Ryan Wessels

Ryan Wessels

Partner
Johannesburg, South Africa
T: +27 11 669 9479
E: ryan.wessels@bowmanslaw.com
  • Overview
  • Experience
  • Publications & Insights

Overview

Ryan is a partner in the firm’s mergers and acquisitions practice and a member of the firm’s partnership board, with over 18 years’ experience in advising on mergers and acquisitions, equity capital markets, corporate finance and securities law.

In the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) arena, he has a wealth of experience in advising on all aspects of domestic and cross-border M&A transactions, and has advised on significant public deals, private deals, black economic empowerment transactions and joint ventures. His practice is sector agnostic, and he has significant experience in advising on M&A in the energy, oil and gas, mining, telecommunications and private security / security services sectors.

In the equity capital markets and corporate finance (ECM) arena, Ryan has advised on several initial public offerings, secondary listings, rights offerings and equity placings.

In 2008, he completed a seven-month secondment stint at Deutsche Bank AG, and in 2012 through 2013 he practiced at premier U.S. law firm: Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.

Ryan has consistently been recognized as a ‘highly regarded / leading lawyer’ by the international research organization: IFLR1000 for his mergers and acquisitions and equity capital markets expertise (IFLR1000: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 editions).

Ryan has also been recognised as a leading lawyer by international research organisaton: Chambers Global: 2020.

Ryan is also the only lawyer from South Africa who holds the office of trusteeship on the securities law committee of the International Bar Association. 

‘Ryan Wessels is highly knowledgeable, proactive and dependable.’

– Chambers and Partners, 2023

‘Ryan is technically sound, has a good understanding of local and international standards, is commercial in his approach and very proactive on transactions.’

–  IFLR1000, 2018

Specialist Services

Relevant Experience

Some of the most recent M&A transactions in which Ryan has acted include advising:

  • Paine Schwarts Partners and its portfolio company, AgroFresh Solutions Inc., in its acquisition of Tessara from global investment firm, The Carlyle Group.  
  • Oslo-listed, Aker Horizons in its acquisition of a majority equity stake in Mainstream Renewable Power, a renewable energy company with significant assets/projects in South Africa.
  • AB InBev and SAB on the unwind of its SAB Zenzele BEE Scheme, and formation of new BEE scheme through the listing of SAB Zenzele Kabili.
  • Imperial Holdings Limited, in its buyback of all of its outstanding preference shares.
  • Harmony Gold Limited, in its USD 300 million acquisition of certain mining and related-infrastructure assets from AngloGold Ashanti Limited.
  • Tyco, in its sale of its ADT South African business to Fidelity (deal value ZAR 1.9 billion).
  • Affiliated Managers Group, Inc., in its acquisition of a minority interest in Abax Investments Proprietary Limited.
  • Standard Chartered Bank, in its acquisition of the custody and trustee businesses of Absa.
  • VeriFone Systems Inc. (NYSE), in its expansion into the South African and African market through an acquisition of the entire outstanding share capital of Destiny Electronic Commerce (Proprietary) Limited (a leading South African electronic payment machine operator) from the Business Connexion Group and various minority shareholders.

Some of the most recent ECM transactions in which Ryan has acted include advising:

  • Barloworld Limited in relation to the unbundling and separate listing of Zeda Limited, a car rental and vehicle leasing business (trading under the highly-recognisable “Avis” and “Budget” brands).
  • Imperial Holdings Limited, in its unbundling of its automotive business, housed in Motus Holdings Limited.
  • Vivo Energy Plc, in its simultaneous LSE primary listing and JSE secondary inward listing.
  • AEP Energy Africa Limited, in its listing as a SPAC on the JSE.
  • HSBC Bank plc and Absa Bank Limited in relation to Ascendis Health Limited’s ZAR 2.7 billion equity capital raising by way of a ZAR 1.2 billion rights offer and ZAR 1.5 billion vendor consideration placing.
  • Counsel to Rand Merchant Bank, ABSA, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley, as joint bookrunners, in relation to the ZAR 4.3 billion accelerated bookbuild primary offering by Growthpoint Properties Limited.
  • The bookrunner syndicate, including JP Morgan and Absa Bank Limited, in Harmony’s ZAR3.46bn private placement of new shares to part fund the acquisition of Mponeng and Mine Waste assets from AngloGold Ashanti.
  • AB InBev and SAB on the ZAR7.5bn private placement of AB InBev shares to part settle the unwind of its SAB Zenzele BEE Scheme.
  • Harmony Gold Limited, in its ZAR 1.26 billion capital raise, through a vendor consideration placing.
  • The underwriters in connection with the unbundling of Quilter Plc from Old Mutual Plc, and the subsequent listing and placing of Quilter on the London Stock Exchange and a secondary inward listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
  • The underwriting syndicate, including Citigroup, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Rand Merchant Bank, as joint global coordinators on the USD 1 billion rights offering by Sibanye Gold Limited.
  • The underwriting syndicate in relation to Lonmin Plc’s USD 407 million rights offer.
  • Merrill Lynch International and Scotia Capital Inc., in their capacity as joint bookrunners, in connection with Gold Fields Limited’s ZAR 2.5 billion accelerated bookbuild share placement.
  • Virgin Active Group Holdings Plc in relation to its proposed 2015 IPO.
  • GlaxoSmithKline on the sale of part of its equity stake in JSE listed Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Limited by way of an accelerated bookbuild share placement (deal value ZAR 10.5 billion).
  • Capital Appreciation Limited in its listing as a SPAC on the JSE.
  • Alexander Forbes in respect of its 2014 listing on the JSE.
  • The underwriting syndicate in respect of the Woolworths Group Holdings Limited rights offer in connection with refinancing the David Jones acquisition bridge.

Signature Matters

Awards

  • Ryan has consistently been recognised as a “highly regarded / leading lawyer” by the international research organization: IFLR1000, for his mergers and acquisitions and equity capital markets expertise (IFLR1000: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 editions).
  • Ryan has also been recognised as a leading lawyer by international research organisaiton: Chambers and Partners, 2020.
  • Ryan is also the only lawyer from South Africa who holds the office of trusteeship on the securities law committee of the International Bar Association.

‘Ryan Wessels is highly knowledgeable, proactive and dependable.’

– Chambers and Partners, 2023

“A pleasure to work with in general.”

“Ability to distill key messages and unpack legal concepts for a broader audience.

 Innovative solutions for complex situations.”

“Offers depth across various corporate law disciplines (M&A, capital markets, regulations) and so it able to provide fulsome advice and guidance.”

“Highly organised and forward-thinking, which helps him identify potential issues before they materialise; very good at aligning with his client against the other side, when necessary.”

–  IFLR1000, 2023

‘Ryan Wessels is always happy to talk about issues in the market not just when the clock is running.’

‘Good practical advice, cost effective, great market knowledge, great personality and very approachable.’  

‘Ryan Wessels is always happy to talk about issues in the market not just when the clock is running and has top tier understanding of the interplay between commercials, risk and legals.’

– IFLR1000, 2022

‘Ryan is technically sound, has a good understanding of local and international standards, is commercial in his approach and very proactive on transactions.’

–  IFLR1000, 2018

Publications & Insights