Sugar threatens to dump shareholders: Amstrad chairman hints that he may pull out as his pounds 113m play for the company heads for failure

ALAN SUGAR, chairman of the Amstrad consumer electronics group, yesterday pledged to start putting his own interests before those of other shareholders as his pounds 113m attempt to take the company private headed for the rocks.

Mr Sugar hinted strongly that he might sell his remaining shares in the company and then leave if the bid fails. 'Up until now I have been acting in the best interests of my shareholders by making this bid, but if they turn me down, I become Numero Uno,' he said.

'I'll stay on but only to look after my own interests. I'll have to consider myself first in future. I'm not going to say what I mean by that. You'll have to draw your own conclusions.'

Early proxies ahead of next Thursday's meeting in the City to vote on the controversial buy-out proposal show shareholders overwhelmingly against. Although the number of votes filed by proxy are not yet sufficient to defeat the 30p-a-share bid outright, an adviser conceded: 'It looks bad for Mr Sugar.'

Of those who have filed proxies so far, 5,511 are against and only 3,932 for. The number of shares filed in favour of the bid, at 34.1 million, slightly outweigh those against, but to succeed, the proposal needs a 75 per cent majority in favour.

Mr Sugar deliberately released the early proxy figures to try to provoke those shareholders who are favourable into filing their votes. Advisers fear the proposal might be defeated out of apathy alone.

'There are 21,000 shareholders out there who are expecting a nice fat cheque from me,' Mr Sugar said. 'They're in for a big shock. If they want the money, they better start getting those pink and blue proxy forms in the post quick.'

Mr Sugar said 'the most hurtful part' of the controversy that has raged since he launched his bid 'is the suggestion that I am conning or cheating shareholders. I haven't got any ace up my sleeve. I'm sick and tired of debating this point.

'If shareholders don't want to believe me, see if I care. The proof will be in Friday morning's share price. Those shares are going to fall if my bid is rejected. There's nobody else who will offer as much as me,' he said.

Mr Sugar has assured Kleinwort Benson, Amstrad's financial advisers, that he will stay on at Amstrad if the bid fails. However, Kleinworts conceded that the assurance carried no legal obligation, and that in recommending the bid, the bank had taken into account the strong possibility that Mr Sugar would eventually leave if it failed.

Two institutional shareholders which together account for some 3 per cent of the shares - Postel and the Prudential - last week came out against the bid. Kleinworts said it had briefed both ahead of their decision, 'but clearly we didn't do a very good job'.

It is estimated that Mr Sugar might have incurred costs in excess of pounds 1m in making his bid, all of which he will be liable for personally if the offer fails. Besides the costs of advice and documentation, Mr Sugar would also have had to have paid substantial fees for the arrangement of banking facilities.

Mr Sugar's public relations firm, Michael Joyce Consultants, insisted that he would be staying on at Amstrad whatever the outcome of the bid. 'He's still got 200 million shares in Amstrad, so it is in his interests to make the company work. But it's deeper than that. He started this thing in 1968 and is totally committed. There's no significance in the fact that his service contract expired last June.'

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
Dominique Alderweireld, also known as Dodo de Saumure, is the owner of a string of brothels in Belgium
newsPhilip Sweeney gets the inside track on France's trial of the year
Cumberbatch was speaking on US television when he made the comment (Getty)
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Tom DeLonge, Travis Barker and Mark Hoppus of Blink-182 pictured in 2011.
musicBassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Travis Barker say Tom Delonge is 'disrespectful and ungrateful'
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'
tvBroadchurch series 2, episode 4, review - contains spoilers
cyclingDisgraced cycling star says people will soon forgive his actions
Britain's Prince Philip attends a Garden Party at Buckingham Palace in London
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran will play three sell-out gigs at Wembley Stadium in July
Lena Dunham posing for an official portrait at Sundance 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Client Services Manager - Relationship Management - London

£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Recruitment Genius: Credit Controller / Customer Service

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...

Guru Careers: In-House / Internal Recruiter

£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...

Recruitment Genius: Tax Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea