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Spur founder Allen Ambor on selling shares, that incident

Spur founder Allen Ambor says he still owns shares in the restaurant franchise he started in 1967 — despite an announcement last month by the company that he had sold all of the almost 3.1 million shares he held at the time, totalling R100-million.

Speaking at a Startup Grind event held at Workshop 17 last night, Ambor, who is also the company’s executive chair, said he still holds almost 500 000 shares — equal to 20% of his original holding. The original holding made up about 3.2% of the Spur group before he sold the shares in March, Ambor added.

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“I’ve got a family trust that still has almost 20% of my holding (he held before the March sale)… and I’m the person who can sell them if I want, I’ve got the voice on that trust,” he said.

The sale follows the racist incident in March at a Spur branch that went viral on social media. While Ambor said the incident had done “a lot of damage” to the company, he stressed that his decision to sell the shares was in no way prompted by the incident.

He said he put his shares out to sale during an open period, because he wanted to diversify his share option.

‘You can’t believe how horrible it’s been. Even now we’re still dealing with it’

“On 10.30 on the 27th February I put my shares with a broker to sell. On the 19th of March this happened and we were like — we were panic stricken. We couldn’t believe what was happening on social media. You can’t believe how horrible it’s been. Even now we’re still dealing with it,” he said.

“It never occurred to me that people might turn around and mix that particular incident with the sale of the shares… but some of our guys in the business got very upset about it… but they had no right to. Those are my assets. If I went and sold my motor car or my house they wouldn’t say to me ‘what are you doing, how can you do that, it’s bad for Spur. Bullsh*t. That’s my personal business,” he said.

The incident, he said, had done “a lot of damage”, particularly in Gauteng, to the stores after Spur banned the man involved in the incident from entering any of their eateries.

Ambor said the company is talking to a number of people to try to resolve the issue. “A lot of people have sided with the man not knowing the other side,” he said.

He described the man as “very right-wing”.

“We have established that he has got more than three convictions for wife-beating and he has also stolen from a supermarket. So he’s not the most savoury chap,” he said.

“The sad thing is that this store, which is up in Gauteng, handled the matter very badly. Because the next day, and that’s what they’re trained to do, they should have phoned her, apologised, told her that they want to come over and give her flowers and vouchers to come back. And because she never heard from the store she felt badly treated and her sister or somebody had done the video and it went out on social media,” he said.

“The point out the matter is that that branch didn’t handle it that well, but (while) it happened at Spur, it wasn’t Spur that caused it,” said Ambor.

Featured image: Allen Ambor (Onsight Pictures)

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