Linklaters in talks with South Africa’s Webber Wentzel over alliance

Linklaters is in talks with South African firm Webber Wentzel with a view to rolling out an alliance with the local leader in a deal similar to its recent joint venture with Australia’s Allens Arthur Robinson (now Allens).

The magic circle firm is looking to enter the African market after completing the Australian deal earlier this year (23 April 2012).

Linklaters had scouted out the market, with the firm holding talks with a number of firms about the possibility of linking up to combine forces across the continent (19 July 2012).

Webber Wentzel is a member of the African Legal Network, while in 2010 the South African firm announced an alliance with Ivory Coast-based Bilé-Aka, Brizoua-Bi & Associés.

It is understood that Linklaters did not formally approach Werksmans, another touted candidate for a tie-up in the country, but that the domestic firm is considering opening itself up to a foreign alliance.

Global managing partner Simon Davies last week highlighted Webber Wentzel as a firm that the UK firm has strong ties with (3 August 2012).

A Linklaters spokesperson said the magic circle firm had “built up excellent working relationships with the best local law firms, meeting with them frequently as you would expect”. Webber Wentzel Africa mining and energy projects chief Peter Leon declined to comment, but last month he said the firm had “excellent working relationships with most leading law firms in Africa and the rest of the world”.