Top 10 Most Influential Corporate and M&A Lawyers in South Africa 2023

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South Africa is home to some of the most distinguished and proficient corporate and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) lawyers in the business. These attorneys have made significant strides in their respective fields, mastering complex legal procedures in corporate restructures, capital raisings, M&A, and investment dealings. They’ve worked with vast client portfolios, from prominent multinational corporations, private equity firms, and small and medium enterprises. This article highlights some of the acclaimed corporate/M&A lawyers in the region, outlining their unique expertise and contributions to the corporate legal field.

Colin du Toit

At Webber Wentzel, Colin du Toit is a renowned professional in ECM and M&A transactions. He stands out with his vast experience in complex restructurings, leading share buy-backs, and corporate delistings. Operating from Johannesburg, Du Toit continues to shape the corporate landscape in South Africa.

Peter Hesseling

Peter Hesseling is a part of the Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr team. With extensive market activity and positive client feedback, he is proficient in advising on capital raisings and accelerated bookbuilds. Hesseling is an asset to the South African corporate legal scene.

Gary Felthun

Working with White & Case LLP, Gary Felthun possesses a broad skill set. Felthun has experience covering investments, ECM, and distressed M&A. His client portfolio includes household names in financial services and pharmaceuticals, as well as prestigious private equity houses and mining entities.

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Willem Jacobs

Willem Jacobs, another asset of Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, is recognised for expertise in corporate deals, including M&A, disposals, investments and BEE transactions. His formidable client roster features notable telecoms players along with prestigious private equity houses and holding companies.

Gareth Driver

Gareth Driver of Webber Wentzel is a well-recognised face in the corporate law landscape of Johannesburg. With experience in shareholder offerings, listings, and flotations, his expertise also incorporates M&A, joint venture agreements, and Black Economic Empowerment transactions.

Willem de Villiers

Operating from Johannesburg, Willem de Villiers, associated with Norton Rose Fulbright, is appreciated for his broad-based expertise in both corporate and finance law. He assists his clients in navigating corporate transactions, such as M&A, along with financing and lending.

Craig Atkinson

White & Case LLP‘s Craig Atkinson is an emerging lawyer who is recognised for his impressive client roster. Notable corporates in the pharmaceutical and private equity sectors, as well as state-owned bodies, heavily rely on his expertise.

Johannes Gouws

Johannes Gouws with DLA Piper South Africa Services (Pty) Ltd is known for leading complex cross-border M&A deals. In addition to acting as the firm’s managing partner, he serves clients from a range of industries, including financial services and consumer products.

Lerato Thahane

Lerato Thahane of Bowmans excels in assisting industrial clients with domestic and cross-border acquisitions and disposals. She also acts as local counsel to international firms operating in South Africa, adding to the depth of the legal field in the region.

Kevin Trudgeon

Kevin Trudgeon, the head of the commercial department at Werksmans Attorneys, advises on a range of corporate transactions. He has handled significant cross-border acquisitions and investments, as well as delistings and capital markets. He also maintains an impressive track record of leading M&A deals involving distressed companies and assets.

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