People and Business: Charity on board

OUT TO play on the Solent yesterday was Peter Harrison, chairman and owner of Chernikeeff, Britain's biggest privately owned supplier of computer network interaction services, who was dicing with the world's number two match racer, Chris Law.

The new 50ft yacht he was helming, called Venture '99, is the big boat in this year's British Admiral's Cup team, into which Chernikeeff, along with Barlo Plastics, has put a cool pounds 250,000 of sponsorship cash.

While at the helm Mr Harrison was keen to talk about his plans to set up a sports charity, the Peter Harrison Foundation. He has been inspired to emulate Ted Turner, who made a fortune by founding CNN and merged it with Time Warner. Mr Turner has decided to give 10 per cent of his vast fortune to charity.

Mr Harrison also intends to donate 10 per cent of his fortune, or pounds 5m. But this could multiply to pounds 25m if one of his deals comes off.

The plan is to sell 49.9 per cent of Chernikeeff to Johannesburg-listed Dimension Data in a deal that would value Mr Harrison and Chernikeeff at between pounds 200m and pounds 240m. At the same time he intends to seek a London listing for the merged company.