This is despite a relatively weak performance for deal activity in the region. According to the data released mid-January, total deal value of US$ 47.3bn (428 deals) in the Middle East and Africa was 20.9% behind 2014, despite the US$ 11.4bn acquisition of South Africa-based Medic-Clinic by UAE-based Al Noor announced in Q4 providing a much needed boost.
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr acted as the South African legal adviser to Mediclinic in what was registered as the top deal in Africa & the Middle East for the year. The total deal value was recorded by Mergermarket at $11.4 billion deal to combine the businesses of Mediclinic and Al Noor Hospitals Group plc. In contrast with poor African deal flow, 2015 was a record year for global M&A with several regional records being broken, such as the US and Asia posting their highest values.
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr came second for Africa & the Middle East by deal count, after registering 36 deals.
In buyouts by deal value in Europe, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr was the first South African firm and 15th internationally.
According to the Mergermarket report, slow economic growth, a decreased demand for exports and unfavourable exchange rate movements are pushing South African companies to favour overseas acquisitions in place of domestic.
Willem Jacobs, National Practice Head of the Corporate and Commercial practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr said South Africa’s slow economy was forcing companies to look at offshore expansion to achieve higher levels of growth. But he said he was proud of the fact that Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, which underwent a rebranding last year and made significant new partner appointments, has managed to again achieve such a strong performance in the league tables for 2015. The firm was the top-ranked SA firm in both deal value and deal count for 2014.
Deepa Vallabh, Head: Cross-Border M&A: Africa & Asia at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr agreed, saying: "Significant opportunities exist in 2016 for investment into Africa, as continued urbanisation and growth in populations will drive demand in consumer sectors, particularly in real estate, food and healthcare. Challenges in terms of finding the balance between investor aspirations and political and policy considerations will form key considerations in terms of structuring investments into the continent.”
“We will continue to support our clients by driving and improving innovation around our services,” Jacobs says.