Business Maverick

BUSINESS MAVERICK

Who owns Miss South Africa?

Who owns Miss South Africa?
Zozibini Tunzi was crowned Miss South Africa 2019 at the Time Square Sun Arena in Pretoria. (Photo: Gallo Images / Frennie Shivambu)

On 9 August the reigning Miss South Africa, Tamaryn Green, handed over her crown to Zozibini Tunzi at a glitzy event at Times Square Sun Arena in Pretoria. Sun International is relinquishing its title to the pageant’s brand, but details of this are murky.

Rumour has it that Sun International is looking to sell the rights to the Miss South Africa beauty pageant. This week Business Maverick was told it already has – to a private company called Weil Entertainment.

That is according to Stephanie Weil. She states the Miss South Africa trademark now belongs to her company, which she says she co-owns with Carmen Paul.

She says the transaction was concluded more than two months ago, but the deal has been in negotiations since late 2018.

When asked for official proof of the claim – as Sun International has yet to make a public statement in this regard – she was unable to do so. She did, however, make reference to media reports, which earlier in 2019, announced that Cell C was withdrawing its sponsorship from the pageant. The mobile operator said it wanted to better align its CSI initiatives with its core business.

Sun International told Rapport and City Press that the registration process would be delayed until new sponsors could be found. Both the future of the pageant and Sun International’s commitment to the cause were called into question by the publications, which also revealed Weil’s claim that she was the new managing director of the competition.

We will manage the pageant in partnership with Sun International, which will still be involved as a partner and sponsor,” she said.

Statutory records, however, are less open to these interpretations. CIPC records show that Stephanie Weil is the sole owner and director of Weil Entertainment. She is also a director of Nine Squared Communication, which was appointed as Miss South Africa’s public relations firm in 2013, according to Weil.

Company records further indicate that Sun International board member Norman Basthdaw is the only named director of Miss SA Pty Ltd, the registered company in which the trademark is housed and that the intellectual property still belongs to Sun International, and has been for almost 20 years.

There is also no record of a sale agreement signed or evidence of cash changing hands. Weil was also not willing to reveal a purchase price.

What does exist, and of which Business Maverick has a copy, is an offer to purchase from a consortium of 43 former Miss South Africa title- holders for an undisclosed amount.

Leading the bid is 2009 winner Tatum Keshwar. She heads up the steering committee of Miss SA Investment Holdings together with Cindy Nell (Miss SA 2002), Kerishnie Naicker (1997) and Claudia Henkel (2004).

Emails show they have been in talks with members of the Sun International team, and, according to Keshwar, the bid is being considered by Sun International. Keshwar said her team was “cautiously optimistic of a positive outcome”.

So is there proof in the paper trail or has truth been told? According to Basthdaw, Weil Entertainment is indeed the brand’s new owner. He says the paperwork will be finalised in the near future.

But related parties at Sun International are yet to reveal its position to the consortium or the public. Asked to explain who the buyer was, a Sun International spokesman referred to Weil Entertainment and would say nothing more.

It’s a curiosity, but obviously, the situation is as yet unresolved. BM

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