Ann Crotty Writer-at-large

Steinhoff’s cash-strapped US operation, Mattress Firm, has filed for voluntary bankruptcy as part of a restructuring that will result in up to 20% of its 3,400 stores closing and the sale of 49.9% of the business to funders who are providing $525m to support the restructuring. The restructuring, which comes just more than two years after Steinhoff paid a hefty $2.4bn for 100% of the largest mattress retailer in the US and took on its $1.4bn debt, includes the repayment of $84m to Steinhoff and its release from loan guarantees to Mattress Firm. The August 2016 acquisition was given the thumbs up by the market despite the payment of a premium of 115% for the debt-laden mattress retailer. The deal was the last major transaction by Steinhoff before reports of accounting irregularities in December 2017 led to a 95% slide in its share price within a matter of weeks, wiping more than R190bn off its market capitalisation in what has become one of the largest corporate scandals in SA history...

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