South Africa’s Shoprite buys back Basson’s shares in $136 mln send-off


JOHANNESBURG – South African retailer Shoprite’s shareholders approved a buyback of former chief executive Whitey Basson’s shares for 1.75 billion rand ($136 million), the company said on Tuesday.

The deal, one of the biggest executive handshakes yet in South Africa, was approved by more than 95 percent at an extraordinary general meeting of the shareholders in Africa’s largest grocer after Basson exercised a put option in May.

Basson, who retired this year after expanding the retailer from a few stores in Cape Town to a giant in 15 African nations, holds 1.52 percent of Shoprite according to Thomson Reuters data, a stake built up during 38 years at the helm.

The no-frills retailer has a market value of more than 133 billion rand valuing Basson’s stake at around 2 billion rand, most of which he will sell back to the company at a discount.

After initially exercising the put option at 211.97 rand in May, the agreement between Basson’s firm Bassgro, which holds his shares, and Shoprite was renegotiated to 201.07 per share.

Shoprite’s share price was almost unchanged at 222 rand by 1356 GMT.

($1 = 12.9019 rand)

Reporting by TJ Strydom; Editing by Edmund Blair

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