The war of the Tekkies

The founders of Tekkie Town will be opening several new stores under the new banner, Mr Tekkie.
Mr Tekkie and Tekkie Town will then be managed side-by-side from Tekkie Town headquarters in George. Picture: Moneyweb

News that the founders of Tekkie Town were planning to open a new chain of stores to sell sport- and leisure shoes was confirmed early this morning when well-known entrepreneur Braam van Huyssteen announced the opening of several new stores under the Mr. Tekkie banner within the next few months.

Rumours that the founders of Tekkie Town will open another business has been circulated since Van Huyssteen made an off-the-cuff remark about this possibility in an interview with Moneyweb at the beginning of June, shortly after the disposal of Tekkie Town to Steinhoff’s Africa Retail (Star) turned sour. By then, most of the founding members of Tekkie Town had resigned from their management positions at Steinhoff.

Read: Tekkie Town two in the wings 

The first artwork of the proposed new business leaked out a few weeks later and Van Huyssteen only confirmed the store identity this morning.

Van Huyssteen was named South Africa’s Master Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011 by Ernst and Young for founding and growing Tekkie Town. His investment of R20 000 in a single sport shoe store – and ten years of dedicated work – grew into a national retail chain of 389 stores and an annual profit estimated at around R300 million at the time of the sale to Steinhoff in 2016.

The sale of Tekkie Town to Steinhoff is currently the object of at least four court cases, with many more to follow. The major case seeks that the whole transaction be reversed on the basis that Steinhoff misled the vendors when offering shares as settlement for the major part of the business, while Steinhoff management were aware of financial irregularities that overstated the profits and subsequently led to unrealistic valuation of these shares.

Van Huyssteen is confident that the court case will succeed and that Tekkie Town “will be returned to its rightful owners”.

“Mr Tekkie and Tekkie Town will then be managed side-by-side from Tekkie Town headquarters in George,” says Van Huyssteen.

The building he refers to is also the focus of a disagreement between Van Huysteen and Steinhoff subsidiary Pepkor. The office building is personally owned by Van Huyssteen, who is adamant to evict Pepkor within a few weeks.

Meanwhile Pepkor issued a legal summons that claims Pepkor is within its rights to occupy Van Huyssteen’s building.

Five former Tekkie Town executives, among them previous CEO Bernard Mostert and head of purchasing Michael Brown, joined Mr. Tekkie in executive roles.

“We deliberated long and hard as to whether and how we want to create and roll out Mr. Tekkie,” said Mostert, CEO at the new Mr. Tekkie. “Dawie (Van Niekerk, who will be the new COO at Mr. Tekkie) and I resigned from Pepkor in June due to a vacuum of good leadership that made it impossible for us to achieve the results we expect of ourselves.”

Van Huyssteen, 53, is upbeat about the future. “Mr. Tekkie represents a great opportunity for us. Whilst others may be negative about South Africa and its prospects, we understand the underlying resilience and optimism that drive South Africans from all walks of life.”

Meanwhile, the pending court cases will both entertain and frighten investors. If the court agrees that Steinhoff misled the vendors of Tekkie Town and the transaction is reversed, the effect will be that more than R300 million will disappear from Pepkor’s bottom line.

New branding for Mr Tekkie. Source: supplied

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Not sure if the name “Mr Tekkie” will not be challenged.

It is quite unbelievable that Mr van Huyssteen remains of the belief that Tekkie Town will be returned…..

He sold Tekkie Town to Steinhoff, directly via his friend Markus Jooste, which he continues to “protect”.

Mr van Huyssteen dealt directly with Jooste and agreed to the terms – shares in Steinhoff plus a guaranteed 3 years bonus scheme of possibly 1 billion rand, total purchase price for Tekkie Town = 4.2 billion rand.

Let’s not even talk about the alleged fact that the deal did not included any fixed assets. How was Tekkie Town valued and who did the due diligence?

“Smell A Rat”.

Mr van Huyssteen claims he was “duped”. If such is the truth, then why has Mr van Huyssteen not (1) opened a case of fraud against Jooste and (2) not sued Jooste directly.

“Smell A Rat”

The “Mr Tekkie” venture will be run no differently to how they ran Tekkie Town, i.e. dictators, bullies, intimidation with an unethical management ethos.

These people are not ALL CLEAN – beware !!!

Don’t you think van Huyssteen wears BLINKERS like his race horses because it is not possible that anybody can think starting a new business in this point in time of the economy with all the opposition like Edgars,Sportsmans Warehouse,Total Sports,Sportscene,Studio88,Footgear and not to forget Tekkie Town that is now run by a proper(retail background)management team.
He is maybe not a billionare anymore like they say but hopefully has enough money left to go and enjoy his last decade or two.
Why throw good money behind bad money??

Ambitious entrepreneurship knows no boundaries and can not be stifled or trampled on.

Ambitious indeed to start new retail chain in the current economy.

All the best for the new venture, Braam!

Wishing you and your team the best of luck #mrtekkie #supportnewbusiness

Just don’t swap it for toilet paper in 10 years time to a mate – even if he offers a grossly inflated price

To think he believes that a napkin with some scribbles on is a binding contract is beyond naïve.

End of comments.

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