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DealMakers - 2019 Annual

Jako van der Walt (Morgan Stanley)  

Jako has been at the forefront of local deal-making for the past 25 years. A Chartered Accountant by training, Jako spent the first 10 years of his investment banking career at Morgan Stanley, before joining JP Morgan where he was Head of M&A and later also Head of Metals and Mining. 

At JP Morgan, he was involved in the restructuring of Barloworld and the unbundling of PPC, the Vodacom unbundling and listing, and the unbundling of Sibanye from Gold Fields, as well as significant capital raisings for Gold Fields, Naspers, and Sasol. Thereafter, Jako rejoined Morgan Stanley as Head of South Africa Investment Banking in 2016, and has worked on landmark trans-actions such as the sub-IPO of Pepkor, the acquisition by Tokio Marine of a stake in Hollard, and CIVH’s acquisition of Vumatel.

DealMaker of the Year

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Jako van der Walt

During 2019, Jako originated and led transactions such as Impala Platinum’s incentivised conversion of its USD convertible bonds, and the unbundling of MultiChoice. He led the execution and structuring from inception, as part of a series of strategic transformational transactions, of the listing of Naspers’ technology assets in Prosus (R1,95trn), which is shortlisted for the Brunswick Deal of the Year. Jako was involved in South32’s sale of its South African coal business to Seriti Resources, shortlisted for the Exxaro BEE Deal of the Year, following an exhaustive and competitive sales process which achieved all of South32’s initial transaction objectives.  

Comment from the Independent Panel:  
Jako played a lead role in a number of the headline- grabbing deals of 2019. He has been a leading dealmaker in the South African market for over two decades and leads a small team in South Africa that has re-established Morgan Stanley in the local advisory market. He is known as a strong dealmaker who represents his clients well, and is respected by his peers.

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The leading candidates in alphabetical order

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Jesse Watson

Jesse Watson (Webber Wentzel) 


Jesse, a Partner in the Corporate Practice at Webber Wentzel, specialises in all aspects of cross-border and domestic mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, equity capital markets transactions and securities regulation.


This is the second year that Jesse has made the shortlist for the award. During 2019, he was involved in the R46,52bn MultiChoice Group listing which was a precursory step towards the formation and listing of Prosus N.V., Naspers’ new global consumer internet group and the largest listed consumer internet group in Europe (R1,95trn) – a transaction shortlisted for the 2019 Brunswick Deal of the Year. Getting the complex multi-phased transaction over the line involved obtaining approvals from various listing and regulatory authorities locally and in the Netherlands, advising on cross-border settlement infra-structure to ensure fungibility between shares traded on the JSE and Euronext Amsterdam, managing divergent stakeholder concerns and ensuring shareholder approval. Jesse was also involved in the creation of the innovative Naspers M share structure to facilitate the implementation of the deal, giving shareholders the option to convert these shares to Prosus shares, or receive additional Naspers shares.


Jesse is known for his ability to remain calm under pressure, possessing an astounding work ethic and strong attention to detail. He has deep relationships with market participants, and regulatory authorities, and technical knowledge of the rules.


Jesse has B.Bus.Sci, Hons and LLB degrees from the University of Cape Town. He also has Certificates in Advanced Company Law and Advanced Securities Law from the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of South Africa respectively.

Comment from the Independent Panel:  

Jesse’s hard work particularly in the Equity Capital Markets arena, is recognised for the second year in a row. His peers and clients hold him in very high regard, and his deal list over the last three years or so is testament to his leading position in the market.

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Johan Holtzhausen

Johan Holtzhausen (PSG Capital)  

Johan is the Managing Director of PSG Capital, the firm he has built from scratch. He has over 20 years of corporate finance experience and has specifically identified, evaluated and negotiated numerous private equity and other transactions including BEE deals.  

In 2019, Johan was the lead negotiator on behalf of Pioneer Foods, in its acquisition by PepsiCo, the winner of the 2019 Brunswick Deal of the Year Award. The R26,3bn deal was complex, involving joint venture partners and regulators over multiple jurisdictions across the globe. The deal was negotiated at a time when economic and political confidence in SA was low and it was important to, at all times, keep all parties motivated and committed to stay the course and see the transaction through. He has worked on a number of high profile transactions in recent years for clients including Sirius, Schroders, Capevin, Capespan, Curro, Stadio, Zeder and the PSG Group.

Johan has been described by peers in the industry as having an excellent business sense and a fine grasp of legal and financial matters. He is known for his high energy level, loyalty and dedication to his clients, and the people around him. He seamlessly advises in all deal-making arenas, calling on professionals with the relevant deal expertise where required, and like a good conductor, ensuring that all the various professional and client teams come together to close the transaction. 

Johan is an admitted attorney and a member of the Law Society. Prior to joining PSG Capital, he was appointed by the Minister of Finance as a chairperson of the Special Income Tax Court for Gauteng. 

Comment from the Independent Panel:  

Johan’s background makes him a formidable financial adviser – equally comfortable providing advice in commercial and structuring aspects of deals. 2019 was a highlight as he led advisory for Pioneer Foods on the PepsiCo transaction. He is admired by his peers and clients alike.

Kevin Trudgeon (Werksmans) 


Kevin heads up Werksmans’ Commercial Department and has an extremely broad range of commercial experience, embodying all aspects of mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, private equity, governance, flotations, employee incentives and diverse financing transactions.


He has worked on a number of complex and high profile corporate transactions, often as the lead attorney. Deals include Aspen’s worldwide divestiture of its nutritional business (R10bn), the sale of Edcon’s card business (R10bn), Datatec’s disposal of its Westcon-Comstor business in North and Latin America, and Steinhoff in connection with the launch of an accelerated bookbuild offering to place up KAP Industrial shares (R4,8bn). Kevin also advised in a number of key private/public partnerships.


More recently, he was the lead attorney advising Clover Industries on the high profile acquisition by the Milco consortium of investors, a deal that will have a significant impact on the dairy industry in South Africa. The transaction, valued at R4,8bn, and a number of years in the making, was highly regulated by the JSE and the Takeover Regulation Panel and involved significant competition issues. The successful closure on favourable terms agreed between a large number of stakeholders, including seven law firms, was no small feat. The deal has been shortlisted for the 2019 Brunswick Deal of the Year.


Kevin has a BA LLB from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Comment from the Independent Panel:  

Kevin has been one of South Africa’s leading M&A attorneys for around two decades. 2019 was a significant year for him advising Clover on its take private transaction. Hardworking and commercially astute he has been recognised by his peers, clients and the broader advisory fraternity.

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Kevin Trudgeon
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