Ezra Davids is head of the corporate and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) department at Bowman Gilfillan, specialising in M&A, capital markets and securities law.
Some of the most recent transactions in which Davids has acted as lead partner include acting as South African counsel to Bharti in its then-proposed merger with MTN ($24bn); advising Verizon Communications in its disposal of its subsidiary Verizon Business (South Africa); acting as South African counsel to M1 and Investcom in the latter’s acquisition by MTN ($5.5bn); advising Barrick Gold Corporation in its disposal of Barrick Gold South Africa ($1.55bn) and for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup in the disposal by Polyus (Norilisk) of its entire shareholding in Gold Fields ($2.02bn); for SABMiller in the $1bn BEE transaction for its South African subsidiary; for Old Mutual in the aborted negotiations related to the acquisition by HSBC control of Nedbank; for Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed Kansai Paint in its successful hostile bid for JSE-listed Freeworld Coatings; and as South African counsel for PPR in the disposal of its furniture and household goods business, Conforama, to JSE-listed Steinhoff International Holdings.
Davids is also the relationship partner for a number of the firm’s major clients such as Bharti, Verizon, Barrick Gold Corporation, Nokia, UPS, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, UBS, Eskom and Transnet. He is also a regular contributor to international M&A and equity capital markets publications and is co-contributor on the mergers’ chapter of the Modern Company Law text book.
He is chairman of the Faculty Advisory Board of the Law School of the University of Cape Town. He is also a member of the board of trustees of the Legal Resources Trust (a non-profit human rights organisation using the law as an instrument of justice); a director of Freedom Under Law (a non-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of the rule of law in southern Africa); and a patron of the Student Sponsorship Programme (a non-profit organisation that places and enables academically talented, low-income students to excel in South Africa’s best high schools).
In addition, Davids is the former chairman of the recent developments in M&A subcommittee of the business organisations committee of the International Bar Association and is currently the vice-chair of the Africa Regional Forum of the International Bar Association.