Billionaire Christo Wiese is loosening his grip on Shoprite, the company he helped turn into the biggest food retailer in Africa after taking control of it almost four decades ago. On Tuesday Shoprite said it is in discussions with 77-year-old Wiese to unwind a holding structure that gives him a third of the voting rights, even though he holds only 16% of the ordinary shares. Shoprite CEO Pieter Engelbrecht said at a results presentation for the half-year to end-December that the proposed changes were due to concerns of shareholders who consider the capital structure of the group to be unfair. Over the years, Wiese has said he rarely gets involved in a company if he does not have control. For example, throughout the 1980s and 1990s he held a tight rein on low-cost retail giant Pepkor, which later became part of Steinhoff, with a pyramid structure, and later with shares that carried more votes than the rest. Steinhoff’s share price collapsed in December 2017 after the sudden resignat...

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