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Sorbet addresses acquisition rumours5 June 2017Founder of the Sorbet Group of franchised beauty salons and dry bars, Ian Fuhr, has confirmed to Professional Beauty that Sorbet is in the final throes of negotiating a deal with Long4Life, the new JSE-listed investment holding company run by Brian Joffe and Kevin Hedderwick.Joffe was the founder and former CEO of the Bidvest Group, with Hedderwick formerly chief executive at Famous Brands.Said Fuhr: “As soon as the transaction with Long4Life is completed, an official press release will be issued.”Professional Beauty asked Fuhr to address rumours which have surfaced following recent newspaper reports about the deal, including that several Sorbet salons are wanting to sell, or planning to close down.“It is totally untrue that any Sorbet salons are about to close down,” responded Fuhr. “We are not aware of a single salon that is planning to close. There are some salons where the owners wish to sell, but this does not have anything to do with the acquisition. In a mature franchise system you will always find owners who sell their businesses to other franchisees for a variety of reasons, most of which are personal. We are still receiving about eight new franchise applications per day.”Another rumour speculated that Fuhr is planning to move to the UK, where he has already opened four Sorbet stores. Said Fuhr: “Again this is false. I have absolutely no plans to move to the UK. I currently visit there every two to three months for about a week to assist with the running of the business but, in fact, my time in London will probably reduce slightly if and when the Long4Life deal is completed. Should the deal go ahead, the entire Sorbet management team, including myself, will be committed to stay on and help build a large beauty conglomerate in South Africa under the Long4Life/Sorbet umbrella. We would all be signing service agreements with the new company to ensure the continuity of the business.”Fuhr revealed that Sorbet is to open its 5th salon in the UK but noted that it was too early to tell if Brexit would have any material impact on plans going forward. (Report by Joanna Sterkowicz)