The Legal 500

Webber Wentzel

Work +27 11 530 5000
Fax +27 11 530 5111
Johannesburg, Cape Town

South Africa

Top-tier recommendations


South Africa

Within Banking and finance, Webber Wentzel is a first tier firm,

Webber Wentzel has successfully developed from a borrower-oriented practice to one that is now primarily driven by lenders. The team has made exceptional progress over the past five years with much credit going to the highly reputed Johan de Lange, and Karen Couzyn has made an impression in debt capital markets (DCM) and structured transactions. Acquisition and leveraged finance, refinancings and asset finance are all key components of the practice. The firm represented Woolworths on the acquisition financing of its purchase of David Jones. Scott Edmundson is a market leader in asset finance and Kathy Shepherd is ‘excellent’, ‘thorough’ and ‘practical’.

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Within Competition, Webber Wentzel is a first tier firm,

Webber Wentzel’s merger control practice regularly works on international and pan-Africa transactions, as well as private equity deals. It recently advised on Holcim’s multi-jurisdictional acquisition of Lafarge. Sector investigations and market inquiries, including one in the automotive industry, have also been features of the department’s workload. Martin Versfeld, Robert Wilson, Lesley Morphet, Desmond Rudman, Daryl Dingley and Janine Simpson constitute a formidable senior bench.

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Within Construction, Webber Wentzel is a second tier firm,

Webber Wentzel’s team includes Robert Appelbaum and Andrew van Niekerk. The employer-oriented practice represents a number of mining giants and is active in matters across Africa. Seasoned consultant Dairmuid Short is ‘an absolute specialist’ in litigation and arbitration, who is a very influential figure in the market.

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Within Corporate and M&A, Webber Wentzel is a first tier firm,

Webber Wentzel is especially active in key sectors such as agriculture, retail, telecoms and financial services. The firm is also known for insurance M&A. It is a leader in private equity, representing most of the big investors in South Africa and across the continent. The firm represented South African retailer Woolworths in its landmark $2bn acquisition of David Jones in Australia. Christo Els, private equity leader John Bellew, Johannes Gouws (‘a good commercial lawyer’ who ‘always gets a good outcome for his clients’), Sally Hutton, Johan Brink, Angela Simpson and Colin du Toit are highly respected. The firm strengthened the team in May 2015 when it recruited Huneiza Goolam and leading individual Gareth Driver from Werksmans Attorneys, as well as Adam Ismail from ENSafrica.

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Within Dispute resolution, Webber Wentzel is a second tier firm,

Historically, Webber Wentzel has been strong in the mining sector and is noted for its presence in business rescue cases, procurement disputes and class actions. The firm represented Anglo American in the headline silicosis class action. The diversified practice features several senior practitioners including Stuart McCafferty, Nick Alp and the ‘very experiencedTrevor Versfeld. Lara Kahn is the key name in business rescue cases, while insurance specialist Daniël Le Roux left to launch Clyde & Co’s South Africa operation.

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Within Intellectual property, Webber Wentzel is a second tier firm,

Webber Wentzel’s potent commercial practice has experienced notable growth in IP prosecution. The team is branching into work across Africa and represents various multinationals as well as several private equity clients making investments into technology businesses. The firm recently represented Walmart in a trade mark opposition by Stellenbosch. Bernadette Versfeld and Leanne Mostert lead the team.

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Within Investment funds, Webber Wentzel is a first tier firm,

For many, Webber Wentzel is the ‘market-leading private equity fund legal adviser’. Nicole Paige and John Bellew are immensely prominent figures, the latter covering both upstream and downstream work. The department is also developing its presence across Africa. It recently advised the sponsors on the establishment of Takura Capital Fund II, a Zimbabwe-focused fund.

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Within Labour and employment, Webber Wentzel is a second tier firm,

Webber Wentzel’s broad expertise ranges from collective bargaining and strikes through to executive terminations. The firm has a growing employee benefits and pensions component, and is well known in the health and safety sector. Seasoned mining sector specialist Johan Olivier has played a key role in strike actions in the gold mining sector. Other experienced figures include Nick Robb and data protection expert Pamela Stein.

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Within Mining, Webber Wentzel is a first tier firm,

Webber Wentzel is increasingly active throughout Africa, working alongside alliance partner Linklaters LLP. Its deep bench of experienced practitioners has years of industry experience; key figures include the ‘extremely knowledgeableManus Booysen, regulatory specialist Peter Leon and mining M&A expert Bruce Dickinson. Rita Spalding is also commended for her mining law knowledge, and employment specialist Johan Olivier is a market leader in mining sector strikes and collective bargaining.

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Within Projects and infrastructure, Webber Wentzel is a first tier firm,

Webber Wentzel’s outstanding practice represents government and public sector bodies as well as a range of other sponsors and lenders on major projects, and has advised on a range of projects in sub-Saharan Africa. Brigette Baillie represented the government in connection with the ongoing renewable energy programme and advises numerous private sector clients. The ‘astute’ and ‘professionalKarel Potgieter and Jason van der Poel are known for their representation of private sector sponsors, but are also recommended by lenders for their knowledge and capabilities.

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Within Real estate, Webber Wentzel is a second tier firm,

Webber Wentzel’s real estate practice represents a large number of clients in the mining sector. The hospitality industry is another strong area for the practice. Mark McIntosh is the key partner.

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Within Shipping and transport, Webber Wentzel is a first tier firm,

Aviation and rail feature strongly within Webber Wentzel’s broad transportation practice, which represents South African freight logistics chain Transnet on a regular basis. Scott Edmundson has unrivalled experience in rail and rolling stock. The ‘user-friendly’ shipping practice provides ‘clear and concise advice’ and is the ‘first choice for South African maritime matters’. Highlights included handling a number of recent major casualty matters. Gavin Fitzmaurice has ‘in-depth knowledge’ and is ‘easy to work with’. Andre Bowley and Patrick Holloway are also respected shipping practitioners.

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Within Tax, Webber Wentzel is a first tier firm,

Webber Wentzel has market-leading expertise in M&A, international tax and dispute resolution, and recently hired Elandre Brandt from PricewaterhouseCoopers to reinforce its position in international taxation. The team advised Woolworths on its acquisition of David Jones in Australia and handled a series of substantial private equity transactions. Key senior figures include the ‘technically very goodAnne Bennett, ‘top guyMichael Honiball, Mark Linington, and tax disputes specialist Nina Keyser.

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Further information on Webber Wentzel

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