Linklaters senior partner leads team advising on $4bn African retail spin-off and listing

Linklaters senior partner Charlie Jacobs is leading on South African conglomerate Steinhoff’s proposed spin-off and listing of its Africa retail assets – a deal that could create a business worth $4bn (£3.1bn).

Steinhoff plans to list its African retail business on the main board of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, before which it will group together its retail assets under a single holding company, known as ListCo.

Jacobs is advising Steinhoff on the spin-off alongside London-based US capital markets partner Mike Bienenfeld.

Jacobs has a long-term relationship with Steinhoff, which went on an acquisition spree in 2016, picking up UK discount retailer Poundland for £610m and acquiring US company Mattress Firm Holding for $2.4bn (£1.8bn). It also made unsuccessful bids for French retailer Darty and Argos owner Home Retail Group.

DLA Piper’s former South African alliance partner Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr and South African corporate boutique Girard Hayward are also advising Steinhoff on the listing.

Citigroup Global Markets, Investec Bank, Morgan Stanley & Co International and Rand Merchant Bank are advising on the listing, while corporate finance adviser PSG Capital is acting as the transaction and corporate sponsor to Steinhoff and ListCo.

Linklaters also advised Steinhoff on the acquisition of Poundland, with Jacobs leading the firm’s team. Linklaters stood to be the main beneficiary of £2.72m in legal fees generated by Steinhoff on that deal.

The firm also led for Steinhoff on its Mattress Firm deal, with a team led by New York corporate partners Scott Sonnenblick and Peter Cohen-Millstein.

Linklaters was conflicted out of the Home Retail group bid, as it was already acting for Home Retail in connection with Sainsbury’s approach, which was eventually successful. Travers Smith acted for Steinhoff on that bid, and also advised on the approach for Darty, with Linklaters playing a role as international counsel.

Corporate partner Jacobs was elected as the firm’s senior partner last year, starting his five-year term in September.