Mr Ezra Davids

Ezra Davids is the chairman of Corporate/M&A at Bowmans specialising in mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, and securities law.

Some of the most recent transactions in which Ezra has advised on include his role as lead partner in the firm acting as South African legal counsel to PepsiCo on its acquisition of Pioneer Foods, which was named deal of the year by DealMakers 2020 in South Africa (USD 1,7 billion), the acquisition was one of PepsiCo’s largest outside the United States and acted as lead partner in the following matters: South African counsel to SAB Miller in its combination with AB InBev (1.5 trillion rand/$107 billion), acting for Tokyo Stock Exchange listed Kansai Paint Co. Limited in its successful hostile bid for JSE Listed Freeworld Coatings Limited (ZAR 3,3 billion) – which is still the first and only successful cross border hostile bid in South Africa, acting as South African counsel to Bharti in its then proposed merger with MTN (USD 24 billion); advising Verizon Communications in its disposal of its subsidiary, Verizon Business (South Africa); acting as South African Counsel to M1 and Investcom in the latter’s acquisition by MTN (USD 5.5 billion); acting as the lawyers to Dis-Chem, a major South African pharmaceuticals retailer on its recent IPO on the JSE (ZAR 20 billion); acting as the lawyers to Alexander Forbes, a major South African financial services company on its IPO on the JSE (ZAR 12 billion); acting as the lawyers to PPC (the largest cement company in South Africa) in successfully defending itself in the most high profile shareholders activism in South Africa where there was an attempt to replace the entire board, and in its response to an approach by Afrisam for a proposed combination of the largest and second largest cement manufacturers in South Africa; advising Barrick Gold Corporation in its disposal of Barrick Gold South Africa (USD 1.55 billion) and acting for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup in the disposal by Polyus (Norilisk) of its entire shareholding in Gold Fields Limited (USD 2.02 billion); for SABMiller in the USD 1 billion BEE transaction for its South African subsidiary; and as South African counsel for PPR in the disposal of its furniture and household goods business, Conforama, to JSE-listed Steinhoff International Holdings Limited (ZAR 12 billion).

Ezra is also the relationship partner for several of the firm’s major clients such as PepsiCo, Bharti, Orange, Barrick Gold Corporation, Microsoft, UPS, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, ExxonMobil, Total and many others.

He is the former chairman of the Faculty Advisory Board of the Law School of the University of Cape Town and a serving member of the university’s council (board of governors); member of the board of trustees of the Legal Resources Trust and Freedom Under Law; director of the Social Justice Initiative; and a patron of the student sponsorship programme (a non-profit organisation focusing on providing high school education to disadvantaged students).

He is also the former chairman of the recent developments in mergers and acquisitions subcommittee of the corporate M&A committee of the International Bar Association and is a serving member of that committee.

He is also a regular contributor to international M&A and equity capital markets publications and is co-contributor on the mergers’ chapter of the Modern Company Law text book. Ezra was the first practicing African lawyer to be featured on the front page of the American Lawyer.

He holds a BA (UCT) (1989), LLB (UCT) (1992), H Dip Tax (Wits) and a certificate in Leadership in Law Firms from Harvard Law School.