In 2012, Linklaters and Webber Wentzel signed a Collaboration Agreement, formalising a deep-rooted relationship between the two leading firms developed by working together for over 40 years.
The collaborative alliance between the firms has added significant value to both firms’ clients and people. For Linklaters’ clients, they have direct and immediate access to lawyers in Webber Wentzel’s offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town. For Webber Wentzel’s clients, they have access to Linklaters’ global network of lawyers for multi-jurisdictional matters. Given the depth of the relationship between Webber Wentzel and Linklaters, the client experience in working across both firms is seamless and integrated as they operate as “one firm”. The combined experience and product and sector expertise of the alliance is unmatched, particularly in the African market.
Core to the ability to act as “one firm” is the strength of personal connections across the two firms which are built and supported in a multitude of ways, including shared culture, mutual secondments, and training initiatives. There have been over 40 separate secondments of lawyers between the two firms. A 12-month joint training programme for junior associates has also been launched recently, in which selected first year associates/trainee solicitors spend 6 to 12 months in each firm’s office.
Over the last 10 years, major deals have been originated from both firms and there has been a healthy flow of referrals both ways. Some key client mandates that the firms have advised on over the last 10 years include:
- Anglo American on the sale by way of an accelerated book build of its remaining 8% interest in Thungela Resources Ltd, the South African thermal coal operations that were demerged from Anglo American.
- Kenya Roads Annuity Programme as sponsors’ international legal counsel in relation to the development of two major roads upgrade projects in Kenya.
- PwC International on the sale of its global mobility business to Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.
- Sanlam in respect of a joint venture with Allianz which involved multiple insurers and other financial institutions across 29 territories on the African continent to create the largest Pan-African non-banking financial services group.
- The South African government on its 7000MW renewable energy programme.
- The Qatar Investment Authority on buying into a portfolio of renewable energy projects in South Africa and Zambia from Enel Green Power.
- Remgro Ltd as consortium counsel and counsel to Remgro Limited in connection with the £3.7bn recommended joint cash offer by a consortium comprising Remgro and SAS Shipping Agencies Services Sàr.l., a wholly owned subsidiary of MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, for Mediclinic International plc, a private healthcare group listed in London, South Africa and Namibia.
- Old Mutual on its relisting on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
- The delisting of Mediclinic by the MSC Group.
- The acquisition of David Jones in Australia by the South African Woolworths Group.
The success of the alliance has also been recognised at the African Legal Awards, where it has been named African Alliance of the Year in 2019 and later shortlisted in 2022 and 2023.
Webber Wentzel’s Senior Partner and Chair, Christo Els said: “Our alliance has been an incredible journey of growth, collaboration, and trust. We are also proud of some of the flagship deals we have worked on together. We look forward to continuing to work together to achieve even greater success in the years ahead.”
Andrew Jones, Partner and Head of Africa Group at Linklaters, agreed: “We are proud of our alliance and how it has enabled us to support clients over its first decade. Constantly refining our offering so as to give clients the best and most bespoke service has been key. We will continue to nurture and grow the alliance and look forward to the future.”
Justin C. Faye, Energy & Infrastructure Partner, said: “In recent years, we’ve seen a shift across the continent towards renewables and green investment due to the urgency of the climate transition. Our alliance with Webber Wentzel has allowed us to support clients seamlessly at both a global and local level on the structuring, financing and development of projects across Africa.”
For more information, please contact Linklaters’ PR Lead, Rebecca Absalom at Rebecca.Absalom@linklaters.com or Webber Wentzel’s Marketing & Communications Manager, Lerato Ramango at Lerato.Ramango@webberwentzel.com.