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Willem Jacobs, director and national head of CDH’s corporate and commercial practice. Picture: CDH
Willem Jacobs, director and national head of CDH’s corporate and commercial practice. Picture: CDH

Business law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH) this week clinched top honours for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deal flow at the annual DealMakers Awards for the eighth consecutive year.

“Deal activity may have slowed but indications are that we may be in for a stronger 2017 as businesses get more strategic and seek out growth opportunities,” said Willem Jacobs, director and national head of CDH’s corporate and commercial practice.

“The local economy remained under significant pressure during 2016, following an equally tough 2015. However, as dealmakers we have to ensure businesses are able to maximise the prospects on offer,” he added.

The firm’s 77 M&A deals in 2016 – 30 more than its nearest competitor – had a combined value of R149-billion. CDH also achieved second place overall in terms of M&A deal value.

Adding to this significant accomplishment, the firm was ranked first for deal flow and third for deal value in the general corporate finance transactions legal adviser tables, having advised on 32 corporate finance deals worth R151-billion – 14 more than its nearest competitor. 

From an M&A perspective, said Jacobs, it was significant that South Africa recently averted a ratings downgrade.

“South African businesses realise there are challenges as the prospect of a ratings downgrade still exists,” he said. “But they are innovating and applying strategies that can move the economy forward. The outlook for intra-Africa trade, in fact, looks quite promising and businesses are likely to see opportunities for M&A in the rest of Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.”

CDH has won the DealMakers Deal Flow award every year since 2009, and its corporate and commercial practice is committed to using its extensive experience in Africa and South Africa to facilitate transactions and support the growth of industries.

CDH CEO Brent Williams said: “We continue to support our clients by improving our sectoral expertise and efficiencies in the areas that matter for business.”

CDH was also recently named South Africa’s number-one large law firm in the prestigious PMR Africa client research report for the seventh year in a row.

This article was paid for by Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.

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