Niche financial services group Ecsponent, which has been funded mostly by a series of high-yielding preference-share issues, has made a bold play for control of Frankfurt-listed fintech business MyBucks. The co-founder of MyBucks is Dave van Niekerk, who will be familiar to many local investors as the founder and prime mover of controversial microlending group Blue Financial Services (BFS). Van Niekerk is no longer listed as the executive chair of MyBucks, which suggests he departed soon after the terms of the Ecsponent investment were disclosed. Van Niekerk had signed off the recent six-month to end-December financial results. There appear to be some parallels between BFS and MyBucks. Van Niekerk left BFS under a cloud after the company racked up losses of more than R1bn in 2009, which prompted an urgent R463m recapitalisation of the company by a private equity firm. A struggling BFS was suspended from the JSE in 2013, and the listing was terminated last year. It seems that under V...

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