Linklaters takes lead in South Africa

Linklaters is claiming to be the leading international law firm in South Africa after sealing its fourth big demutualisation deal there this year.

Linklaters has completed work advising underwriters on the u4.1bn demutualisation and listing of South Africa's largest life assurer Old Mutual. It will list on the London Stock Exchange on 12 July.

Linklaters advised Merrill Lynch and Warburg Dillon Read on US and UK law.

Slaughter and May advised Old Mutual, with South African advice from Hofmeyr Herbstein Gihwala & Cluver and US advice from Davis Polk & Wardwell.

Partner Peter King, who led the Linklaters team, says a number of pan-African local firms were also involved.

Linklaters has advised many South African companies raising money on international markets, including the London Stock Exchange.

The firm acted for the underwriters in the demutualisation of South African Breweries, which was advised by Lovell White Durrant, and also acted for Anglo American in its demutualisation, while Freshfields acted for the sponsors. Both companies chose London as their main listing.

In the fourth big demutualisation of South African company Sanlam, Linklaters again acted for the underwriters.

King says the South African companies' moves show their increasing internationalisation: “There have been four demutualisations this year of size. Three of which were moves to London.

“There are several interesting companies we are keen to do work for, whether or not they list in London,” King adds.

Linklaters hopes to retain Anglo American as a client following its London listing.