corporate matters including M&A, joint ventures, corporate restructurings and company incorporation and establishment. Team sector specialisations include real estate, foreign investment, telecoms, transport and infrastructure. Afolabi Caxton-Martins and Benedict Unaegbunam are the key figures.

The ‘commercial, professional and friendly’ team at Advocaat Law Practice has ‘deep knowledge of the legal environment and a thorough understanding of the market’. It is particularly active in transactions involving the oil, gas, power and mining industries. The ‘practical and technically excellent’ Ola Alokolaro provides ongoing advice to the Saro Group of Companies, and as local counsel assisted the Rosetti Marino Group, alongside Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP, with performing due diligence on two African companies.

Odujinrin & Adefulu recently acted as co-transaction counsel to Lafarge on the voluntary takeover of AshakaCem, and advised Organic Western Livestock Farm on its corporate restructuring. Damilola Adetunji is the key figure.

Sefton Fross has particular expertise in corporate and M&A work in the oil and gas sector. The ‘extremely knowledgeableOlayemi Anyanechi leads the ‘deep, broad’ team, and has ‘a knack for meeting tight deadlines while remaining pleasant and polite’; clients remark that it is ‘a struggle to identify areas in which she is not good’. Anyanechi’s team handled the acquisition of an 80% stake in Calabar Power Generation, and advised Emerging Markets Communications on obtaining an ISP licence from the Nigerian Communications Commission.

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