Virgin Active. Picture: SUPPLIED
Virgin Active. Picture: SUPPLIED

Brait’s share price rose 6.2% in early trade on Monday following a report that the investment holding company is looking to sell shares in Virgin Active. 

The group, in which Christo Wiese is a major shareholder, has seen its share price fall from highs of more than R170 in 2016 to a close of R13.21 last week, partly because of debt concerns and struggles in the UK amid Brexit uncertainty and a shift to online shopping.

Sky News reported on Friday that Brait had hired investment bank Morgan Stanley to seek a buyer for a minority stake in the health and fitness chain. Brait bought a majority stake in Virgin Active four years ago.

The most likely outcome was a sale to a pension fund or sovereign wealth fund, Sky News said.

Brait owns 71.9% of Virgin Active and a majority stake in Premier, the fast-moving SA consumer goods company that owns Blue Ribbon breads.

It also owns 63.1% of UK-based supermarket chain Iceland Foods and 18.5% of UK fashion retailer New Look.

Brait’s shares rose as much as 6.2% in early trade on Monday to R14.03.

Prior to the rally that started on Friday, Brait’s shares were trading at a 10-year low, partly because of New Look’s struggles in the UK.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za