Waco looks to Linklaters on £500m private equity deal

LINKLATERS has shored up its leading status in South Africa after advising on the country’s largest private equity deal to date, a £500m sale of industrial services giant Waco.

Linklaters corporate partner and South African business group head Charlie Jacobs led the team advising the shareholders of Waco on its sale to private equity investors led by JPMorgan Partners.

South African firm Fluxmans and Australia’s Freehills advised the shareholders on local law on what is the largest private equity buyout in Australia’s history.

The JPMorgan Partners group was advised out of Baker & McKenzie‘s Sydney office. Allen & Overy and South African firms Cliffe Dekker and Bowman Gilfillan provided legal advice to UBS, which acted as bookrunner and sponsor.

Johannesburg-based Waco specialises in forming, scaffolding and relocatable buildings, with around 75 per cent of its business being based in Australia and New Zealand and with the remainder in South Africa.

Linklaters was called in after its work advising African telecommunications company Celtel.

“Private equity is less developed in South Africa, but as the rand strengthens deals like this, with foreign investment, are becoming more common,” said Jacobs.