Charles Smith

Charles Smith

Johannesburg, South Africa
T: +27 11 669 9353
  • Overview
  • Experience
  • Publications & Insights


Charles is a partner in the Johannesburg office and a member of the Firm’s Mergers and Acquisitions Practice.  He advises clients on their strategic corporate transactions (including takeover bids, private acquisitions and disposals, mergers, joint ventures, restructurings, demergers, black economic empowerment transactions, listings and all forms of equity raises). He also advises more generally on company law, securities law (including market abuse and insider trading, prospectus requirements and stock exchange requirements) and corporate governance. 

His clients include local listed companies, multinationals, institutional investors and private equity houses.

He advises across a broad range of sectors, but with particular experience in the financial services, IT, FMCG and industrial sectors.

Over the years, Charles has advised on a number of significant inward investment transactions in the South African marketplace.  His whole career has been spent at Bowmans, other than 2008 and 2009 when he practiced in London at one of the leading City law firms.

Specialist Services

Relevant Experience

A selection of transactions on which Charles has advised includes:

  • Imperial Logistics on:
    • DP World’s ZAR 12.7 billion takeover bid for Imperial Logistics; and
    • the disposal of its European shipping business for ZAR 3.6 billion;
  • Standard Bank, as majority shareholder, on its ZAR 10.6 billion cash and shares take private offer for Liberty Holdings;
  • One Thousand and One Voices and Crossfin on their acquisition of Sybrin from EOH;
  • Alexander Forbes on:
    • the ZAR 2 billion divestment by Mercer of its anchor shareholding in Alexander Forbes by way of simultaneous (i) bilateral sale to African Rainbow Capital, and (ii) specific repurchase by Alexander Forbes;
    • the ZAR 2 billion divestment of its South African short-term insurance business to Momentum Metropolitan, as well as the separate divestment of its Namibian short-term insurance business to Momentum Metropolitan; and
    • the divestment of its South African group risk and retail life business to Sanlam;
  • Fairfax Africa:
    • as anchor shareholder in Grobank, on the two-tranche equity investment by Nigerian bank, Access Bank plc, in Grobank resulting in the first inward investment by an African bank into the South African banking sector (nominated for the IFLR Africa Awards 2021 M&A deal of the year);
    • on its R1.1 billion equity and debt investment in Consolidated Infrastructure Group pursuant to the recapitalisation of Consolidated Infrastructure Group by way of simultaneous debt standstill, underwritten rights offer and convertible loan.
  • Associated British Foods both on its initial ZAR 3.8 billion partial offer for Illovo Sugar in 2005 and its subsequent ZAR 5.6 billion take private offer in 2016.
  • SABMiller on the merger of the bottling operations of The Coca-Cola Company, SABMiller and Gutsche Family Investments’ (majority shareholders in Coca-Cola SABCO) in Southern and East Africa to create Coca-Cola Beverages Africa, the leading bottler of soft drinks in Africa.
  • CFR Pharmaceuticals, on its ZAR 12.6 billion contested takeover bid for Adcock Ingram.

Signature Matters


  • Getting the Deal Through: Private M&A, 2019 and 2020.

Publications & Insights