(l-r) Host, broadcaster Leanne Manas; Koos Pretorius, joint head of corporate commercial and Lydia Shadrach-Razzino, director; awards judge Talenta Chavalala, senior legal adviser, Development Bank of Southern Africa; far right, Otsile Matlou, head of mining (l-r) Host, broadcaster Leanne Manas; Koos Pretorius, joint head of corporate commercial and Lydia Shadrach-Razzino, director; awards judge Talenta Chavalala, senior legal adviser, Development Bank of Southern Africa; Otsile Matlou, head of mining

Finalists: Baker & McKenzie; Bowmans; Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (highly commended); Norton Rose Fulbright; Webber Wentzel

ENSafrica’s work on the proposed $106bn (£85bn) merger between Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller netted it the Competition and Regulatory Team of the Year award.

The firm was engaged by AB InBev to advise on the commercial law and regulatory aspects of the deal in various African jurisdictions, with a focus on securing merger approval in South Africa. ENSafrica played a key role in negotiations between the company and the South African government, helping conclude the merger hearing in just three days and thereby reducing legal costs (opposition from ministry departments – as was the case, for instance, in Walmart’s acquisition of a controlling stake in Massmart – can severely delay merger proceedings). That rapid completion was down to the firm’s marshalling of a multi-disciplinary team of lawyers, economists, bankers and supply-chain experts in devising a package that appealed to ministers.

Part of that deal will see AB InBev invest 1bn rand (£0.6m) over five years to ensure fair competition in the market by establishing thriving barley, hops, malt and maize industries that will boost jobs in rural communities. The firm also worked with Webber Wentzel and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in providing competition law advice in relation to merger proceedings across other parts of Africa.