Linklaters Begins Talks on South Africa Alliance
Linklaters is drawing up plans to enter the sought-after African legal market, with the firm aiming to replicate its deal with Allens in Australia by linking up with one of South Africa’s leading independent law firms. The plans were set out to partners as part of the Magic Circle firm’s three-year strategy consultation earlier this year, and Linklaters hopes to reach an alliance agreement with a firm during the 2012-13 financial year.
The initiative is being overseen by emerging Europe, Middle East and Africa managing partner Sandeep Katwala, who is in charge of negotiations with potential alliance partners. London corporate partner Charlie Jacobs, originally from South Africa, is understood to have been taking soundings from the partnership.
Linklaters is in talks with a number of firms, but has not yet begun formal negotiations with any one potential partner. Any agreement reached, which will require partnership approval through a vote, is expected to take a similar shape to the deal agreed with Allens — formerly Allens Arthur Robinson — earlier this year. That deal, which went live in May, saw the firms entering into an exclusive alliance in Australia and Asia, alongside an energy resources and infrastructure joint venture in Asia with shared future investment, and a joint venture in Indonesia with shared revenues.
The South African tie-up will have an emphasis on the mining sector, with options under consideration including a mining joint venture with a local firm that could see the pair sharing the costs associated with expanding the practice across Africa. Linklaters already has established referral relationships with many of South Africa’s leading law firms and shares client relationships with practices including Werksmans and Webber Wentzel, both of which work with mining giant Anglo American.