Christo Wiese sells Brait shares for R430m

Christo Wiese in Johannesburg in 2012. (Photo by Gallo Images / Financial Mail / Hetty Zantman)
Christo Wiese in Johannesburg in 2012. (Photo by Gallo Images / Financial Mail / Hetty Zantman)

Christo Wiese's investment firm Titan sold 27m shares in Brait to the Cape Town-based fund manager Mergence for R430m, the companies announced on Monday.

An average price of R15.40 was paid for the shares. Brait [JSE: BAT] is currently trading at around R15.00.

Wiese is the biggest shareholder in Brait, which owns Premier Foods, Virgin Active and the UK retailer Iceland. It also owns the struggling UK clothing group, New Look. Brait's share price has halved over the past year as it wrote down the value of New Look - which it bought for more than R14 billion in 2015 - to zero

As part of this week's transaction, Titan and Mergence now own 46.3% of Brait and have entered into a voting pool arrangement. Titan remains in control of the voting pool and views Brait "as a strategic long-term investment".

Mergence will propose a nominee to the board of Brait and says it will pursue a strategy to strengthen the balance sheet of Brait, amend the current advisory contract, reduce costs and pursue the sale of assets to maximise value for shareholders.

But Titan denied media reports  that it was planning to dispose of all of Brait's assets except gym-chain Virgin Active, and remove the current management.

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