A Steinhoff International Holdings logo outside the company’s offices in Stellenbosch. The company plans to list its African retail business on the JSE by the end of the third quarter of this year. Photo: Bloomberg

JOHANNESBURG - Steinhoff abandoned plans to merge with Shoprite in February, but billionaire Christo Wiese, who is the largest shareholder in both companies and their chairperson, said he wanted to consolidate his holdings.

After the merger was called off, Steinhoff moved to list its African retail assets separately on the JSE and said on Friday that it had established a single company, Star, through which to effect the listing.

Steinhoff has gradually expanded from a South African furniture wholesaler to a global discount retailer, acquiring Britain’s Poundland, US-based Mattress Firm and Australia’s Fantastic in the past two years.
Acquiring control of Shoprite will give it access to grocery shoppers in South Africa and 14 other African markets, including the fast-growing consumer hubs of Nigeria, Angola and Zambia.

File Photo: South African magnate Christo Wiese, whose companies include Steinhoff and investment heavyweight Brait.

Steinhoff said it had entered into call option agreements with Titan Premier Investments, a company ultimately controlled by a Wiese family trust, as well as the Public Investment Corporation and Lancaster Group. 

Once the call options were exercised and implemented, Star would hold about 22.7percent of the economic interest and 50percent of the voting rights in Shoprite. The deal would value Shoprite’s ordinary shares, deferred voting shares and cash at a combined R35.5bn, the company said.

Also read: Steinhoff profit rises 13%

Star would remain a unit of Steinhoff and would house all the firm’s African assets except its logistics unit Unitrans, Steinhoff said. Pep would be the largest single asset in Star’s stable. Steinhoff bought it in 2014 for R63bn.

-REUTERS