The Business On... Sir Tom Hunter, Businessman


Sir Tom is back?

Not on the frontline, but he's pumped £1m into buying shares in Sports Direct, the highly successful retailer that is majority owned by Mike Ashley, who is also the owner of Newcastle United.



So what's this all about?

About a month ago, Mr Ashley bought 80 per cent of Sir Tom's USC and Cruise Fashion chains. They will be the core of a new premium and luxury division of Sports Direct. That might seem something of a contradiction in terms, but he's serious. And Sir Tom remains involved and invested in the chains.



Sort of back to the future then?

Yes, the tycoon-turned-charity hero is back to being a businessman. A number of his investments rather came unstuck during the credit crunch. Scotland's first home-grown billionaire is a billionaire no longer. Maybe his new bessie mate Mike can help. After all, Sir Tom did make his first fortune with Sports Division.



What happened to that?

Sir Tom pocketed a cool £252m after JJB, Sports Direct's big rival, paid £290m for the chain. The proud Scot's reputation took a bit of a battering in the process: the deal came at the cost of 500 Scottish jobs. Des Browne, then the local MP, was a vocal critic saying he was "profoundly disappointed the people of Ayrshire have lost out because of the actions of one man".



Ouch.

Indeed. But to be fair, he ignored his accountant's advice to relocate to Monaco at the time, remaining in Scotland because he wanted to bring his kids up there. And he set up the Hunter Foundation – initially it was a tax management vehicle, but it has made a number of big donations to worthy causes. Sir Tom was alsopersonally involved in the delivery of initiatives he backed, coining the term "venture philanthropy".



Didn't he promise to give away a billion pounds?

He did, but the credit crunch intervened. Perhaps Mike can provide the Midas touch that Sir Tom has rather lost and help him realise what he has described as "his dream".

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

SharePoint Administrator/Developer (C#, VB.NET, VISUAL STUDIO 2

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SharePoi...

European HR Director, London

£80000 - £95000 per annum: Charter Selection: A leading Global organisation Ja...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit