Sir Tom set to pocket pounds 77m

SIR TOM FARMER, the chairman and chief executive of Kwik-Fit, is set to pocket over pounds 77m if shareholders approve the pounds 1bn takeover offer from Ford, writes Andrew Verity.

Sir Tom, known in Edinburgh as a local philanthropist, admitted he felt emotional about the prospect of selling the company he founded 34 years ago. He has accepted Ford's offer, pledging his own 8 per cent stake.

He said he felt like the "father of the bride" before giving his daughter away. "This is like a wedding and Kwik-Fit is being married to a fantastic husband in the organisation of the Ford Motor Company, which is known and respected throughout the world," he said.

The sale to Ford is, said Sir Tom, "like the closing chapter in a book" that began with the opening in 1964 of Tyres and Accessory Supplies, a store in Buccleuch Street, Edinburgh, when he was 23 years old.

Six years later he almost sold the business for pounds 400,000. He wanted to retire to San Francisco, but returned to business when his wife Anne said his presence at home was "driving me nuts".

Kwik-Fit began in 1971, opening its first centre in Edinburgh with the ambition of providing a service to motorists "from showroom to scrapyard". It now employs 7,000 people and operates through 1,295 service points in the UK, Eire, Holland and Belgium. Last year the group bought a further 568 centres in France, Germany and Spain.

"I saw this [Ford offer] as an ideal opportunity to give Kwik-Fit more global opportunities. Kwik-Fit's headquarters will remain in Edinburgh and from this hub we will spearhead its continued worldwide expansion."

An ardent Catholic, Sir Tom arranges annual trips to Lourdes, the religious shrine in France. He has been criticised by some for a lack of attention to detail and is described as "not a nuts-and-bolts man".

He gained a reputation for philanthropy when he led a financial rescue of Hibernian, the Edinburgh football club, three years ago. He is now engaged in fund-raising initiatives for the refugees of Kosovo.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Manager

£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...

SThree: Talent Acquisition Consultant

£22500 - £27000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: Since our inception in 1986, STh...

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Financial Advisers and Paraplanners

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This extremely successful and well-established...

Guru Careers: FX Trader / Risk Manager

Competitive with monthly bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced FX...

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map