DealMakers - 2021 Annual
Lydia Shadrach – Razzino (ENSafrica)
This is the second consecutive year that Lydia has been shortlisted for the Ince Individual DealMaker of the Year and the first time since the inception of the award in 2008 that it has been won by a woman. An executive in ENSafrica’s Corporate Commercial department, Lydia heads up the firm’s Private Equity team and co-leads one of the largest teams in the Corporate Commercial department. During her 21 years of experience, she has built up an impressive client list which includes Oppenheimer Partners, Massmart, PPC, Vodacom, The ARC Fund, RMB Ventures, RMB Corvest, Agile, Ascendis, Accelerate Property Fund, The Foschini Group, IFC, IFU, Norfund, Kleoss Capital, Business Connexion, Capitalworks and The Multiply Group.
Her experience includes advising on equity capital markets, private equity acquisitions and disposals, empowerment transactions, corporate governance, the South African Companies Act, 2008, IPOs, equity capital markets and stock exchange transactions in multiple sectors, including mining, banking and financial services, and telecoms.
DealMaker of the Year
Lydia has successfully completed a multitude of complex, cross jurisdictional transactions whilst ensuring that she grows a team of juniors in these specialisations, who are mostly women, and from diverse backgrounds. A solutions-orientated leader, she encourages learning in her team, and has earned a solid reputation in the Corporate Commercial department for finding novel solutions on transactions which have varying levels of complexities, with a penchant for highly complex structures.
Lydia worked on a number of high-profile transactions announced in 2021. She led the team in the negotiations and represented Vodacom in the R41bn Vodafone Egypt deal, which was chosen as the winning transaction for the Brunswick Deal of the Year 2021 by the DealMakers Independent Panel. With parties based in the Netherlands, the UK, Egypt and South Africa, co-ordinating a successful execution of the transaction was complex, and was governed by tight deadlines.
In the sale of Ascendis Animal Health by its parent, which was in the processes of restructuring, recapitalisation and under severe time constraints, Lydia represented the business of Ascendis Animal Health. She led the team in negotiations with a number of potential acquirers, navigating the various public and behind-the-scenes complexities requiring the quick, sound and reasonable thinking that comes with competing bidders. The sale of the business to Acorn Private Equity was another 2021 winner, this time of the Catalyst Private Equity Deal of the Year.
Lydia is said to develop great relationships with her clients; her approach is highly client centric and always results in sustainable, innovative and effective solutions for them. In nominating Lydia, her clients have described her as agile and nimble during transactions, with an impeccable ability to remain pragmatic and commercially sensible and balanced in her approach to a transaction.
Comment from the Independent Panel: This year’s panel fulfils last year’s panel’s prediction that Lydia is a future winner. Winning deals do not always result in one of the key advisers being crowned Top DealMaker, but this year, everything Lydia and her team touched turned to gold! Most of her significant deals did well, with two of them winning their categories. Triple gold for this consistent contender, who seems to have become a master at solving complex structures and translating them into practical agreements.
The leading candidates in no particular order
Ferdi Vorster (Rand Merchant Bank)
A member of the Rand Merchant Bank team since 2007, Ferdi has worked on a number of high-profile transactions. In 2013, his work with clients Cipla Medpro, Anglo American and Remgro earned him a place on the nominee shortlist for this award.
In nominating him, RMB says that he has a strong technical skill and a unique ability to develop deep and enduring client relationships, which have been borne out over his successful M&A career.
Following on from a successful 2020 year, closing the year out by leading the execution of The Foschini Group’s acquisition of Jet Stores out of the Edcon Group business rescue process, a transaction making the short list for Business Rescue Transaction of the Year, Ferdi continued in
Comment from the Independent Panel:
Ferdi is another finalist who builds on a strong year of successful deals in 2020. 2021 saw Ferdi lead several significant transactions, most notably acting for Distell in the proposed three-way combination with Heineken and Namibian Breweries. Despite the resultant delisting of Cartrack and the “interesting” choice of name for the Nasdaq listing, the panel recognises the significant value creation associated with the formation of the transaction that formed Karooooo, and Ferdi’s role in it.
Jesse Watson (Webber Wentzel)
Jesse, a partner in the Corporate Practice at Webber Wentzel, is described by his colleagues as an exceptional specialist in mergers and acquisitions and in equity capital markets transactions, with an impressive track record extending over a decade.
Recently, Jesse was involved in the Prosus/Naspers voluntary share exchange offer which made the shortlist as nominee for the 2021 Brunswick Deal of the Year.
2021 to lead several market-leading transactions, most notably acting for Distell, originating, planning and executing the proposed multi-jurisdictional deal with Heineken International, a deal which made the 2021 short list for Brunswick Deal of the Year. Interestingly, in 2018, Ferdi led the team on the restructure of Distell’s multi-tiered ownership structure and its subsequent relisting – a game changer for the company.
In addition, during the year, Ferdi led the execution of the acquisition by the Singaporean resident, Karooooo of the locally listed Cartrack, and the primary listing of Karooooo on the Nasdaq and JSE. He also worked on the sale of its 68.3% stake in Tanzanian-listed Tanga Cement by AfriSam to German multinational HeidelbergCement.
His leading role in the transaction, which spanned nearly two years, involved providing strategic advice in relation to the deal structure, while managing specialist teams and leading regulatory and other stakeholder interactions (including market participants and settlement infrastructure providers). The deal involved pre-transaction approvals from Prosus’ shareholders, the conclusion of a first-of-its-kind crossholding agreement, and the creation of a new class of equity security in Prosus’ capital, with built-in takeover protections. The transaction, which caught significant media attention, had an impact on entire markets and a multitude of disciplines on execution, with the JSE registering a record number of transactions in a single day, valued at R145bn.
Even when he is not the matter lead, Jesse continues to enable deal-making with his supporting roles, including in the recently announced and shortlisted nominee, Heineken International’s takeover of Distell, where he provided support in relation to technical structuring and implementation matters, playing a similar role in the recent R1,2bn investment by various private equity investors in SA fintech startup, Yoco.
His unwavering vision, consistency, leadership and overall contributions to the majority of the highly complex and high-profile deals in South Africa have earned him wide recognition in both local and international markets. This is the third time Jesse has been short listed for the Ince DealMaker of the Year award, previously in 2018 and 2019.
Comment from the Independent Panel: A top quality track record of dealmaking makes Jesse a deserving finalist once again. Even when he is not the matter lead, Jesse continues to provide excellent support to the core deal team in relation to technical structuring and implementation matters. High praise indeed, and fully endorsed by the panel.
David Tudor (Naspers/Prosus Group)
David has been a legal adviser to the Naspers Group of companies since 1996; though prior to 2008, this was as an external adviser. He was a Partner at Mallinicks Attorneys (now Webber Wentzel) and worked at international law firms, WilmerHale and Bird & Bird before joining MIH in the Netherlands. In 2008, he was appointed Naspers and MIH Group Senior Counsel. In this role, he led the legal teams for the group's M&A activities in Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, and Russia. David went on to become General Counsel of the Allegro Group (a subsidiary of MIH) and was subsequently promoted to the position of General Counsel: Global Transaction eCommerce at Naspers. In June 2015, he was appointed General Counsel of the Naspers Group, a position he holds today.
Comment from the Independent Panel: David Tudor was nominated as DealMaker of the Year for 2021 as he has, as in-house counsel, led the many complex multi-jurisdictional transactions that have been such an integral part of positioning the Naspers/Prosus companies as the giants that they are today. Although David is a South African-trained lawyer and has had a long career with the Group, he is no longer based in South Africa and, therefore, the Panel was, unfortunately, not able to consider David for the DealMaker of the Year award. David is technically gifted across multiple practice areas, commercial and business orientated, astute with regulatory and stakeholder touch points, and a natural leader, and the Panel felt that David’s exceptional contribution as a dealmaker for the Naspers Group over his long career deserved special recognition.