Linklaters chief hints at due diligence exchange with South African firms

Linklaters global managing partner Simon Davies has hinted that the firm has exchanged due diligence information with potential alliance targets in South Africa as discussions with outfits on the ground continue.

Simon Davies
Simon Davies

The firm is talking to firms in the jurisdiction with a view to formalising relationships into an alliance in the style of its recent joint venture with Australia’s Allens (19 July 2012).

South African independents Adams & Adams, Webber Wentzel and Werksmans are seen as likely candidates for a tie-up, with the magic circle firm enjoying an especially close relationship with Webber Wentzel and working with Werksmans on the potential merger of mining giants Glencore and Xstrata (2 February 2012).

Davies told The Lawyer the firm would “balance the options” and that it had “started from a strong base” on the continent, adding: “We’ve got strong relationships with a number of firms in Africa. We’ve seen an increased proportion of work coming out of Africa – we currently advise in 29 [African] countries.

“As part of the relationship there needs to be a two-way dialogue. That inevitably involves exchange of information. We will exchange information with any firms. Webber Wentzel is obviously a firm [that Linklaters has close ties to] but there are others inside the region.”

He cited Werksmans as an African independent with which Linklaters had good relations, but said there were “a number of firms” the UK firm had ties to.

Webber Wentzel Africa mining and energy projects chief Peter Leon last month declined to comment on Linklaters’ plans because the “market is so dynamic at present”, but he added at the time: “Webber Wentzel has excellent working relationships with most leading law firms in Africa and the rest of the world.”