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What would have been Long4Life’s biggest deal to date is off the table. Brian Joffe’s acquisitive investment holding company has shelved a deal to buy fast-growing shoe group Rage, "by mutual consent". While Long4Life issued no further detail, the proposed R3.9bn offer, first pitched to the market in June, had raised eyebrows among analysts given its size relative to Long4Life’s own market capitalisation. At the time the deal was first mooted, Long4Life’s market cap was R5.3bn. That has since fallen to R4.5bn. Long4Life would have given up almost 23% of its shares to pay for the company, in addition to R2.4bn in cash, for which it would have had to raise R1.5bn in debt. Rage, which plans to open 90 new outlets a year, was expected to make R1.25bn in sales for the year ended June and R263m in profit, giving it a price-earnings multiple of 14.9. "It was surprising that Long4Life would have been willing to pay such a full price [for Rage] when the environment in which it operates was d...

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