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Nigeria: M&A and Governance 2016

Although Nigeria’s M&A transactions in 2015 totalled $3.2 billion, with oil and gas conglomerates such as Mobil and Statoil tying up mergers in the country, it still saw a decrease in the number and value of deals from previous years. This may be accounted for by attempts at tighter regulation by Muhammadu Buhari’s new government. Two of its major goals are stamping out corruption, and bringing the economy back towards the growth it experienced in the early years of the decade – both difficult tasks that will continue to affect the M&A sphere. This chapter recognises 23 lawyers as leaders in the field.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Theophilus I Emuwa AÉLEX
Dan Agbor Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie
Yinka Edu Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie

Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie shows its “great expertise” in this sector with eight of its lawyers featured. Managing partner Dan Agbor is a leading name in our research and is noted for his “unparalleled knowledge” and “vast experience” of Nigerian corporate law. He has worked on some of the country’s most significant transactions, and has represented high-profile lenders including the IFC and the Standard Bank of South Africa. Senior partner Myma Belo-Osagie is a “famed practitioner”, who is noted for advising multinationals on legal issues surrounding major investment projects. Yinka Edu is considered “a leading figure” and is “well respected” for her work on complex cross-border transactions. Folake Elias-Adebowale is a “well-known name in the market”, who “always works hard for her clients”. Jumoke Lambo is “exceptional” in her work on legislative drafting, corporate restructuring, regulatory compliance and due diligence. Aniekan Ukpanah is “a top transactional lawyer” who respondents describe as “easy to work with and technically competent”.

Aluko & Oyebode sees four of its practitioners recommended. Chairman of the firm Gbenga Oyebode leads on many of the biggest M&A transactions as head of the corporate practice. Sources note that he has “a keen understanding of the issues and a creative approach to problem-solving”. Kofo Dosekun is a “seasoned expert” whose work in mergers and acquisitions stretches over two decades. Olubunmi Fayokun is “a consummate professional” who reportedly gives “clear and commercially orientated advice”. He has advised on various largescale international transactions, including Johnson & Johnson’s global acquisition of Pfizer Consumer Healthcare. Oghogho Makinde is “a go-to adviser”, who is noted for leading the team on many of its most notable cross-border mandates.

Three lawyers are recognised from the “standout” corporate team at Banwo & Ighodalo. Asue Ighodalo, the firm’s founder, is considered “an excellent negotiator” whose expertise in transactions is “second to none”. Ayotunde Owoigbe is head of the firm’s corporate finance group and is “great at getting to the heart of complex situations”. She has been involved in the majority of the firm’s M&A transactions. Femi Olubanwo is described by his clients as “meticulous” and “well-considered”.

Olumide Akpata at Templars is head of the corporate and commercial practice group, where he displays “flare” and an “excellent depth of knowledge”. His engagements have included advising local and international corporations on due diligence relating to the effects of Nigerian law on their companies. Chike Obianwu is “a leading player” in M&A transactions; he is mandated to act on high stake transactions, including advising American Tower on its $1.05 billion acquisition of Bharti Airtel’s Nigerian telecoms towers.

Olaniwun Ajayi also sees two of its lawyers recommended. Tominiyi Owolabi is recommended for his “well-thought-through, commercial approach”. Oluseye Opasanya is head of the banking, finance and capital markets group and is described as a “skilled practitioner” who “knows how to get the deal done”.

Founding partner of Adepetun Caxton-Martins Agbor & Segun Afolabi Caxton-Martins is “invaluable” for his experience in corporate and commercial transactions across several industries.

At AÉLEX, Theophilus Emuwa is “a leading individual” according to respondents; he shows “diligence” and “engages intellectually” with intricate corporate issues.

Gbolahan Elias SAN is the founder and managing partner of G Elias & Co, and is listed for his “strong and well-mannered approach”, twinned with “a pragmatism that is very effective when advising on transactions”.

Odujinrin & Adefulu’s Oladipo Odujinrin is managing partner of the firm and has advised on acquisitions in the aviation industry. He is also “highly valued” for his advice on compliance matters, in which he has “vast experience”.

Iboroma Akpana, managing partner of Solola & Akpana, is highly valued by market commentators for his “peerless abilities as a negotiator”.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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