Steinhoff has had around three-quarters of its market value wiped out in just 48 hours after launching a probe into accounting irregularities.

Shares in the South African conglomerate, which owns Poundland, Bensons for Beds and Harveys in the UK, ended Wednesday 63% lower.

And they have tumbled further since, wiping around £6.2bn from its market cap. 

Steinhoff said this morning that it has since “received expressions of interest in non-core assets” that would “release a minimum of €1bn of liquidity”, throwing the future of its UK businesses into doubt. 

Its share price slump was sparked by financial irregularities, which relate to a long-running legal challenge over the ownership of the Conforama furnishings chain in France and uncertainty over whether its profits should have been consolidated into Steinhoff’s accounts.

Steinhoff, which is listed in its native South Africa and in Germany, postponed its full-year results and drafted in PwC to conduct an investigation into the irregularities.

Its chief executive Markus Jooste stepped down as a result.

Steinhoff’s chairman and largest shareholder, Christo Wiese, has been parachuted in as executive chairman on an interim basis.

Steinhoff has made headlines in recent years due to high-profile takeover bids.

Last year, it lost out in a battle with Sainsbury’s to take over Home Retail Group and made an unsuccessful bid for French electricals outfit Darty.

And earlier this year, Poundland put fellow discount chain 99p Stores into administration, less than two years after acquiring the business in a £55m deal. 

Steinhoff owns 40 retailers in more than 30 countries, including Harveys, Bensons for Beds, Poundland and Pep&Co, under its Pepkor subsidiary, in the UK.