Marc Hasenfuss Editor-at-large
Brian Joffe: ‘Not the retiring type’. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Brian Joffe: ‘Not the retiring type’. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

 Deal-making doyen Brian Joffe — the founder and recently retired CEO of acquisitive conglomerate Bidvest — looks set to return to the JSE.

Market talk is that Joffe is contemplating bringing a new investment company to the JSE and has already started meeting with potential investors to raise capital for the new venture.

Joffe, who took Bidvest from a small reverse listing in the late 1980s to a well diversified and highly profitable conglomerate with a market value close to R150bn, stepped down last year after the unbundling and separate listing of the group’s food services business BidCorp.

Joffe told the Financial Mail it was premature to respond to inquiries about a new business venture.

However, the Financial Mail understands that a sizeable fund raising is being mulled, and that early indications are that large investors are enthusiastic about backing Joffe.

Joffe has previously been involved in investment activities outside Bidvest, having joined former SABMiller boss Meyer Kahn and Netcare founder Motty Sacks in turning the old WB Holdings into a new-look investment counter under Afrocentric Investments.

Joffe’s new venture is rumoured to involve former Famous Brands CEO Kevin Hedderwick.

Market watchers were not entirely surprised that Joffe might contemplate a "comeback". One noted: "Brian is hardly the retiring type. He still has loads of energy."

Joffe’s track record of superb returns over almost three decades with Bidvest should ensure the new venture is able to raise capital to fund new deal flows.

If Joffe does list a new business this year, he will join a number of former big hitting executives that have recently returned to the JSE with new and specialised investment companies. These would include Capital Appreciation (Sacks and Kahn), ENX Group (former Gold Reef Casino CEO Steven Joffe), Renergen (former Afrox CEO Brett Kimber), Universal Partners (former Capital Alliance and Super Group chairman Larry Nestadt) and GAIA (former PSG executives Botha Schabort and Leon de Witt).

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