December — by any standard — is not a month most investors expect to be confronted by big corporate tie-ups. Or at least it wasn’t until Steinhoff and Shoprite (officially) divulged news that they were indeed hatching a mega-deal to create a unit called Retail Africa through the merger of their African operations. No-one can say the market was not warned. Christo Wiese, owner of 23.1% of Steinhoff and 15.93% of Shoprite, had made it abundantly clear in a string of not-so-cryptic statements that it would be a "natural development" for the two retail giants to join forces. Both groups were rather thin on the details when the news broke, leaving many asking: what’s in it for Wiese? "I love scale," the retail tycoon told the Financial Mail. "Both companies have also been part of my life for a very long time." Wiese’s association with Steinhoff-owned Pepkor, a key element of the Retail Africa deal, goes back to the late 1960s. It was also Pepkor that got the Shoprite growth story rolling...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, Morningstar financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.