The leadership of Alan Sugar

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Amstrad, which started as a small enterprise, became international consumer electronics, telecommunications and computer group with wholly owned subsidiaries in France, Germany, Benelux and Denmark, and a worldwide presence through a network of distributors. Amstrad built up to a stock market value of $1.2 billion.

Sir Alan Sugar, Amstrad chairman, reveals the secrets of his success in the early years, when he started with a van and a few dozen TVs and hi-fis.

This report investigated into the growth and success of Amstrad in the consumer electronics and microcomputers markets and assesses what has happened to Alan Sugar since 1991.

Historic growth and success of Amstrad.

Hereby is a brief history of Amstrad after 1991. In my opinion, Alan Sugar' building his empire falls into three steps.

Firstly, Alan Sugar started to enter laptop computer market in 1991. In 1992, his Amstrad purchased 29.9% stake of Betacom PLC from Canon Street Investments PLC. A rights issue and subscription, increasesed Amstrad's shareholding in Betacom to 71.3%. Betacom, a UK based domestic telephone supplier provides Amstrad with a foothold in the developing telecommunications market. In 1993, Amstrad acquired Dancall Telecom, (for c£8m) a Danish dedicated telecommunications manufacturer specializing in cordless phone technologies: CT0, CT1, GSM, PCN and NMT450. The acquisition enhanced UK CT2 research resources and facilitated access to the Scandinavian market. Also in this year, Amstrad launched the world's first Personal Digital assistant (PDA600). Moreover, Repayment and cancellation of share capital involving a scheme of arrangement, as a result of which Amstrad's shareholding in Betacom reduced to 66.2%. (

Secondly, during the period from 1994 to 1999, Alan Sugar broadened his business and acted as the brain of his Amstrad. In 1994, Alan Sugar acquired Viglen computers, the UK's leading supplier of computers direct to end-users. Amstrad direct launched in the UK, supplying computers and faxes direct to the public. In 1995, Alan Sugar acquired Data flex design communications, a specialist in modems. In 1996, he launched Dan call GSM mobile phones. What important in this year is that Alan Sugar was granted Betacom a license to use the Amstrad brand on consumer electronics products. (

In 1997, Alan Sugar made Amstrad well known to the world after a range of activities. Alan Sugar appointed Chairman of the Board at Betacom in this year. Amstrad launched Dan call dual band mobile phone (World phone). It sells Dan call Telecom to German telecoms manufacturer Bosch Telecom for c£96m. It launches Cable Receiver/Decoder STB for Foxtel in Australia. As a pay back, Amstrad awarded a contract to supply advanced Interactive Digital Set top boxes to British Sky Broadcasting PLC. Amstrad's consumer electronics and satellite business is sold to Betacom. Its PLC is de-listed from the stock exchange and each shareholder receives loan notes, shares in Viglen Technology PLC (a newly listed company), shares in Betacom PLC and a letter of entitlement to the potential net proceeds arising from two court cases. Betacom PLC changed its name to Amstrad PLC (Nov.) (

In 1998, Amstrad announced an agreement with Cable & Wireless Communications to sell Cable & Wireless branded telecom products into the retail market. It commences supply of multiple products to BSkyB to facilitate digital interactive services. In 1999, Amstrad DRX100 (Digital Satellite Receiver) awarded What Satellite TV award for "Best Sky Receiver" Amstrad sells Betacom, Answer call and Cable & Wireless branded telecommunications business to Alba PLC for £4M in cash.

Thirdly, Alan Sugar catches the step with time and reach into new scopes. The e-mailer plus is the most versatile and user-friendly home phone on the market today. With the ability to send and receive...
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