Mayfair Holdings, the private investment company of former Steinhoff International chief executive Markus Jooste, is under fire as the company tries to sell Lodestone Brands to “repay defaulted debt”.
According to Bloomberg, minority shareholders from Lodestone – a company that sells beverage, confectionery and baby care products – are trying to prevent Mayfair Holdings from auctioning off the company. Lodestone is well-known for their brands including Rascals, Fusion and Cuddlers.
The co-founders of Lodestone believe that Mayfair’s decision to auction off the company would “jeopardise” its future, Bloomberg reported. They have offered to buy out Mayfair, and Standard Bank has even designated in an affidavit that there are “24 potential buyers and investors” for Lodestone.
Contrarily, Jooste’s son-in-law Stefan Potgieter has said that Mayfair’s stake in Lodestone would be lower if it was sold rather than auctioned. According to Bloomberg, Potgieter said, “A competitive process would result in the highest possible sale price for all investors, regardless of who is successful.”
Mayfair Holdings decision comes as the company is challenged to “dispose of assets” in order to repay debt amounting R959-million to banks by the end of the year, according to Bloomberg. Overall, the company has R1.4-billion that they are able to dispose of.
Jooste stepped down amid an investigation into accounting fraud which saw the share price in Steinhoff dropped dramatically.
After departing from Steinhoff in December, Jooste soon left his position at Mayfair, leaving Potgieter on the board. Potgieter is leading the break-up of the company, according to Bloomberg.
As Steinhoff struggles to make-up the €10.4-billion and Mayfair approaches its payback deadline, Jooste has “been referred to a South African anti-corruption police unit”.