John Bowker

Steinhoff agrees to buy Australia’s Fantastic for $275m

Steinhoff International Holdings NV agreed to buy Fantastic Holdings Ltd. of Australia for A$361.4 million ($275 million) as the South African retailer seeks to expand its footprint in the southern hemisphere.

The company offered A$3.50 a share in cash, a 43 percent premium to Thursday’s closing share price, Fantastic Holdings said in a statement on Friday. The deal was backed by directors of the Sydney-based furniture company and investors controlling more than 50 percent of the stock also supported the proposal.

“The addition of Fantastic Holdings, its brands and manufacturing operations, will broaden our brand portfolio and accelerate the growth of Steinhoff Asia Pacific in Australasia,” Tim Schaafsma, a director of Steinhoff Asia Pacific, said in the statement.

The deal is Steinhoff’s first since raising 2.45 billion euros ($2.69 billion) last month in a share sale to investors including Christo Wiese, South Africa’s richest man. The company has also bought U.K. discount chain Poundland Group Plc and Mattress Firm Holding Corp. of the U.S. in the past year as it aims to challenge the likes of Ikea.

Shares in Steinhoff, listed in Frankfurt and Johannesburg and headquartered in Amsterdam, rose 3.1 percent to 4.79 euros in the German city on Friday, the biggest gain since Sept. 28. That values the company at 20 billion euros.

The acquisition of Fantastic adds 125 Australian stores to Steinhoff’s existing 157 in the country, investment company Exane said in a note to clients.