The Business On: Peter Lim, businessman
Saturday 20 August 2011
A rich man, we hear?
You could say that. He's Singapore's eighth-richest man according to the Forbes rich list, which makes him a billionaire (Forbes reckons $1.6bn about covers it). Still he's a few quid worse off today, having shelled out a"significant" sum to buy a stake in McLaren Automotive, the Formula One and sports-car business that is based here in the UK.
How much has he spent?
Neither side is saying, but the deal is thought to value McLaren at several hundred million pounds. Mr Lim is taking a seat on the board, so he's obviously acquired a chunky stake.
He must like his motor racing?
So it would seem, though until now he's been associated with a different sport. He came close to buying Liverpool Football Club last year before being outbid by the American group that got it in the end. He's also associated with Manchester United, owning bars and clubs across Asia with a Manchester United theme.
Hang on, aren't Man United up to something in his backyard?
Indeed. The club is working towards selling a stake on the Singapore stock exchange. The structure of the deal hasn't been made public yet, but one imagines Mr Lim would be interested in participating. He was part of the Red Knights consortium that thought about bidding for the club last year at the height of unpopularity of the Glazers, Man United's current owners.
So how did he make his money?
He's a self-made man. Dad was afishmonger and Mr Lim went to school in Singapore before doing an accountancy degree in Australia while holding down several part-time jobs (everything from driving a cab to waiting tables). On his return home, he set up shop as a stockbroker and became hugely successful. They still call him the "Remisier King" in Singapore (it's the local word for stockbroker).
What does he do with his cash?
As well as the headline investments, he's made a number of philanthropic gestures related to sport. The Singapore Olympic Federation, for example, is the beneficiary of a $10m scholarship he has financed.
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