The 'full-service' M&A team at Bowmans handles significant transactions across the continent, especially regarding public M&A mandates. It also has an established private equity practice, advising private equity houses and limited partners; John Bellew has particular expertise in this area. Charles Douglas and Tholinhlanhla Gcabashe co-lead the department and chairman of the corporate team, Ezra Davids , has strength in capital markets. Corporate lawyer Ashleigh Hale is active in BEE transactions, as well as deals the in financial services and TMT sectors across sub-Saharan Africa.
Commercial, corporate and M&A in South Africa
‘The full-service team is technically very sound with all bases and specialisms covered.’
‘Commercial advice and great value.’
Nueva Inversiones Pacifico Sur Limitada
South African Breweries and Anheuser-Busch InBev
Mr Price Group
Sommet Education Sarl
CNH Industrial SA
Trinitas Private Equity
Harmony Gold Mining Company
Digital Currency Group
Weir Minerals Africa
AfriSam SA Limited
ABB Asea Brown Boveri
T-Systems International GmbH
Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa
- Acted for Linde Plc in a take-private of a target entity already majority held by the acquirer.
- Acted for Ab InBev in relation to the SAB and AB InBev on the unwinding of the current SAB B-BBEE transaction, SAB Zenzele, and the implementation of the new B-BEE transaction, SAB Zenzele Kabili.
- Advised Trinitas Private Equity in their indirect acquisition of the Avroy Shlain businesses in South Africa, Botswana and eSwatini.
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is skilled in high-end corporate M&A transactions, providing due diligence, regulatory compliance and corporate governance advice to clients on domestic and cross-border matters. BEE and private equity transactions are further areas of focus for the team. M&A expert Willem Jacobs is head of the department, which contains numerous senior and experienced lawyers, including private equity specialist David Pinnock and ‘outstanding lawyer‘ Roux van der Merwe , who is praised by clients for his ‘expert knowledge.’ Justine Krige has a focus on the hospitality, leisure and tourism industries. Ian Hayes and director Brian Jennings rejoined the team in March 2021 from ENSafrica. Giada Masina and Lilia Franca joined Webber Wentzel in January 2021, with Ayanda Mhlongo moving to the same firm in January 2022.
Other key lawyers:
‘The quality of work is very solid. The team is experienced in not just legal, but also commercial advisory issues. It is well connected with local firms in the region such that they take consideration of the need and incorporate the costs.’
‘The team has excellent technical-legal expertise and pays close attention to detail to ensure all aspects of the transaction are carefully considered and addressed properly.’
‘Roux van der Merwe is an outstanding lawyer but in addition to his expert knowledge he exudes a calm, measured, thoughtful approach and this is appreciated and respected by his own team colleagues as well as colleagues representing other parties.’
‘Tamarin Tosen is intelligent and a hard worker.’
‘Willem Jacobs gives practical and concise advice.’
‘David Thompson is the stand-out individual and brings a wealth of experience, a strong commercial acumen and huge attention to detail.’
‘Ayanda Mhlongo is sharp, flexible and responds promptly.’
‘Working with Roelof Bonnet, you feel confident that he will deliver a timely and comprehensive solution to the matter at hand. Being able to contact him at any time makes you feel regarded as a valued client.’
Weiss Asset Management LP
A.P. Moller Capital
Mettle Solar Investments
Denham Capital Management LP
UK Climate Investments
The SA SME Fund
African Rainbow Capital Investments
IDI Emerging Market Partners
Fedgroup Financial Services
King Price Financial Services
African Development Bank
Arcelormittal South Africa
Atlatsa Resources Corporation
Brimstone Investment Corporation
Burger King Holdings
Cap Gemini South Africa
Capitec Bank Holdings
City of Cape Town
Coronation Fund Managers
Dipula Income Fund
Dubai World Africa Services
Echo Polska Properties N.V.
Equites Property Fund
Fidelity Security Group
Harmony Gold Mining Company
IEP Portfolio 1
Liquid Telecommunications Group
Oppenheimer Partners Africa Advisors
Harmony Gold Mining Company
Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa
Pioneer Food Group
Premier Fishing & Brands
Protea Hospitality Holdings
Redefine Properties International
Reinet Investments SCA
Royal Bafokeng Nation Development Trust
Royal Dutch Shell
Sishen Iron Ore Company
South African Airways
South Suez Africa Fund
Sovereign Food Investments
South32 SA Coal Holdings
Standard Bank Group
Steinhoff International Holdings
Tiso Blackstar Group SE
Total South Africa
Tower Property Fund
WeWork South Africa
- Acted for Retailability and Metier Capital Growth Fund II on a bolt-on acquisition.
- Advising Grand Parade on the sale of all the shares it holds in Burger King South Africa, comprising 95.36% of the issued share capital of BKSA and all the shares it holds in Grand Foods Meat Plant, comprising 100% of the issued share capital of GFMP, to ECP Africa Fund IV LCC.
- Representing Capitalworks on the ZAR 4.6bn takeover bid by Capitalworks Atlanta GP of Peregrine Holdings, through two special purpose vehicles, together with the proposed delisting of Peregrine from the JSE and A2X.
ENSafrica‘s corporate and commercial department is noted as ‘the “go-to” firm for complex transactions and intricate legal issues’. It advises national and international clients on public company M&A transactions, private equity mandates and BEE matters, and its spread of offices across the continent places it in a good position to advise on multi-jurisdictional matters. Sector strengths of the team include finance, mining, pharmaceutical, retail, telecommunications, infrastructure, logistics and construction. The team is jointly chaired by Doron Joffe and Julius Oosthuizen in Johannesburg and Cape Town respectively. Koos Pretorius in Cape Town is skilled in hostile takeover and corporate restructurings, while private equity lawyer Lydia Shadrach-Razzino is also of note in Johannesburg. Michael Katz remains an active team member, while Ian Hayes and Brian Jennings joined Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr in March 2021.
Other key lawyers:
‘ENS has expertise in every field you can possibly imagine. They are quick to assist in every matter and always willing to be flexible with their fee structures. Lydia Shadrach-Razzino leads a stellar team that never disappoints.’
‘The ENS team is very strong, commercially minded but legally rigorous team. They are also wonderful colleagues and a pleasure to work with.’
‘Very responsive to client’s requirements with an ability to get to the important issues quickly. Focused attention to detail. An appreciation for and understanding of our business makes ENSafrica the “go-to” firm for complex transactions and intricate legal issues.’
‘Witness Makhubele is a very hardworking and knowledgeable commercial lawyer who seeks out practical solutions to intricate legal problems. Very client service oriented.’
‘Lydia Shadrach-Razzino and Carine Pick are always willing to go above and beyond what is required. Despite their busy schedules, they are instantly available and ensure that instructions are completed within very tight deadlines.’
‘Tony Lee is very commercial, approachable and very hands-on.’
The Foschini Group
Airports Company of South Africa
Aerospace Development Corporation
Sasol Chemicals USA LLC
Mineworkers Investment Company
Impala Platinum Limited
- Advised the Foschini Group on its acquisition of 325 Jet stores and 4800 employees across South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, eSwatini and Botswana.
- Advised Karooooo on its take-over by way of scheme of arrangement of Cartrak.
- Advising Sasol on the South African law aspects of the disposal of a 50% interest in Louisiana Integrated Polyethylene JV LLC to LyondellBasell LC Offtake LLC
Webber Wentzel acts on significant M&A transactions for private and public clients, as well as bidders, targets and financial advisors, across sub-Saharan Africa. Its offering is complemented by the firm’s other strong departments such as tax, banking and finance, and competition. Ziyanda Ntshona leads the department with substantial experience in M&A and equity capital markets in South Africa, alongside Sally Hutton, Christo Els and Jesse Watson. Gareth Driver is of note in the BEE space. Justin Roberts was promoted to partner, and Ayanda Mhlongo joined from Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr in January 2022, following Lilia Franca and Giada Masina who joined from the same firm in early 2021.
Other key lawyers:
Sally Hutton; Christo Els; Jesse Watson; Gareth Driver; Angela Simpson; Safiyya Patel ; Warren Drue; Colin Du Toit; Leslie de Bruyn; Bruce Dickinson; Mark Phillips; Annabel Parry; Madelein Burger; Alison Mills; Mlu Mahlangu; Justin Roberts; Ayanda Mhlongo
‘The team is incredibly responsive and solutions driven.’
‘The team was incredibly dedicated to ensuring the transaction was successful.’
Hollard Business Associates
Pioneer Food Group
Momentum Metropolitan Holdings
Welkom Yizani Investment
Anglo American PLC
Rand Merchant Bank
CDC Group Plc
The Carlyle Group
- Advising the Anglo Group in its internal reorganisation which comprised the separation of the Anglo Group’s South African thermal coal assets and business operations from the group’s remaining assets and the subsequent disposal of the Armstrong Assets.
- Advised Northam in relation to the acceleration of the maturity and wind-up of the empowerment transaction concluded between Northam and Zambezi Platinum and the acquisition by Northam Platinum Holdings of all the shares in Northam which are listed on the JSE and a new empowerment transaction.
- Advising each of the CSSAF Holdings I, IAPFEF JJ, the founder shareholders and management in their disposal of their entire interest in the J&J Group, comprising 100% of the issued share capital of Lift Logistics Holdco and 70% of the total issued share capital of Greendoor Group Proprietary Limited.
The South Africa team at DLA Piper is notably strong in advising financial institutions in their corporate activities, including M&A deals in that industry. Being a part of the firm’s global network enables it to perform both domestic and cross-border transactions. Peter Bradshaw leads the practice and advises clients in the FMCG, retail, food and beverages, hospitality and property sectors. South African managing partner Johannes Gouws handles high-profile domestic and cross border M&A. Director Andre Visser joined the team from Adams & Adams in 2021.
- Advising Allied Electronics Corporation on the disposal of its UK subsidiary, Bytes Technology Limited, to Bytes Technology Group plc.
- Advised Barloworld on its ZAR5.35bn acquisition of the Tongaat Hulett Starch business from Tongaat Hulett.
- Advising Shoprite Checkers Proprietary on its acquisition of 56 grocery stores, 43 liquor stores, 12 cash and carry stores and 4 distribution facilities from Massmart Holdings via a competitive auction process.
At Werksmans Attorneys, Kevin Trudgeon leads the commercial side of the department and Gerhard Johannes heads up the corporate and M&A practice. the team acts for both public and private clients across sectors such as mining, retail, telecommunications, banking and insurance in domestic and cross-border corporate mergers, private equity mandates, takeovers and restructurings. Its involvement in BEE transactions, environmental compliance and business rescue cases is also on the rise, and regulatory mandates are also within the team’s strong capabilities. David Gewer is especially strong in mining-related M&A matters.
Other key lawyers:
Arcelormittal South Africa
Berkshire Partners LLC
Blue Label Telecoms
Brother Industrial SA
Capitalworks Fund II SPV Partnership
Equity Partnership II
Endo International PLC
Kerry Group PLC
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation
Nissan South Africa
Steinhoff International Holdings
The Prepaid Company Proprietary Limited
- Advised the Independent Board of Peregrine on their response to a take-over offer.
- Advised Comair Limited in relation to the transaction contemplated by the business rescue plan which entails the acquisition of 99% of the shareholding in Comair by a consortium of investors.
- Acted for 4Racing in concluding a series of agreements with Phumelela Gaming and Leisure and various other members of the PGL group of companies, in terms of which, 4Racing will acquire from PGL the horse racing, media production and distribution of horse racing products and tote betting business conducted by PGL and certain fixed odds betting licences and immovable properties from other members of the PGL Group.
The South African corporate practice at White & Case LLP works alongside its US, UK and UAE offices, and its international network ‘equips it well to advise on complex multi-jurisdictional transactions’ . Listed and private companies form part of the team’s client roster, and it provides a transactional, regulatory and advisory offering.The department is chaired by Gary Felthun , who is ‘extremely well regarded in the market‘, and is active in M&A and private equity deals. Craig Atkinson is notable in cross-border transactions for listed companies.
‘W&C benefits from a broad international network which equips it well to advise on complex multi-jurisdictional transactions’
‘The W&C team with which I have been working show a high level of commercial awareness and a good understanding of the client’s primary objectives. They have also proved adept at managing some highly technical issues in Southern Africa requiring detailed knowledge of the local environment and requiring extreme attention to detail.’
‘The White & Case team that I have worked with are simply awesome. They are brilliant lawyers. They provide accurate and honest advice, inspire confidence in developing and executing transactions, deliver top-notch output, always seek to protect the client while being solutions orientated, and they are formidable negotiators.’
‘Gary Felthun is extremely well regarded in the market, with many clients and advisors recognising that he is the “best in the business”, and I echo that. He has vast and diverse industry and product experience, which enables him to identify, chart and execute transactions very effectively. He always seems to be ahead of (and on top of) all of the crucial issues, he has excellent tactical skills, and is a formidable negotiator.’
‘Associate Sandile Mathebula is hugely impressive. He is extremely smart and has excellent judgment. His output is of a very high quality. He is always on top of the detail, is extremely diligent in understanding and considering all aspects of the deal, and he did a seamless job of managing the daily activities required on the buy-side deal.’
‘Craig Atkinson is highly professional, very knowledgeable and very personable.’
‘In South Africa, Tanya Seitz deserves recognition for her exceptional attention to detail in managing a number of highly technical initiaitives.’
AngloGold Ashanti Limited
Alfa Financial Software Holdings plc
Amrod Corporate Solutions
Atterbury Europe Holding BV
Black Royalty Minerals
British United Provident Association plc
Eurochem Group AG
FNB Investor Services
GoldenTree Asset Management LP
International Finance Corporation
Pelagic Resources PTE
Rand Merchant Investment Holdings
Sedibelo Platinum Mines
The Carlyle Group
The People’s Fund
Universal Coal plc
Village Main Reef
- Represented Anchor Group with respect to its scheme of arrangement, which contemplated a repurchase of its shares from its shareholders and a subsequent delisting from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and A2X.
- Represented AngloGold Ashanti in relation to a transaction pursuant to which it agreed to dispose of various mining assets in South Africa to Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited for a purchase consideration of US$300m.
- Represented the Kiara Health Group in relation to a number of transactions including its acquisition of Novartis’ South African pharmaceutical manufacturing business.
Baker McKenzie Johannesburg
The corporate practice at Baker McKenzie Johannesburg has expertise across a wide range of sectors, including mining, finance, logistics, construction, retail and private equity. It is highly adept at acting for local clients regarding market entry acquisitions as well as BEE-related transactions. The team is also increasingly involved in strategic disposals, business rescue mandates, the dissolution of joint ventures and strategic restructurings across South Africa. Marc Yudaken and Mike Van Rensburg are the senior lawyers of the group with expertise in M&A and corporate reorganisations. Morné van der Merwe is now at Alchemy Law.
‘Deep experience in African and cross border M&A, very efficient network of local firms in Africa to source specific local law advice.’
‘Mike van Rensburg is stellar. Very commercial, pragmatic and strategic approach, in addition to technical strengths. Availability exceptional, and gives client the comfort that its best interest are being looked after, far beyond the mere need to record yet another billable unit.’
Impala Platinum Holdings
African Rainbow Capital
The Livekindly Co
ECP Africa Fund IV LLC
Wipro Unza Holdings
BRENNTAG (holding) B.V.
- Advising ECP on its proposed acquisition of 95.36% of the shares in Burger King South Africa and 100% of the shares in Grand Foods Meat Plant from Grand Parade Investments.
- Advised Bohler in relation to the merger control and corporate aspects of the establishment of a joint venture between Bohler and Afrox involving Afrox’s welding consumables factory near Brits, South Africa.
- Advised Implats on its investment into the AP Ventures Fund II.
CMS South Africa
The corporate department at CMS South Africa was only established in 2019, and is jointly chaired by Yushanta Rungasammy and Deepa Vallabh who have substantial experience in private equity matters, M&A mandates and BEE transactions. Cross-border and multi-jurisdictional matters are a core part of the practice’s offering, especially in mining, TMT, healthcare, construction and the financial sector, with a growing increase in private equity deals. Kabelo Dlothi joined the team from White & Case LLP in February 2021.
‘The individual we work with understands business operations and can give advice that is not just pure legal advice.’
‘The team that assisted us specialised in M&A and helped close the deal seamlessly.’
‘The partner we worked with has been our corporate lawyer for 10 years – both before joining CMS and then since. Kabelo Dlothi is especially strong in commercial and corporate law.’
‘The CMS team has provided us with excellent service and this is as a result of their understanding of the fintech space. It is our experience that this is not a common trait for a commercial and corporate practice but rather unique to the innovative and up to date CMS team. The CMS team has produced very valuable advice and produces this advice in a valuable format as well which again, is a unique trait to this unique team.’
‘Always available to engage and test ideas. They are great in assembling teams of relevant expertise to solve clients’ problems.’
‘We have developed our business strategy alongside Kabelo Dlothi from the beginning. He has provided invaluable legal input along the way and has drawn from the wider team to ensure we get relevant expertise to our evolving business needs. We rate the service and professional guidance we receive from Kabelo Dlothi and his colleagues.’
‘Deepa Vallabh guides trough highly complex transactions with steady hand and great know how, Sihle Bulose’s efficiency and indefatigability make them an unbeatable team.’
‘Yushanta Rungasammy from the outset of our relationship displayed an immediate understanding of our fintech business and it was almost as if she had already been advising us from the get go. Yushanta has an incredibly innate sense of what her clients needs are without over complicating matters. It is not often that you find a corporate and commercial attorney who understands online platforms and the digital way of doing things. The same can and must be said for Sihle Bulose who has, together with Yushanta, added massive value to our fintech team with his quick responses to complex matters and presents his advice in a valuable manner – this is the type of advice most, if not all businesses need. Sihle has also shown an in-depth understanding of our business model where “old school” investment structures meet “new school” innovations.’
The Reef Group
Calibre Investment Holdings
Chromaflo Technologies South Africa
Multichoice Africa Holdings B.V.
Founders Factory Africa
EQT Fund Managements
- Acting for Exxaro Resources on the disposal of its equity interest in Exxaro Coal Central and it’s Leeuwpan Coal Mine operation through a bidding process.
- Advised MultiChoice Africa Holdings B.V. in relation to its acquisition of more than 20% stake in Blue Lake Ventures.
- Advised Cell C in connection with the acquisition by Atlas Tower of 193 telecommunication towers from Cell C and International Tower Corporation.
Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP‘s corporate practice spans across South and Africa and the rest of the continent. It advises clients on a broad range of mandates, including M&A deals, joint takeovers, demergers and restructuring deals. Rudolph du Plessis is head of the department with expertise in domestic and cross-border mandates. The team also saw the arrival of Huneiza Goolam in April 2021 from CMS South Africa, who has expertise in M&A and ECM. Ross Lomax continues to be an active team member in the mining and energy sectors alongside Patrick Leyden, who was promoted to partner in May 2021.
‘Patrick Leyden is very competent, very resourceful and hugely successful with our matters. He is very innovative and brings very creative solutions.’
‘Skill, knowledge and experience are a given. What sets Ross apart is the personal relationship and the personal care and attention our company receives.’
‘The team is part of an international law firm. We have a long-standing, personal relationship with Ross Lomax and his service delivery is of the very best.’
‘We have used Patrick Leyden for commercial work and the firm is well resourced to support us and the team is very effective.’
Bunengi Group Holdings
Harmony Gold Mining Company
Mulilo Renewable Energy
STANLIB Infrastructure Yield Fund
STANLIB Infrastructure Investments Fund II
Publicis Groupe Holdings B.V
- Advised MRE in connection with the acquisition by MRE of the entire shareholding of X-Elio Energy, S.L. in two solar project companies, being Mulilo Renewable Energy Solar PV De Aar and Mulilo Renewable Energy Solar PV Prieska.
- Advised DRA Global on a transaction which included an initial public offering to raise circa US$11.7m.
- Advised Harmony in relation to the acquisition of AngloGold Ashanti’s Mponeng mine and surface operations in South Africa.
Fasken handles M&A, securities and capital raising transactions and joint ventures, as well as BEE transactions. Financial services specialist Michael Teubes has been leading the team since January 2020. Dimitri Cavvadas is especially skilled in cross border M&A in the natural resources area and Mike van Vuren is experienced in the mining, industrial, financial services and healthcare industries. Lesley Morphet joined from Hogan Lovells (South Africa) in 2020 and insurance expert Deanne Wood joined the practice in 2020 after formerly working at The Ombudsman for Short Term Insurance.
‘The team at Fasken, specifically Mike van Vuren, collaborates with us extremely well. He is highly skilled and has exceptional technical knowledge.’
‘The way that they looked at the problem and ensured that all relevant angles were covered to ensure a holistic answer to our query was very good.’
Impala Platinum Holdings
Lombard Insurance Company
Mainstream Renewable Power
- Acted for Etion when it entered into a sale of shares agreement with Altron TMT SA Group in which Etion will sell 100% of the issued shares in Law Trusted Third Party Services for a consideration amount of R245m.
- Acted for Decentral Energy Capital Limited in relation to the raising of R55m through a public offering.
- Acted for Sunstone Capital in relation to the raising of R105m through a public offering.
Glyn Marais advises its big-name clients on BEE transactions, M&A mandates and cross-border transactions. Francois Marais, Willem de Villiers and Brian Frank all jointly lead the department from Johannesburg. Marais acts for financial institutions, de Villiers specialises in public and private M&A mandates and Frank is an expert in commercial property.
‘The practice is unique in the sense that it has the experience and provides the quality of work similar to a large firm. In addition, the firm is also very approachable and appointments can easily be made.’
‘The knowledge and teamwork of Francois Marias is extremely rare. We would be always grateful for his contribution to the growth of our firm.’
‘Knowledgeable and pleasant people, easy to work with, and they are sure to explain the legal technicalities in a way for non-legal people to easily understand. They understand the client needs very well and adapt their approach to fit the client.’
‘The team is very passionate about what they do and always go above and beyond the expectation. We appreciate the high quality service and the manner in which they work. Highly recommend.’
DRA Global Holdings
Anglo American plc
Accelerate Property Fund
Sanlam Private Equity
A spinoff team from Hogan Lovells (South Africa), now at Lawtons Africa, is active in trade M&A and private equity transactions, acting for clients in the banking, mining, e-commerce and pharmaceutical sectors. Jeff Buckland leads the team with strengths in both public and private mergers. Riëtte Engels-Van Zyl and Mahashini Govender are also senior lawyers of note. Vaughn Harrison joined Thomson Wilks Inc in April 2021.
Public Investment Corporation
CapitalWorks Private Equity Advisor