Finalists: Allen & Overy; Aluko & Oyebode; DLA Piper; MMC Africa Law; Webber Wentzel (highly commended).

Bowmans scooped the TMT Team of the Year prize, for its work on a multimillion-dollar joint venture to invest in a provider of open-access fibre-optic networks across sub-Saharan Africa.

The deal will boost the availability of broadband services in countries where internet connectivity is deficient. Bowmans advised its client on a range of transactional matters, such as the formation of the joint venture, the restructuring of its client’s various African entities, the transfer of TMT licences, and financing. That meant drafting legal documentation in each relevant jurisdiction (as well as coordinating with local lawyers in countries where Bowmans does not have an office), managing all applications, securing approvals and liaising with regulators. That also involved coming up with innovative solutions to surmount various regulatory hurdles, particularly in those countries where the novelty of the deal meant there were regulatory grey areas to resolve.

The transaction was unique for Africa’s TMT sector, given that it involved a number of multinational organisations and the harmonisation of laws in several jurisdictions (such as licensing, competition, employment and tax law).

“A highly complicated transaction with social and developmental significance,” said a judge.

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