The Deal of the Year 2008 was awarded to Remgro and Richemont for the R180bn restructuring that resulted in the creation of Reinet Investment Holdings and the listings of British American Tobacco and Reinet on the JSE.
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr's Johan Latsky, a director in the corporate and commercial practice, led the legal team that advised both Remgro Ltd and the Richemont group. Other members of the team were Andre de Lange, Marita van der Walt, Lilia Franca, Leon Rood and Johan Green.
The Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr team advised on all the South African aspects of the transaction and coordinated the restructurings and listings on the Luxembourg and Swiss exchanges and the British American Tobacco inward dual listing. Johan Latsky said: "We particularly enjoyed working on the complex and sometimes novel questions relating to international tax, exchange control, securities and company law, raised by the transactions."
The Deal of the Year award was made at a presentation by DealMakers at its Annual Gala Banquet on 25 February 2008. Dealmakers' specialises in tracking all South Africa's corporate finance and M&A activities.
The Remgro and Richemont transaction was also recognised as the largest deal of 2008 involving a SA law firm by Mergermarket in its South African M&A round-up for 2008. Mergermarket is an M&A intelligence service and part of the Financial Times Group.
Chris Ewing, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr CEO, said: "We are extremely proud of our achievements.
"Since Cliffe Dekker and Hofmeyr Herbstein & Gihwala merged in September 2008 to form Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, we now have one of the largest corporate and commercial and M&A practices in South Africa. The team comprises more than 60 qualified lawyers, all of them specialists in their particular fields. Being the legal team advising on a deal that the judging panel chose for its complexity, tenacity in the face of hurdles and a strategy that took into account long term benefits is testament to the skills of our lawyers.
Ewing commented that Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is one of the largest law firms in South Africa with more than 300 lawyers and is also affiliated to DLA Piper, which is by some accounts the biggest law firm in the world. He said the firm preferred to be branded as a "business law firm" concentrating not just on capital and M&A work, but also on a full suite of activities vital to the success of any business, no matter the size or complexity of the transaction and wherever in the world they operate."
The DealMakers' and Mergermarket achievements follow closely on the heels of a number of accolades Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr firm has received in recent months, including being named Best Corporate M&A Practice - Africa 2008 in The New Economy Legal Awards and Legal Adviser of the Year 2008 in the ACQ Finance Country Awards for Achievement category. The firm was named Best Large Law Firm in South Africa 2009 on receiving the PMR.africa Diamond Arrow Award in recognition of its being ranked 1st overall in a national survey of the leading legal firms in South Africa.
In another recent award, National Head of the firm's Competition practice, Mondo Ntlha, was named Best Competition Lawyer 2009 in the World Finance legal awards.