Bloomberg Billionaires Index

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#274 Christo Wiese $5.85B

Random fact: Owns a game reserve in the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa.

Overview

Wiese is the largest shareholder of Steinhoff International Holding, a group of companies that distributes household goods. The Sandton, South Africa-based company operates in Europe and Africa, and bought Wiese's closely held retailer Pepkor for $5.7 billion in 2015. He also has stakes in eight other publicly traded companies.

As of July 27, 2017:
Last change -$15.4M (-0.3%)
YTD change -$76.4M (-1.3%)
Industry Retail
Biggest asset SNH GR Equity
Citizenship South Africa
Age 75
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Christo Wiese's net worth of $5.85B can buy ...

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troy ounces of gold
0
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

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of the GDP of the United States
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of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
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of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
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of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
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of U.S. existing home sales
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times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Wiese's fortune is derived from a 19.5 percent stake in Steinhoff International Holdings, according to a Sept. 28, 2016 company statement. The business is based in Sandton, South Africa and its primary listing is on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Wiese also owns a 16 percent stake in Shoprite Holdings. He maintains his interest through Titan Share Dealers, a South Africa-based investment vehicle. He controls another 2.5 million shares of Shoprite indirectly in the form of single-stock futures, according to Shoprite's 2016 annual report. Those shares aren't credited to him because they either haven't been delivered or the price of the futures contract isn't disclosed.

The billionaire has interests in seven other companies that trade on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, including 35 percent of Brait SE, 38 percent of Invicta Holdings, 62 percent of Tradehold, 47 percent of Trans Hex Group, 18 percent of Pallinghurst Resources, 3.7 percent of Stellar Capital Partners and 17 percent of Texton Property Fund. He also owns publicly traded preferred shares in Invicta Holdings. He holds his shares in these assets through several South Africa-based entities, including Titan Share Dealers and Titan Nominees. His stakes are based on information in the most-recently available annual reports or confirmed by Wiese himself.

A liability is included to account for his purchase of Brait SE, net of insider transactions, dividends and taxes.

Wiese confirmed his ownership stakes and declined to comment on his net worth.

Biography

Birthdate: 9/10/1941
Family: Married, 3 children
Education: 1967, Bachelor's Degree, Stellenbosch University 1967, LLB, Stellenbosch University

Christoffel "Christo" Wiese was born Sept. 10, 1941 in Upington, a town in South Africa's Northern Cape province. He learned entrepreneurialism from his parents at a young age, emulating his father, who worked as a farmer and owned an auto dealership. He graduated from Paarl Boys' High School in the Western Cape and received undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Stellenbosch.

Not long after finishing his studies in 1967, Wiese began working in retail as an executive director and assistant to the founder of a young company named Pep Stores, a retailer that focused on rural areas in Africa where there were few places for residents to buy clothing. He took a hiatus from Pep Stores in the 1970s to pursue diamond mining and re-joined the company as chairman in 1980. By that time, the retailer had expanded into food with the acquisition of Shoprite, a family-owned grocery chain. Over the next decade, Wiese moved the company into new segments and territories, mostly through acquisitions, renamed the company Pepkor Limited and listed it and Shoprite Holdings on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 1986. He took Pepkor private with the help of investment company Brait in 2004. He sold the business to publicly traded Steinhoff International Holdings for $5.7 billion in March 2015. The deal closed in April 2015 and his 52 percent Pepkor stake was converted to Steinhoff shares.

Wiese purchased the Lourensford Wine Estate in 1998, a 4,000-hectare property outside Cape Town that has 135 hectares of vineyards and 300 hectares of fruit. He sold a second wine property, Lanzerac Estate, in 2012 to a foreign investment company for an undisclosed price.

The billionaire said he considers his retail empire a family business. His son, Jacob, works with him, and he's said he hopes his two daughters will too. Wiese is married and lives in Cape Town.

Milestones
  • 1941 Christo Wiese is born in Upington, in South Africa's Northern Cape.
  • 1967 Receives a law degree from the University of Stellenbosch.
  • 1979 Leads Pep Stores' acquisition of the Shoprite retail chain.
  • 1982 Changes company's name from Pep Stores to Pepkor Limited.
  • 1986 Lists Shoprite and Pepkor on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
  • 2009 Shoprite named by Deloitte as South Africa's largest retailer.
  • 2012 Sells Lanzerac wine estate to an investment firm for an undisclosed sum.
  • 2015 Closely held Pepkor sold to publicly traded Steinhoff for $5.7 billion