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How wealthy is Lord Alan Sugar?

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 04/10/2017 By Sophie Christie
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Lord Alan Sugar famously started his entrepreneurial career shifting aerials and electrical goods from the back of a van, but theses days he makes the bulk of his money from his huge London property empire.

The 70-year-old The Apprentice presenter and former chairman of Tottenham Hotspur took home £181m in dividends last year from his property business, helping to place him 103rd on the Sunday Times Rich List in 2017. 

While his businesses are worth around £1.05bn, he also has at least £200m in cash and other interests, giving him a total net worth of £1.25bn. 

Lord Sugar was born in Hackney, east London, and lived in a housing estate with his parents and four siblings.

He left school at 16 and, after a brief spell in the civil service, started a business aged 21 selling electrical knick-knacks from a van.

In 1968 the entrepreneur founded Amstrad – Alan Michael Sugar Trading – which sold products including cigarette lighters, aerials, car radios and hi-fi systems.

By the 1980s, the company was among the market leaders in consumer electronics. Amstrad launched its version of the home computer in 1984 at the height of the British microcomputer boom, selling the benefits of a word processor for everyone from students to companies.

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The company floated on the Stock Exchange soon after, and at one point in 1986 its value soared to £1.2bn. Lord Sugar – then around 40 years old – was worth about £600m.

But the stock market crash of 1987 wiped millions off Amstrad's value.

A series of unsuccessful product launches followed, including the Amstrad GX4000 games console that struggled to compete with Nintendo and Sega, and a  combined telephone and email device  called the e-m@iler that failed to win over the British public.

The ill-fated e-m@iler phone © Getty The ill-fated e-m@iler phone

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In 2007, Amstrad was sold to BSkyB for £125m, however according to the Sunday Times, Lord Sugar only made around £36m from the sale.

Lord Sugar also had a troubled stint as chairman of Tottenham Hotspur football club in the 1990s. His relationship with Spurs fans soured after he sacked manager Terry Venables, and he sold his shares in the club in 2001, for a reported £22m.

Real estate business Amsprop, which Lord Sugar founded in 1985, now holds the majority of his wealth.

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Amsprop has a substantial commercial property portfolio across London and Essex, including The Crosspoint in Bishopsgate. Daniel Sugar, Lord Sugar's son, is managing director of Amsprop Estates.

Lord Sugar has also made money from the BBC reality show The Apprentice, which has had one series broadcast every year since 2005, a year after Donald Trump first hosted the US version.

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In 2015, Lord Sugar announced his resignation from the Labour Party, after 18 years as a supporter, because he had "lost confidence in the party due to their negative business policies and the general anti-enterprise concepts they were considering if they were to be elected".

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Lord Sugar recently called for company-style audits for political manifestos and said he wanted to see politicians jailed if they break their election promises.

In 2016, Lord Sugar was paid £20,000 by the Daily Mail after it called him a “spiv”. The money was donated to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

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