Competition in South Africa

Bowmans

The well-established competition practice at Bowmans is highly adept at handling cases before the South African competition authorities in addition to work concerning regulators across the continent. The team has an increasing presence in the digital space, acting for clients such as Amazon and Facebook, as well as representing clients in the oil and gas sectors. Derek Lötter  based in Johannesburg and Tamara Dini based in Cape Town jointly lead the team. Dini has particular strengths in the areas of merger control and investigations surrounding prohibited practices. Litigator Claire Reidy is notable in the cartel and abuse of dominance cases and Heather Irvine  is a key contact for global clients.

Practice head(s):

Derek Lötter Tamara Dini

Key clients

Refinitiv

London Stock Exchange Group plc

ADQ

Aon Plc

Macquarie Bank

BNP Paribas

Facebook Inc

WhatsApp Inc

Facebook South Africa

Bombardier Transportation

Anheuser-Busch InBev

Continental Tyre South Africa

Dischem

Anglo American

Fitbit

Old Mutual

Amazon

Work highlights

  • Acted for London Stock Exchange Group and Refinitiv in a joint merger notification to the SA Commission.
  • Represented Facebook Inc, WhatsApp Inc and Facebook South Africa  in urgent interim relief proceedings launched by the applicants, GovChat and Hashtag Letstalk.
  • Represented CCBA in proceedings launched by the Trade Competition and Consumers Protection Authority in Ethiopia  against CCBA’s local subsidiaries, East Africa Bottling Share Company and Ambo Mineral Water Share Company.

ENSafrica

ENSafrica‘s competition practice is a key part of the firm’s offering and assists domestic and international clients in dawn raid investigations and inquiries by the South African Competition Commission; clients have also praised its ‘informed relationships with regulatory body.’ Jocelyn Katz leads the team with great expertise in merger control across Africa with the support of Justin Balkin and Mark Garden, who has significant experience in managing prohibited practices and merger regulation matters. Economist Lizel Blignaut is also of note alongside senior associate Aziza Mdee.

Practice head(s):

Jocelyn Katz

Other key lawyers:

Justin Balkin; Mark Garden; Lizel Blignaut; Derushka Chetty; Natalia Lopes; Aziza Mdee; Ryan Goodman

Testimonials

‘The team is excellent on every front with expert practical advice based on informed relationships with regulatory body and in various industries. The team’s availability constantly impresses with quick turn-around times. The team takes the time to get to know a client to deliver the best service.’

‘The team is extremely diverse and they seem to be able to give advice on territories anywhere in Africa. The team we work with are receptive, engaging and always available when you need them. We deal with many urgent matters and this team are highly responsive but moreover, extremely commercial and reliable. We do many competition filings across Africa but we will only ever use the SA team because they act as the main points of contact and add immense value to every transaction.’

‘The Competition Practice of ENS provides a high standard of service. They understand the Competition Law Risks around the non-life insurance space and have played a crucial support. They are accessible and always keen to assist. They provide exceptional advice which has benefitted client tremendously.’

‘Justin Balkin is experienced and a very safe pair of hands. When things are complex he is definitely the one to go to.’

‘Ryan Goodman has provided exceptional service with practical advice, technical expertise and is a problem solver, having assisted us to navigate some potentially thorny issues during negotiations that were resolved with innovative solutions.’

‘Natalia Lopes takes her time to build relationships, able to navigate within complex multinational structures and cross-jurisdictionally while at the same time able to advise senior leadership in simple language. Natalia is solutions driven and has always been able to use in depth knowledge land commercial solutions to close matters. I have worked with Natalia for more than a decade and is always my competition lawyer of choice.’

‘Mark Gardner provides an excellent service to international clients doing business in South Africa and beyond. Mark is responsive and straightforward to deal with. He takes time to understand the client’s objectives and inspires confidence that competition matters will be handled effectively.’

‘Darren Smith is great to work with and provides clear and pragmatic advice.’

Key clients

A.P. Moller–Maersk Group

Adcock Ingram

Advent International

Cinven

RAG-Stiftung

AkzoNobel

AngloGold Ashanti

Business Connexion

Carlyle Group

CDK Global Inc

Cipla Limited

Comair Business Rescue Consortium

Consolidated Infrastructure Group

Corobrik

Dis-Chem Pharmacies

Discovery

DRA Group

DSV South Africa

Edcon

enX Group

Evraz Highveld Steel and Vanadium

Experian

Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa

G4S plc

General Partner

Grindrod Group

Hoegh Autoliner AS

Hollard Holdings

IDC

Investec Group

Invicta Holdings

Kleoss Fund 1 en commandite

LafargeHolcim

Massmart

Mediterranean Shipping Company SA

Motus Corporation

Mylan N.V.

Netflix

Old Mutual Insure

PG

RMB Corvest

Sanlam

Sasol

Sibanya Stillwater

South 32

The Foschini Group

Tiger Brands

Totalgaz

Vodacom

CEVA Logistics AG

ChromeSA

Work highlights

  • Advised a consortium of high-net-worth individuals in relation to the acquisition of Comair Limited.
  • Acted for the Edcon Group in its successful business rescue.
  • Advising South32 and SAEC in the disposal of SAEC to Thabong Coal.

Webber Wentzel

Webber Wentzel‘s strong and ‘pre-eminent‘ practice covers the full spectrum of anti-trust and competition law, including cross jurisdictional merger filings and prohibited practice mandates across Africa. Also within the team’s capacities are market inquiries, compliance reviews and dawn raid training, and it has been praised for possessing ‘deep experience and a broad understanding of regulatory requirements and expectations.’ Daryl Dingley chairs the group with the support of senior lawyers  Desmond RudmanRobert Wilson and Martin Versfeld, as well as senior associate and competition law specialist Clare-Alice Vertue.

Practice head(s):

Daryl Dingley

Testimonials

‘Webber Wentzel’s competition practice is unique in that the team possesses deep experience and a broad understanding of regulatory requirements and expectations. They are able to envisage knotty competition-related issues which may be associated with merger transactions or contractual arrangements and promptly devise solutions to those issues.

‘The team has built a strong network with firms across Africa which makes for efficient notifications and procurement of approval on cross-border deals requiring multiple notifications and competition approval. The team’s collaborative approach to work is of immense benefit to clients and helps to ensure that transaction timelines are often met. The Firm also stays up to date with developments in the competition practice in several jurisdictions thus positioning itself as a thought leader. The lawyers in Webber Wentzel’s competition practice are also very efficient and knowledgeable in their field.

‘In my view, the firm is the pre-eminent competition law practice in Africa, and is the go-to firm in South Africa for competition law, and in Africa for cross-border competition law matters.’

‘Daryl Dingley is extremely knowledgeable and resourceful and has an uncanny ability to provide answers on complex competition law issues.

‘Burton Philips is sound in his analysis of anti-trust issues associated with restrictive agreements and merger transactions. His advice is usually practical and spot on.’

‘Robert Wilson is calm in his approach and focuses on demystifying complex issues on transactions, while also diffusing tensions which sometimes arise on transactions between clients and professional parties.’

‘Andriza Liebenberg is demonstrates deep passion for her work. She was instrumental to the successful execution of merger filings on cross-border deals I have worked with her on.’

‘The partner who really stands out for us is Robert Wilson. Robert is exceptionally good at this area of law, in which he is a deep expert. He is always ready and available to assist us even on short notice. Robert is very approachable, is able to explain competition law and the economics associated with it in a simple easy to understand manner, produces outstanding and well drafted and researched opinions. Robert takes pains to understand the client and their ethos, strategy and requirements. Robert has the gravitas to present to the board and to directors but is equally able to approach and discuss the concepts with junior staff. Robert also has a very good associate Andriza Liebenberg, who has learnt from Robert and delivers outstanding work in record time. Andriza displays an exceptional attention to detail. She is always ready and eager to help.’

Key clients

JP Morgan

Standard Chartered

Bank of America

Commerzbank

Isuzu Motors

UD Trucks Corporation

Mobile Telephone Networks

Johannesburg Stock Exchange

Link Market Services South Africa

Afrique Pet Food

Philafrica Foods

Martin and Martin

Natal Portland Cement Company

GovChat

#Let’sTalk

Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa

Hollard Holdings

Naspers

Pioneer Food Group

Ascoma Assureurs Conseils

Green Vision Africa LLC

MultiChoice Group

Tongaat Hulett

Automatic Sprinkler Inspection Bureau

Belfa Solutions

Fireco

Specifire

Heineken N.V.

Work highlights

  • Advising a number of banks in an investigation by the South African Competition Commission against foreign currency traders for alleged price-fixing.
  • Advised the JSE regarding a merger in which the JSE will acquire LMS.
  • Advising Naspers regarding the Online Intermediation Platforms Market Inquiry initiated by the South African Competition Commission.

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr

Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is recognised for representing clients during inquiries and investigations conducted by the South African competition Commission and handling merger control and approval mandates for multinational and in-bound transactions. The group is active across a range of sectors, including health care, financial services, TMT and agriculture. The group is lead by the ‘exemplary practitioner’ Chris Charter , and Lara Granville  is notable for her work on dawn raids and collusion issues.

Practice head(s):

Chris Charter

Testimonials

‘Excellent team with great technical skills, combined with a practical and commercially minded approach to competition issues.’

‘They know the businesses of our clients and spend time understanding it. They are ALWAYS available and have extensive experience and practical knowledge regarding the processes. The team is also very knowledgeable on mergers in the rest of Africa.’

‘We have been using Susan Meyer’s team at CDH for competition matters for over 9 years. I have used most of the large SA law firms, but once I worked with Susan, I just could not revert back to anyone else.

‘Susan Meyer has taken the time to get to know the businesses of our clients, she is always available and her service in great value for money.’

‘The team has depth of knowledge, years of experience and working relationship with Competition Authorities.’

‘Andries le Grange and Albert Aukema provide expert advice, a good understanding of regulatory and political landscape and are available on short notice.’

‘Albert Aukema is a highly skilled competition lawyer who quickly learns and masters the specifics of your business model and markets and applies them to the case at hand.’

‘Chris Charter is an exemplary practitioner. He is well regarded by his peers, knowledgeable and always makes himself available.’

Key clients

Coca-Cola

Computershare

Mediclinic

Matlosana Medical Health Services

Old Mutual

GAP Chemicals

EASEED Group

ANZ

Hygrotech Properties

Legae Peresec

Massmart

Lonmin

Matlosana Medical Health Services

Pelo Agricultural Ventures

Public Investment Corporation

Roche

Shell

Sovereign Food

Vodacom

Remgro

AdvTech

Curro Schools

Aveng

Capitalworks

Arcelor Mittal

EnviroServ

Fidelity

Investec

Kagiso Tiso Holdings

Parmalat

Tiso Blackstar Group

Liquid Telecoms

Technology Management Services

Avon Justine

Rymco

Oppenheimer Partners

Bud Group

Remgro

Minister of Economic Development

Business Connexion

Jasco Security and Fire Solutions

RCL

FNZ

Total

Transnet

Sabre Corp

LG

Work highlights

  • Representing The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group in defending the Commission’s referral of a complaint of collusion in the foreign exchange market.
  • Advised the South African Broadcasting Corporation in connection with an application brought by Caxton and the Competition Commission to the Constitutional Court for wide investigatory powers to be granted to the Commission, following a decision by the Tribunal that a channel licensing agreement, signed in 2013, between SABC and Multichoice did not constitute a merger under the Competition Act.
  • Representing Jasco Security and Fire Solutions, a subsidiary of the listed entity, Jasco Electronics Holdings in a referral by the Commission against a number of players in the fire control industry alleging collusive conduct through compliance with the terms of the certification body’s rules.

Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills South Africa LLP has a growing team in South Africa that is highly active in merger control mandates locally and across multiple jurisdictions, market inquiries by the South African Competition Commission across the banking, healthcare, gas and retail sectors and cartel matters. Jean Meijer chairs the department with extensive experience in mergers and investigations. Nick Altini, cartels and abuse investigations and prosecutions. Regulatory expert Leana Engelbrecht is also of note.

Practice head(s):

Jean Meijer

Other key lawyers:

Nick AltiniLeana Engelbrecht

Testimonials

‘The team is without peer in its client management. While their functional work and solutions are incisive and well-formulated, their ability to keep you abreast of matters while adopting a sensible, business-centric approach to billing, stands them apart.’

‘It is essential that such a firm must demonstrate previous experience in interacting with the local Competition Authorities. This means that multiple individuals in the team must posses this experience.’

‘The department provides specialist advice and a good service.’

‘The team has great professionalism, is quick to assist and is always available.’

‘The lead of the team has provided good tactical advice based on solid experience.’

‘Jean Meijer is the lead partner in the local Competition team and a practitioner and professional of the highest echelon. Her personability, client-management, efficiency and pragmatism sets her apart from her peers. I have no hesitation in briefing Herbert Smith Freehills on the basis of working with Jean as I know that advice will be delivered timeously, with the requisite quality and in a manner which is easily implementable for clients.’

Key clients

Airlink

Anglo American

Associated British Foods

AVI

British American Tobacco

Clover

Country Bird

Creadev International

Diageo

Discovery Communications

Easigas

Expedia

Exxaro Minerals

HSBC

JCDecaux

Liberty Group

Life Healthcare Group

Mercedes-Benz

Naspers

OLX Global B.V

Pearson

Procter & Gamble

Rain

Reckitt Benckiser

Sappi

South African Sugar Association

South32

SPAR

Standard Bank

Sun International

Takealot.com

Telesure

The South African Express Parcel Association

The South African Insurance Industry Association

Uber

Work highlights

  • Representing the Naspers South African operations in respect of the Commission’s Online Markets Inquiry.
  • Advising AerCap in relation to the African aspects of its c. USD30bn acquisition of GE Capital Aviation Services, including in relation to COMESA, Egypt and Nigeria.
  • Advised Exxaro in respect of the disposal of a subsidiary, Exxaro Coal Central, to Overlooked Colliery.

Werksmans Attorneys

A core part of Werksmans Attorneys‘ competition practice involves advising domestic and multinational corporate companies with merger-related mandates. Additionally, it handles contested merger and antitrust litigation, including defending clients against abuse of dominance allegations before the Competition Commission and Competition Tribunal, with particular emphasis on the telecommunications, technology, internet and media sectors. The team is also active in cartel investigations and compliance training. The experienced competition expert Paul Coetser  leads the group with strengths in litigation especially.

Practice head(s):

Paul Coetser

Key clients

Axa S.A.

American Towers Corporation

Bidvest Group

Blue Label Telecommunications

Cape Fruit Processors

Cardtronics PLC

Comair

Credit Suisse Group AG

Distell

Glencore International AG

Investec

Isuzu Motors

Macsteel Global S.A.R.L. BV

Mobile Telephone Networks

MTN Group

MultiChoice

Naspers Group and its subsidiaries

PG Bison

RH Managers

Samancor Chrome

Samsung Electronics

Shoprite Checkers

Steinhoff

Telkom SA SOC

Tupperware Corporation

Volvo Financial Services LLC

Waco Africa

Work highlights

  • Represented Media24 successfully regarding the Competition Commission’s allegations of abuse of dominance by predating on an independent community newspaper in the Goldfields region.
  • Advised Comair and its business rescue practitioners regarding a newly formed consortium of investors’ acquisition of 99% of Comair’s shareholding for a total debt and equity package of ca ZAR1.725bn.
  • Represented MultiChoice and Electronic Media Network in the Inquiry into Subscription Broadcasting Services by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa.

Baker McKenzie Johannesburg

Lerisha Naidu heads the competition department at Baker McKenzie Johannesburg which represents clients before the South African Competition Tribunal as well as multinational corporates in complaint proceedings. The team also advises clients on merger control in various sectors, including healthcare, FMCG, financial services, mining, construction and manufacturing. Senior associate Angelo Tzarevski is especially active in these merger control mandates.

Practice head(s):

Lerisha Naidu

Other key lawyers:

Angelo Tzarevski

Testimonials

‘Well-resourced firm with broad capabilities across many practice areas. Outstanding competition law bench. Also leading the charge on equity, diversity and inclusion, an agenda that the firm has fully embraced. Takes time to understand the clients’ businesses.’

‘They have the expertise expected and required and a collaborated team effort. They do not work in silos but engage other practice areas where necessary. Speedy response to issues and solution oriented.’

‘Both Lerisha Naidoo and Angelo Tzarevski are very diligent; solution driven and put a lot of effort into understanding the business of their client. They engage with client at a level that we understand.’

‘Technically and commercially competent and capable individuals within the firm and also very pro-active in engaging and giving heads up on emerging issues across practice areas.’

Key clients

GlaxoSmithKline

Adcock Ingram

Bayer AG

Platinum Equity Advisers

Archer-Daniels-Midland Company

Emerging Capital Partners

Bidvest Group

Unilever

Evonik

Hitachi

ArcelorMittal South Africa

Impala Platinum

Brenntag AG

Daimler AG

Nielsen Holdings PLC

Work highlights

  • Advised Emerging Capital Partners on its acquisition of Burger King’s South African franchise business.  
  • Advised Bayer in relation to the disposal of its animal health business to Elanco Animal Health, Inc.
  • Representing Unilever in proceedings before the Competition Tribunal of South Africa in relation to allegations that Unilever had, between 2004 and 2013, engaged in cartel conduct in the edible fats and oils industry.

Fasken

After joining the team from Hogan Lovells (South Africa) in 2020,  Lesley Morphet jointly sits at the helm of Fasken‘s competition practice alongside Neil MacKenzie, which advises local and international clients regarding litigation, market inquiries and prohibited practices investigations, merger mandates and compliance and regulatory issues.  Sectors of focus for the group include liquid fuels, construction, pharmaceutical, rail transport and mining.

Practice head(s):

Lesley MorphetNeil MacKenzie

Testimonials

‘Fasken is excellent in advising on merger control matters in a country that is likely more difficult to manoeuvre in than any other country. They are highly responsive and deliver very good work products.’

‘Neil MacKenzie and Lesley Morphet are all outstanding experts, highly responsive, delivering very good work products, and very nice to work with.’

Key clients

Air Liquide

Mainstream Renewable Power

Alstom

Lafarge Holcim

South African Petroleum Industry Association

South African Property Owners’ Association

SBV

ArcelorMittal South Africa

Nomura International Plc

M&G

Work highlights

  • Advised Alstom on South African competition aspects of its EUR6.8bn global acquisition of Bombardier Transportation.
  • Advising Nomura in defending allegations of alleged collusion in the Forex currency trading market.  
  • Representing Air Liquide in merger control proceedings with respect to its ZAR8bn acquisition of large oxygen production facilities from Sasol.

Lawtons Africa

The competition practice at Lawtons Africa focuses primarily on multi-jurisdictional merger notifications as well as providing clients with advice regarding compliance matters and representing them during investigations by the South African Competition Commission. Mandates involving prohibited practices are also an area of strength for the team. Seasoned competition expert Nkonzo Hlatshwayo leads the team, and is supported by Gomolemo Kekesi.

Practice head(s):

Nkonzo Hlatshwayo

Other key lawyers:

Gomolemo Kekesi;  Ave Ralarala

Testimonials

‘The team is led by partners with extensive competition law experience having advised across the African continent; Nkonzo Hlatshwayo has worked for a number of competition regulators. Their pragmatic approach is exceptional.’

‘Gomolemo is an exceptional competition lawyer. She approaches every peace of work with dedication and thoroughness. The level of detail she pays gives one comfort that no stone has been left unturned in trying to solution or strategise. Ave Ralarala is an associate in the team who I think is impressive.’

‘The competition team is pleasingly diverse with good representation of competent black professionals who are highly skilled in the area. The team works collaboratively with the client, pulling together resources to ensure delivery on tasks.’

‘Nkonzo Hlatshwayo is highly skilled in competition law with a great institutional memory, having worked with diverse regulators across the continent. He offers great insight on regional competition law, mergers and acquisitions in particular.’

Gomolemo Kekesi is highly skilled in competition law, in particular in M&A advisory work.’

Key clients

Transnet

ZTE Corporation RSA

Royal Eswanati National Airways Corporation

MultiChoice Africa

Medshield Medical Scheme

Nedbank Group

Nedbank

Thebe Investment Corporation

Work highlights

  • Assisting Transnet in responding to summonses issues against three of its operating divisions by the Competition Commission of South Africa.
  • Representing ZTE Corporation RSA in a cartel investigation launched by the Competition Commission.
  • Representing Nedbank Group and Nedbank, which have recently been implicated by the Competition Commission of South Africa in a matter dating back to 2015 in respect of which just under 30 local and international banking institutions stand accused by the CCSA of allegedly colluding to fix prices and divide markets in respect of their foreign exchange trading activities.