Steinhoff International, which owns Poundland and Bensons for Beds in the UK and US furniture chain Mattress Firm among other discount retail brands in Europe, Australia and the US, faces a potential fire sale of its global retail holdings as it battles for survival. After a week in which its shares collapsed and its bonds were downgraded to junk amid an accounting scandal that prompted CEO Markus Jooste to quit, the multinational needs to appease the creditors it owed more than $21bn as of the end of March. To raise liquidity it may have to part with assets it built up in a two-decade acquisition drive. "It’s so important that these companies that are going concerns are separated out, taken care of and put back into an operational situation," Bruce Main, a money-manager at Ivy Asset Management in Johannesburg, said by phone. "The right action needs to be taken to ensure that the businesses that can survive are put into a situation where they can continue." After losing more than fo...

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