London — Steinhoff International Holdings, the South African retail group, has got itself into a bit of a pickle. The company said on Tuesday that CEO Markus Jooste had resigned with immediate effect after it had discovered accounting irregularities that require further investigation. The stock fell as much as 60% in Frankfurt on Wednesday morning. Steinhoff’s problems make grim reading for any European or US retailer hoping to be bought by the group. Its remarkable acquisition spree is surely over. The owner of Conforama in France and Bensons For Beds in the UK emerged last year as a powerful force in retail mergers and acquisitions. It snapped up Poundland in the UK and Mattress Firm in the US. It also barged in — ultimately unsuccessfully — to J Sainsbury’s takeover of Argos and Groupe Fnac’s pursuit of Darty. And acquisitions weren’t confined to Steinhoff — its chairman, Christo Wiese, is also an acquisition force in his own right. Through his investment vehicle, Brait, he’s bou...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as articles from our international business news partners; ProfileData financial data; and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now