At first glance it does look as though Mergence Investment Managers has just paid R420m to become a junior member of Christo Wiese’s control pool at Brait. That sounds like an excellent deal for Wiese, who is thought to be under some cash pressure in the wake of the Steinhoff implosion, but not such a good one for Mergence or the funds it manages.

A voting-pool arrangement tends to be dominated by the major shareholder in that pool and minority investors struggle to secure privileges, such as any influence on the underlying strategy. The Brait voting pool represents 46.35% of Brait’s shares. Wiese’s private company Titan remains the largest shareholder by a long shot with a stake of more than 35%. The 27.3-million Brait shares just purchased by Mergence lifts the investment manager’s stake to 9%.

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