Billionaire Johann Rupert, South Africa's richest person, led a group that bought a Cape Buffalo bull named Mystery for a record R40 million.
"He's not a mystery anymore," Andrien White, the marketing manager for Thabo Tholo, a game reserve and animal breeder in Limpopo Province, said in a phone interview. Mystery's horns span 53 3/8 inches wide and the breed can weigh as much as a metric ton. "Obviously where he's going he's not going to be hunted, he'll be used as a breeding bull."
Two men bought Mystery on behalf of Rupert, Marinda van der Merwe, the marketing manager for Vleissentraal, a South African auctioneer, said by phone. The purchase set a record for the highest price paid for a buffalo, according to a an e-mailed statement on the sale. A sable antelope named 'Wiele', was also sold for R11 million.
Rupert, born in Johannesburg, is the oldest son of deceased industrialist Anton Rupert, who founded the tobacco company Rembrandt Group in 1948. The Cie. Financiere Richemont SA chairman, who is worth $8.8 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, said on May 16 that he will take a year off, leaving management of the world's second-biggest luxury-goods company to a team of executives including Cartier's former CEO.
Derek Light of Graff Reinet-based Derek Light Attorneys, who represents the billionaire and acts a spokesman, said he couldn't comment.
Mystery's horn size and status as disease free are the main factors behind the price of the animal, White said. Many wild buffalo in South Africa carry tuberculosis.
To be able to sell buffalo and move them around in South Africa "they have to be disease-free and there aren't many of those," she said. -Bloomberg