Just the Sugar on top?

So the grumpy badger himself, Sir Alan Sugar, has agreed to sell Amstrad, the company he founded way back in 1968 after a start selling car aerials out of the back of a van. The deal with BSkyB values Amstrad at £125m, which may sound like a decent cash cow, but Sugar's 28% holding will net him only £34.5m. That doesn't sound like much for the life's work of a man worth some £830m. But the truth about Sugar is that he has long been more successful as a property magnate than as an electronics entrepreneur, and the vast majority of his weath has been amassed through lucrative but low-tech investment in bricks and mortar. After all, Amstrad's last killer products were its range of cheap PCs way back in the 80s.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010
The deal seems like a no-brainer for James Murdoch's BSkyB. Amstrad supplies around 30% of its set-top boxes, and the deal will mean it can take development in-house and save it a few quid. But Sir Alan, who will stay with Amstrad after the sale, will probably be equally content. Amstrad has hardly had a run of glowing successes of late, to the point where Sky accounted for 75% of its revenues last year. As for his other products, the emailer phone and the electronic anti-wrinkle device were hardly top of anyone's Christmas list, and we don't know anyone who swears by his latest, the E3 videophone.

But enough of mere business talk. How will this impact the world of reality TV? Sir Alan used to reward the winner of the BBC's Apprentice series with a position at Amstrad. Can he really ask them to join him in a job at BSkyB? Or will James Murdoch take Sugar's seat in the Apprentice boardroom?

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