Alan Sugar, Lord Sugar also now known as Baron Sugar (born 24 March 1947) is an English businessman, media personality, and political adviser and has an estimated net worth of $1.14 billion (£770 million). He is most well known for the consumer electronics and computer brand Amstrad. The name Amstrad being an acronym of his initials – Alan Michael Sugar TRADing. More recently he has become a household name in the UK because of his starring role in the BBC TV business reality program The Apprentice. He also is famous for his matter-of-fact speaking and put-downs of anyone who he thinks is not doing as they should do.
Q: How much is Alan Sugar Worth ?
A: An estimated net worth of $1.14 billion (£770 million)
Alan Sugar started the business in 1968 as a general importer exporter and wholesaler that then went on to specialise in consumer electronics. In 1970 his first foray into manufacturing began when he used injection moulding plastics to create hi-fi turntable covers which were considerably cheaper than a competitors who used a vacuum forming process.
Manufacturing was soon expanded to include the production of audio amplifiers and tuners. During the 70s and early 80s Amstrad product line although at the lower end of the market became very popular through major high street chain stores such as Dixons, Currys and Comet. It was in the early 80s that he saw the rise of the home computer as a product he could take advantage of and he launched the Amstrad CPC 464. Although not as graphically sophisticated as its competitors the Commodore 64 and Sinclair ZX spectrum it sold over 3 million units worldwide during a long production life of over eight years.
In 1985 Amstrad had another breakthrough success with the launch of the world’s first integrated wordprocessor, the Amstrad PCW 8256. This then went on to become a mainstay of a computer range from home computers up to the range PC compatibles which became popular in UK and Europe.
Amstrad’s stock market valuation peaked at £1.8 billion (£1.2 billion). During the 1990s a succession of problems including unreliable hard disks supplied by Seagate and a high level of customer dissatisfaction greatly damaged Amstrad’s reputation in the personal computer market from which it never recovered.
Amstrad went on to sue Seagate for $100 million in lost revenue. After an unsuccessful foray into gaming consoles he moved in to mobile computers and combined telephone and emailing devices. With the rise of satellite television Amstrad became a major supplier of satellite set top boxes for sky TV.
One of the things that Alan Sugar admitted to making a huge mistake on was to disregard how much software would become the mainstay of computing. He said that he thought there will always be a market for the hardware and software was just an add-on, a minor extra. This obviously has been proved completely wrong and now it is of the hardware that is the cheap item and the software where all the money is made as Microsoft proved.
At the height of his financial power Sugar teamed up with Terry Venables to buy Tottenham Hotspur football club in June 1991. During his time at the club it could be said he had a succession of managers and disagreements with players. He berated the foreigners coming into the Premier league at high wages and called them the Carlos Kickaballs. He owned the football club for a total of 16 years before selling out, afterwards he described his time at Tottenham as “a waste of my life”.
Although he sold Amstrad to BSkyB for around $187 million (£125M) in July 2007 he still owns several technology companies including the computer maker Viglin Ltd, Amscreen a digital signage company and most recently he chaired YouView, a free to air broadcasting consortium for which he received $750,000 (£500,000) for the year ending March 2012. His other main business interests are Amsprop a property investment company owned by Sugar and controlled by his son Daniel Patrick and Amsair an executive aviation company which he founded in 1993, Sugar is also a qualified pilot and has been for 30 years.
In 2005 Alan Sugar became the star of the BBC business reality show “The Apprentice”, taking on the same role as Donald Trump did in the US version. Each week the candidates have to perform a business related task and one which does not come up to scratch is fired until there is just one candidate left who is then employed by his company or since 2012 wins a business partnership and an investment of $375,000 (£250,000).
In 2000 Sugar was knighted for services to business and became Sir Alan Sugar. In 2009 the now Sir Alan Sugar was offered a peerage by Prime Minister Gordon Brown as part of a new enterprise role in the Labour government and subsequently created Baron Sugar of Clapton in the London Borough of Hackney. Because he is now a member of the House of Lords is more commonly known as Lord Sugar.