In this extract from Christo Wiese - Risk and Riches, Wiese is told about the accounting problems at Steinhoff that started the collapse of the company's share price - and the unravelling of his life's work.
Only a few days before the shares were issued, the news agency Reuters interviewed Christo Wiese. Two experienced journalists quizzed him on the chances of a Steinhoff-Shoprite merger. Giving nothing away, he said that to combine the two companies would be "a natural development".
"People know that I am 75 years old, and I, fortunately, have a son who is in business with me, but as a family, we are continually looking at consolidating our business interests," he added.
The story hit the wire and within minutes the share prices of both Shoprite and Steinhoff rose sharply - the market read it as a sign that a transaction was looming. Afterwards, Wiese was not happy about the story, probably because he and Markus Jooste were already planning a wedding between the two companies.
Three months later Steinhoff and Shoprite announced that they were in talks to form an "African retail champion". Shoprite, at this stage, was a retail giant. It had managed to achieve...