Legal Week director of research James Mayer (left), with Alastair Dixon, director, Norton Rose Fulbright

Finalists: Bowmans; ENSafrica; Fasken Martineau; Hogan Lovells; TTA – Sociedade de Advogados (PLMJ Network) (Highly Commended); Webber Wentzel; Werksmans

Norton Rose Fulbright was named M&A Team of the Year for its work on Barclays’ $2.8bn sale of a roughly 33% stake in Barclays Africa, reducing its shareholding to 23.4%. The deal was the largest book build on record in South Africa, and was managed by a cross-practice team from Norton Rose Fulbright’s London, Johannesburg and Toronto offices.

The transaction is part of a wider effort to cut Barclays’ ownership to a level that will allow it to deconsolidate Barclays Africa from a regulatory and accounting perspective, with further sell-downs planned that will eventually pare its shareholding to around 15%. Led by Barclays relationship partners Alan Bainbridge and Kevin Cron, the deal triggered a number of complex challenges around the separation arrangements (such as the transitional services and transitional trademark licence agreements) between the different banking groups involved, which have operations in multiple jurisdictions across Africa.

Barclays said few firms would have the necessary resources in London and Africa to handle a transaction of this scale, praising Norton Rose Fulbright’s deep understanding of the bank’s African business and its ability to anticipate problems that would have delayed the deal. “Very complex multidisciplinary and cross-jurisdictional team cohesion shown,” one judge observed.

To return to the full list of winners, click here.