SALE OF UNIT
Mayfair could miss Lodestone deadline
Markus Jooste’s Mayfair Holdings will probably not have time to sell its consumer goods unit by the December deadline laid down by creditors if the High Court in Johannesburg interdicts the process at this point, Jooste’s investment company said.
Mayfair is trying to sell Lodestone Brands — through a mechanism that would force Lodestone’s minority shareholders to also offload their shares — to help it repay loans backed by now-collapsed Steinhoff shares.
But the founders of Lodestone’s three underlying firms, who are also minority shareholders of Lodestone, have gone to court in a bid to stop Mayfair and Standard Bank, the appointed investment bank, from going ahead with the sale. The matter was heard on Friday and judgment was reserved.
The applicants, who own about 22% of Lodestone, want an interdict to halt the process. They argued that Mayfair should either sell its shares without forcing them to do the same, or should sell its stake to them at fair value, or it should let them see the bids of interested parties so they can match the bids and buy out Mayfair’s shares.
Leonard Harris, senior counsel for the respondents, said the entire competitive sale process would be scuppered should the court grant the interdict.
He said since Lodestone’s memorandum of incorporation included a clause that allowed for the majority shareholder to launch a competitive sale process that roped in minorities, "there’s no unfair conduct".