Business law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, the South African member firm of DLA Piper Group, was ranked first in Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) deal flow activity in the South African DealMakers M&A Awards for 2010, announced on 1 March.
The firm was also ranked second by transaction flow for general corporate finance and third for general corporate finance on value. Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr also advised on the Private Equity Deal of the Year.
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr advised on 60 transactions, giving it a market share of 22.30% of the total number of M&A transactions recorded by DealMakers in 2010. Its nearest rival had 41 deals for the year.
According to Ian Hayes, National Head of the firm's Corporate and Commercial practice group, these successes underline an impressive two years of operation since Cliffe Dekker and Hofmeyr, Herbstein and Gihwala merged in September 2008 to form Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.
Hayes is "delighted" by Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr's coveted No 1 deal flow ranking. "Deal value is not an accurate measurement of performance for legal advisers, because the deal value rankings are often distorted by a small number of high value transactions" Hayes said.
"The volume of transactions we advised on last year shows the strength of our client base and underscores our clients' confidence in the capabilities of our team of qualified M&A lawyers."
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr was the Legal Adviser to the Foodcorp restructuring transaction, which was named Private Equity Deal of the Year 2010. Willem Jacobs, a director in the Corporate and Commercial practice group, was the lead attorney on this transaction valued at approximately R640m. DealMakers said the transaction "stood out for its history, cleverness and complexity".
With more than 50 qualified M&A lawyers in South Africa, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has one of the largest corporate law practices in South Africa. The firm's core M&A deal team also includes practitioners from other practice groups with experience in finance and banking, competition, tax, intellectual property, employee incentives, pension and real estate. Working together, the firm's corporate M&A lawyers are able to coordinate complex transactions, deal with regulatory requirements, advise on tax matters, manage due diligence investigations and prepare all documentation.
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has achieved phenomenal results in the past year of operation. It was the most active South African legal adviser by number of M&A deals in 2010, with 17 transactions, ranked by mergermarket. A raft of recent awards includes being named M&A Law Firm of the Year 2010 by Corporate International Magazine, Corporate M&A Law Firm of the Year 2010 in the Finance International Global Awards, Commercial Law Firm of the Year - Africa in the ACQ Global Awards, Best Corporate and Commercial, and Best M&A Firm in the World Finance Legal Awards for 2011.
The firm was also recently rated as South Africa's No. 1 large law firm for 2011 in an independent survey conducted nationally by PMR.africa.
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr's affiliation with DLA Piper, one of the world's largest legal practices, means the firm has the depth and breadth of legal resources to advise on M&A transactions at both local and international level and is able to offer experience and insights drawn from 29 countries, so its clients benefit from a vast amount of international M&A experience.
DLA Piper was ranked first by mergermarket in the league tables of legal advisers to Global M&A by deal count (number of deals) in the year 2010.