JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Scandal-hit South African retailer Steinhoff International (SNHJ.J) said on Friday it had sold Blue Group, owner of Bensons for Beds and Harveys Furniture, to Alteri Investors for an undisclosed price.
Steinhoff, which has been grappling with the fallout of an accounting scandal worth an estimated $7 billion since revealing holes in its accounts in 2017, said in August its only way to survive was to slim down and sell assets.
“The sale of Blue Group is the latest in a series of planned divestments by Steinhoff as we continue with our announced strategy of simplifying the group’s portfolio and deleveraging our balance sheet,” Steinhoff CEO Louis du Preez said.
The company, which added the transaction was subject to regulatory approvals, did not disclose its value. Blue Group was a relatively minor part of Steinhoff’s operation, contributing just under 5% of revenues in the six months ended March 31.
Alteri Investors, a specialist investor focused on European retail, was launched in 2014 as a joint venture between Alteri’s management and funds managed by affiliates of alternative investment manager Apollo Global Management.
Its founder and CEO Gavin George said the purchase was exactly the kind of opportunity it was launched to find - a trusted brand with strong management and the potential for profitable growth.
“We... are confident that our operational capabilities, alongside the injection of fresh capital, can help to build a market leading, vertically integrated business,” he said.
Steinhoff shares were flat at 1127 GMT.
Reporting by Emma Rumney; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter