J&F Investimentos, the largest private conglomerate in Brazil, is said to be on the verge of selling Alpargatas, the parent company of Havaianas and the licensee of Mizuno in Brazil and Argentina, to help one of its own shareholders, Joesley Batista, his brother Wesley and four other executives to pay a big fine of at least 11 billion Brazilian reais (€3.02bn-$3.37bn) in a reported plea bargain with Brazilian judicial authorities over a major bribery scandal. A Brazilian court has already frozen R$800 million (€219.4m-$245.3m) in Joesley Batista's banking accounts.
Joesley Batista has been ordered to resign as chairman of J&F's major holding, JBS, which is the world's largest producer of beef, chicken and leather, with sales of R$170 billion (€46.6bn-$52.1bn) in 2016. On May 23, he and Vincent Trius, who had been made chairman of Alpargatas by JBS, both resigned from Alpargatas' board. The owners of J&F have also been involved in other investigations for insider trading and other alleged offenses over the past 12 months.
While J&F's stock price has fallen by more than 30 percent, Alpargatas' stock market capitalization is holding up at around 5.7 billion Brazilian reais (€1.56bn-$1.75bn). J&F Investimentos bought a 44 percent share in Alpargatas for R$2.7 billion (€0.74bn-$0.83bn) in November 2015 from Camargo Correa, a big real estate company that was involved in a major corruption scandal along with Petrobras, the biggest Brazilian oil company. It subsequently raised its stake to 67 percent and then to 85.7 percent as of last December.