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’s ‘excellent finance department’ is ‘pragmatic’, pays ‘good attention to detail’ and provides ‘good turnaround times’. Johan de Lange is ‘proactive’ and ‘engaging’, and has ‘strong negotiating powers’. He recently represented the banks in connection with the headline refinancing of AfriSam. Johann Scholtz is widely praised for his regulatory expertise, and advised Absa Group in connection with the regulatory aspects of its acquisition of nine African subsidiaries from Barclays Bank. Karen Couzyn is recommended for debt capital markets (DCM) matters. Andrew van Niekerk joined from ENSafrica.

[back to top]

Within Competition, Webber Wentzel is a first tier firm,

Webber Wentzel is highlighted for its abilities on pan-African matters and COMESA filings. It recently advised Unilever on the sale of its Mrs HS Ball chutney range to Tiger Brands. Highly rated practitioners include Martin Versfeld, who is ‘proactive’, ‘hardworking’ and ‘a person you can trust’. Robert Wilson is ‘approachable’, ‘responsive’ and ‘knowledgeable’, and Lesley Morphet, Desmond Rudman and Daryl Dingley are all recommended.

[back to top]

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

Webber Wentzel entered into an alliance with global firm Linklaters LLP in 2013. The two firms combined to advise Absa on its R18.33bn acquisition of Barclays’ African operations in nine jurisdictions. The firm is also a leader in private equity transactions, as illustrated by its representation of Actis on its R937m acquisition of Paycorp. Christo Els is ‘business savvy’, ‘deals with issues authoritatively’, and has ‘excellent relationships with banks and the stock exchange’. Private equity expert John Bellew, the ‘highly ratedJohannes Gouws, Sally Hutton, Sarah Adcock, and ‘very competent M&A lawyerColin du Toit are also recommended, as is Bruce Dickinson for mining transactions. Johan Brink joined from Brink Falcon Hume Inc, which is now called Falcon and Hume Inc.

[back to top]

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

Webber Wentzel has a broad practice with exceptional strength in the mining sector, and financial services; media and telecoms are also key industries for the department. The firm was engaged by MTN Group in connection with a $4bn dispute with Turkcell. It is also defending a mining company in a series of class actions. Stuart McCafferty, Nick Alp and Trevor Versfeld are three of the senior members of the team. Daniël Le Roux and David Scholtz are also recognised names, and Lara Kahn is recommended for business rescue work.

[back to top]

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

Webber Wentzel is primarily known for commercial and transactional IP, but its contentious practice is active in prosecution matters in the wider African region. With the firm’s alliance with Linklaters LLP, the team is further capitalising on the global focus on Africa, particularly in relation to trade mark registration and prosecution, and the anti-counterfeiting practice is also growing. In 2013, the team advised Unilever on the IP aspects of its sale of Mrs HS Balls to Tiger Brands. Bernadette Versfeld and Leanne Mostert are the lead partners in the team.

[back to top]

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

Webber Wentzel has first-mover advantage in the private equity sector. Senior figure John Bellew was the first practitioner in the market to specialise in upstream and downstream private equity, while Nicole Paige is a dedicated upstream private equity specialist. Much of the practice now centres on the wider African region, primarily for GPs. The team recently advised the sponsors on the establishment of Ethos Private Equity Fund VI.

[back to top]

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

Webber Wentzel’s growing department has seen a greater flow of mining and manufacturing sector instructions, particularly in relation to strike actions. Johan Olivier is particularly well known for mining sector work, and recently advised Harmony Gold Mining Company in connection with the temporary closure and restructuring of its Kusasalethu deep-level gold mine. The firm is also a leader in transactional matters and in the hire and dismissal of senior executives. Nick Robb, Claire Gaul and Pamela Stein are the other key partners.

[back to top]

Within Mining, Webber Wentzel is a first tier firm,

Webber Wentzel has a huge team in South Africa and across the continent and, thanks to its alliance with Linklaters LLP, now has an outstanding global network. With dedicated teams of mining M&A and regulatory experts, it has been active in numerous African jurisdictions and this has more than made up for the downturn in M&A transactions and mining matters in South Africa. A team led by the outstanding Manus Booysen recently advised Eskom on a coal supply and off-take agreement for the supply of coal to the Medupi Power Station. Leading transactions expert Bruce Dickinson and eminent regulatory specialist Peter Leon complete the senior team.

[back to top]

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

Webber Wentzel has an outstanding presence in the projects arena, with much credit going to senior name Brigette Baillie, and clients also singling out Karel Potgieter and Jason van der Poel. The team acted for the sponsors on the Dorper wind farm project, and advised Eskom on the procurement and development of its 100MW CSP-1 central receiver demonstration plant in Upington.

[back to top]

Within Real estate and construction, Webber Wentzel is a first tier firm,

The ‘superbWebber Wentzel has expanded its commercial property practice with matters outside of South Africa. Mark McIntosh is recommended for real estate work. On the construction side, the firm is advising a number of major EPC contractors on significant projects. The ‘excellentDairmuid Short is now a consultant, though partners Robert Appelbaum and Alessandra Pardini are also recognised names.

[back to top]

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

Webber Wentzel has an extensive shipping and transport practice. It continues to be involved in major casualties, charterparty disputes, arrests and ship financings, but the practice also extends to aviation, road and rail, including matters relating to the bus rapid transit system. In shipping, Gavin Fitzmaurice is ‘experienced’, ‘knowledgeable’ and ‘gets straight to the point’. Patrick Holloway ‘reacts quickly’ and delivers ‘sound tactical advice’, and Arthur James is also recommended.

[back to top]

Within Tax, Webber Wentzel is a second tier firm,

Webber Wentzel’s broad tax practice has an expanding contentious component, with Nina Keyser to the fore, although M&A-related work remains the team’s core business alongside international tax matters for multinationals. The firm recently represented private equity house Actis during its acquisition of Paycorp. Mark Linington is ‘very strong’ on tax structuring, and the ‘very goodMichael Honiball is well known for international tax work, as is Anne Bennett, who has ‘excellent technical knowledge’.

[back to top]

Further information on Webber Wentzel

Please choose from this list to view details of what we say about Webber Wentzel in other jurisdictions.

Legal Developments in South Africa

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to