Retail was pumping in the early 2000s. Sales growth hit a record high of 15.50% in September 2006 and averaged about 12% a year from 2004 to 2007. Average inflation in 2006 was 3.24% while GDP growth broke the 5% level. Economists were positive about the trajectory and forecast that SA would experience a sustained growth phase that would probably continue for another three to four years. In this context, several private equity deals were done in the retail sector. Bain, one of the world’s biggest private equity investors, approached Edcon for a R25bn buyout late in 2006. Once the deal was agreed in 2007, Edcon delisted from the JSE. In late 2007, leading private equity fund manager Ethos approached House of Busby and the two reached an agreement early in 2008 with an estimated enterprise value of R1.3bn. House of Busby then delisted from the JSE. In another private equity deal, a consortium comprising Vestacor, Retail Ventures Group and Ellerine Brothers announced in 2006 it had bou...

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