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DealMakers Annual Gala Awards

Private Equity Deal of the Year

At the end of each year, DealMakers calls on the corporate finance industry to submit their nominations for PE Deal of the Year.

With the assistance of the independent panel, and taking into account the number of nominations each deal has received, a shortlist of 3 - 5 deals is announced. 

These deals are then evaluated by the Independent Panel and they select a winner based on a variety of criteria, including but not limited to:

The transformational aspects of the deal   |   The execution complexity   |   The deal size   |   The potential value creation of the deal 

2023 PE Deal of the Year

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Exit by Carlyle Group of Tessara to AgroFresh 

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In 2018, Carlyle’s sub-Saharan Africa Fund acquired a majority stake in Cape-based Tessara. In 2023 the private equity firm exited its investment through a competitive auction process. AgroFresh is an AgTech innovator and global leader in post-harvest produce freshness and packaging solutions; Tessara specialises in SO2 generating sheets to prevent fungal decay and are sold in over 22 countries on five continents. During its tenure, Carlyle focused on strengthening Tessara’s R&D, new product innovation and on expanding the capacity of its manufacturing facilities.

The local advisers to the deal were:

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Other shortlisted nominees for the 2023 Catalyst Private Equity Deal of the Year:

RCL Foods' disposal of Vector Logistics to AP Møller

Remgro-owned RCL Foods sold its frozen logistics business, Vector Logistics, to a South African subsidiary of A.P. Møller Capital, a Danish fund manager and part of global shipping and logistics group A.P. Møller-Maersk. The R1,25bn deal was two years in the making following a competitive disposal process to seek a strategic partner. The deal will enable Vector Logistics to expand its supply chain expertise and logistics services to meet growing demand in Africa.

Local Advisers: Rand Merchant Bank, Baker McKenzie, White & Case (SA), Webber Wentzel and EY.

Capitalworks' exit of Robertson and Caine to Vox Ventures

Capitalworks, an alternative asset management firm, has exited its 2015 investment in South Africa’s largest boat builder, Robertson and Caine, to international investment company Vox Ventures, a wholly owned subsidiary of PPF, a European investment firm. The deal represents one of the most significant foreign direct investments in the marine industry in South Africa. The business has been positioned to benefit from the next phase of growth offered by a strategic investor. 

Local Advisers: CMS, Werksmans, Webber Wentzel and PwC.

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2022 PE Deal of the Year

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Actis' exit of Lekela Power

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Marylou Greig (DealMakers), Arie Maree (Ansarada), David Cooke (Actis) and Michael Avery (Catalyst).

The US$1,5 billion deal announced in July 2022 with the acquisition of Lekela Power’s assets in South Africa, Egypt and Senegal by Infinity Group and Africa Finance Corporation, represents Africa’s biggest Renewable Energy M&A deal with a combined installed generation capacity of 1.0GW and including a 1.8GW pipeline of greenfield projects. The platform was established in 2015 as part of a joint venture between Actis (60%) and Mainstream (40%). The planned exit reflects the successful culmination of the partnership which has seen Lekela become the continent’s largest pure-play renewable Independent Power Producer.

The local advisers to the deal were:

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Comment from the Independent Panel: This $1,5bn deal in the important renewables sector stood out because of its pan-African footprint, size and complexity, and its strategic significance in creating one of the largest renewable players across Africa and the
Middle East, with an exciting growth pipeline.

Other nominees for 2022 were:

Exit by Rockwood Private Equity of EnviroServ to SUEZ SA, Royal Bafokeng Holdings and African Infrastructure Investment Managers

The waste treatment and disposal company with facilities across South Africa, Mozambique and Uganda was acquired in October by a consortium comprising SUEZ SA (51%), Royal Bafokeng Holdings (24.5%) and African Infrastructure Investment Managers (24.5%) in an exit led by Rockwood Private Equity. The transaction, one of the largest SA private equity exits in 2022, provides a strategic platform for its new shareholders and enables French utility Suez, to strengthen its position on the African continent while providing expertise and knowledge to the local waste management landscape.

Advisers to the deal were:
Standard Bank, Rand Merchant Bank, Quercus Corporate Finance, Bowmans, Baker McKenzie and Roodt.

Exit by RMB Ventures Six and management of Studio 88 to Mr Price
The exit by RMB Ventures and current management of a 70% stake in Studio 88 for a total transaction value of R3,3 billion, marks for RMB Ventures, the end of a 9-year journey with the company. One which has seen exceptional growth, most of which has been organic growth funded by internally generated cashflows. For Mr Price, the acquisition represents an opportunity to expand into the aspirational value segment of the market.

Advisers to the deal were:
Rand Merchant Bank, Investec Bank, Bowmans, Deloitte and Renmere Advisory.

2021 PE Deal of the Year

Gold Medal award

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Acorn Agri & Food’s acquisition of Ascendis Animal Health

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Marylou Greig (DealMakers), Carl Neethling (Acorn Private Equity), Arie Maree (Ansarada) and Johan van Zyl (Acorn Private Equity)

Acorn Agri & Food (AAF), managed by Acorn Private Equity, first engaged in 2020 with Ascendis Health on the sale of Ascendis Animal Health (AAH), a provider of animal health and veterinary products. The attractiveness of AAH was its significant competitive advantages and barriers to entry. After extensive engagement and negotiations, with two preferred bidders, heightened by the processes of restructuring, recapitalisation and time constraints the holding company was under, the R770 million deal with AAF was concluded in July 2021.

The local advisers to the deal were:

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Comment from the Independent Panel: Many smart and timely deal opportunities are found in the non-core assets which are disposed of when corporate restructuring and recapitalisation take place. Our winning transaction involving Ascendis Animal Health is a classic PE deal involving good cash generative assets and concluded at good and fair valuation for both the seller and the buyer.

Other nominees for 2021 were:

Lonsa and Legacy Africa’s acquisition of Everite 
The building materials company was acquired by a private equity consortium comprising Lonsa (55.49%), Legacy Africa Capital Partners (25.01%), Everite management (14.5%) and M Netshitangani (5%) following a highly competitive auction. The sale was part of Group Five’s business rescue process which commenced in March 2019. The c. R600 million deal entailed complicated structuring given that Group Five was in business rescue but realised positive value for both the seller and purchaser relative to pre-business rescue valuations. 

The local advisers to the deal were:

Metis Strategic Advisers, Birkett Stewart McHendrie, Werksmans, Mazars and ENSafrica

Ata Fund III / Manco SPV acquisition of Respiratory Care Africa 
Surgical Innovations disposed of RCA in May 2021 to a newly formed special purpose vehicle held by Ata Fund III (80%), managed by black-owned alternative asset class fund manager Ata Capital, and RCA management (20%).  The R450 million disposal of the supplier of respiratory, monitoring, radiology and other medical equipment, formed part of Ascendis Health’s deleveraging strategy. RCA yielded extraordinary results in the Financial 2021 year, reflecting demand for products in the treatment of patients of COVID-19 related ailments. 

The local advisers to the deal were:

Rothschild & Co, Sapila Capital, Questco, ENSafrica, Falcon & Hume, Webber Wentzel and PwC

MVM Holding’s acquisition of a majority stake in The Sharks 
In January 2021 New York-based international investment consortium MVM Holdings acquired a 51% majority stake in The Sharks franchise. The deal, the first of its kind for sport in South Africa, provides long term stability boosting its ability to attract and retain talent, grow the game locally and internationally and create opportunities for players from diverse backgrounds. Existing shareholders KZN Rugby Union and SuperSport collectively hold the remaining 49%.

The local advisers to the deal were:

Werksmans and Webber Wentzel

2020 PE Deal of the Year 

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Capitalworks' acquisition of Peregrine

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Local Advisers

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Garth Willis, Director | Capitalworks Equity Partners

The R4,2 billion offer to qualifying shareholders presented an option to elect to receive a cash consideration of R21 per share and/or a leveraged re-investment option through the subscription of shares in one of Capitalworks’ buyout vehicles (InvestCo share consideration offer priced at R17.40 per offer share). The attractive structure of the offer resulted in approval from 99.9% of shareholders with the reinvestment election, which will see benefits from the support of Capitalworks as a key anchor shareholder, oversubscribed. 

Other nominees for 2020 were:

Actis’ acquisition of Octotel and RSAWeb 
In October 2020 Actis, via its Neoma Africa-manged fund, entered into a number of agreements to acquire a controlling interest in Octotel, a local fibre-to-the-home operator and a non-controlling interest in RSAWeb, an internet service provider. Caxton and CTP Publishers and Printers and the Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund have fully exit their respective positions in the two entities. The investment into this high growth Digital Infrastructure sector was valued at R2,3 billion.

The local advisers to the deal were: Rand Merchant Bank, AcaciaCap, Webber Wentzel, Fluxmans, EY, BDO and Deloitte.

Metier Capital Growth Fund II/ Retailability acquisition of Edgars 
Edcon was placed under business rescue in April 2020. The plan approved was for the sale of parts of the company including the Edgars business. Retailability, backed by Metier, saw the potential of the brand and took the opportunity to acquire a significant portion of the Edgars business in South Africa, Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho and Namibia at a favourable price. The deal gives Retailability access to more of the middle to upper end of the mass market.

The local advisers to the deal were: Matuson Associates, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr and ENSafrica.

2019 PE Deal of the Year 

Gold Medal sponsored by

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Acorn Private Equity for partial exit of Bearnibbles SA

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Other Nominees for 2019:​

Actis' exit of Compuscan and ScoreSharp to Experian

RMB Ventures and Bopa Moruo Fund II acquisition of Cargo Compass

Phatisa's disposal of an 85% stake in Meridian Consolidated Investments

Recapitalisation of Brait and introduction of Ethos as an equity partner

Richard Stewart (SibanyeStillwater), Arie Maree (Ansarada), Carl Neethling (Acorn Private Equity), Michael Avery (Catalyst) and Johan van Zyl (Acorn Private Equity).

2018 PE Deal of the Year 

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Other Nominees for 2018:​

Community Investment Ventures Holdings (CIVH) acquisition of Vumatel

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Gold Medal Award


Carlyle Group's acquisition of Tessara from RMB Ventues

Ethos acquisition of SoftBev for the Beverage Company 

Neal Froneman - Sibanye-Stillwater, Sam Riley - Ansarada, Jessica Spira - Rand Merchant Bank, Michael Avery - Catalyst, Marylou Greig - DealMakers and Gareth Armstrong - Rand Merchant Bank

2017 PE Deal of the Year 

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Gold Medal Award


Disposal by Capitalworks of Much Asphalt 

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Other Nominees for 2017:​

Standard Charted Private Equity and Development Capital Partners sale of their 72% stake in Kamoso Distribution to a consortium led by Investec Asset Management and RMB Ventures

The acquisition by Capitlworks of Sovereign Food Investments 

Arie Maree (Ansarada),Garth Willis (Capitalworks), Neal Froneman (Sibanye-Stillwater) and Michael Avery (Catalyst)

2016 PE Deal of the Year 

Disposal by Actis of Tekkie Town to Steinhoff

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Other Nominees for 2016:​

Gold Medal Award

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African Rainbow Capital for Afrimat

Ethos for Eazi Group

Rockwood for Tsebo

Arie Maree (Ansarada),Charl Keyter (Sibanye Gold), Michael Avery (Catalyst) and David Cook (Actis)

2015 PE Deal of the Year 

Other Nominees for 2015:​

Disposal by Ethos of Plumblink to Bidvest

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Gold Medal Award

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Ethos for the Nampak divisions

Old Mutual PE For MoreCorp

Actis for Food Lovers Market

Jos van Zyl (Ethos), Arie Maree (Ansarada), Stephen Dearing (Ansarada) and Neal Froneman (Sibanye Gold)

2014 PE Deal of the Year 

Other Nominees for 2014:​

Acquisition by Actis of Compuscan

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Gold Medal Award

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Ali Mazanderani (Actis), Daryl Wray (Cell C), Charl Keyter (Sibanye Gold) and Michael Avery (Catalyst)

Ethos for Tiger Automotive 

Actis for Tekkie Town 

Vantage Capital for Surfline Communications

RMB Ventures and Bopu Moruo for One Digital Media

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