Hertfordshire's Richest 50

A good year for some, an even better year for many – this year's Richest 50 list charts the ups and downs of the county's wealthiest residents

1. Mike Ashley 09/12/1964Retailing �1,072m

Mike Ashley will be delighted with the way that Newcastle United gained promotion back to the premiership after one season in the championship after relegation from the Premiership at the end of the 2008-09 season. Having paid �134m to gain control of the ‘Magpies’ in the summer of 2007, and put in �258m all told, Ashley is still keen to find a buyer. Funding his Newcastle purchase has not been difficult for Hertfordshire-based Ashley. He pocketed �929m in one day when he floated his company, Sports Direct, on the stock market in February 2007 while retaining control of the business. It was after leaving school at 16 that Ashley first became involved in sportswear. He opened a small chain of sport and ski shops in and around London after quitting his job as a squash coach. Ashley is sitting on a �618m stake. With his Newcastle holding, past property deals, dividends and salaries and any remaining cash, Ashley should be worth �1072m after-tax.

2. Tony Tabatznik 02/08/1947 & FamilyPharmaceuticals �500m

3. Peter Harris 25/03/1934 & FamilyLeisure �400m

4. Sir Bernard Schreier 28/03/1918 & FamilyIndustry �365m

5. Ramesh 04/09/1945 & Pratibha Sachdev 21/03/1948Nursing homes �350m

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6. John Cook 04/07/1944 & FamilyLeisure �330m

7. The McAlpine FamilyConstruction �315m

8. Marquess of Salisbury 30/09/1946Property �250m

The 7th Marquess of Salisbury’s Hatfield House was completed in 1611. It is a treasure trove of hugely valuable paintings. The art is easily worth �125m, but we cut that in half to allow for any tax demands in any future sales. Hatfield also has a 3,000 acre park and woodland and a further vast acreage of farmland. In addition, there is Cranborne Manor, the family estate in Dorset from where Salisbury sells his organic sausages. His main farming company, Gascoyne Cecil Farms, made a �129,000 profit on �2.2m turnover in 2008-09 when it showed �4.9m net assets. We can see over �500,000 of net assets in smaller companies such as Perlpart Developments. Shrewdly, he is also developing the family’s London acreage round Leicester Square. The London estate, American land, the two stately homes with their surrounding 10,300 acres and the art collection keep Salisbury at �250m.

9. David Allen 26/07/1932Leisure �165m

10. Lance Uggla 01/02/1962Finance �163m

11. Tim Martin 28/04/1955Food �162m

Watford-based JD Wetherspoon pub chain produced impressive results for the year to July 2010 with profits up 34.4% at �60.5m on sales of �996.3m. It was in 1979 that the first Wetherspoon pub was opened in London by Tim Martin, its giant chairman. After a difficult start, the former lawyer never looked back. Martin’s stake is now worth over �149m. Other assets, share sales and past dividends take Martin to �162m after-tax and spending.

12. Sir Peter Ogden 26/05/1947Computers �142m

13. Stef 23/09/1941 & Stelio Stefanou 06/11/1952Construction �140m

14. Philip Hulme 27/08/1948Computers �123m

15. David 02/05/1975 & Victoria Beckham 17/04/1974Football and music �100m

Training with Tottenham Hotspur may not be quite like old times at Manchester United for David Beckham. but Spurs will do as he tries to make it into the England squad. His Hertfordshire mansion makes a perfect base for his return to English football. He moved to Real Madrid in 2003 for �25m on a four-year contract worth �6m a year before moving to LA Galaxy. In 2007, the Beckhams were reportedly paid $13.7m to launch his fragrance line in the US and have their own company, Beckham Brand Limited. Beckham’s own company, Footwork Productions, has paid him nearly �75m from 2002 to 2009. Victoria has made perhaps �10m from the Spice Girls and her fourth fashion collection has won global praise. With annual living costs of �5m a year, the Beckhams’ wealth and asset wealth is around �80m, plus �20m for image rights and the Beckham brand. 

16. Lennox Lewis 02/09/1965Boxing �95m

The nearest Lennox Lewis gets to a boxing ring today is as a commentator for the HBO station. He says that it would take �100m to get him back into the ring. Lewis has his reputation intact, having seen off all challengers including the fearsome Mike Tyson. Even Muhammad Ali is impressed, calling Lewis ‘the greatest’. London-born Lewis spent his childhood in Canada and first came to prominence by winning a gold medal for Canada in the super-heavyweight division at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. He later fought under a British flag. Happily married since July 2005 and a father to Landon Lewis, he has homes in Hertfordshire, Jamaica and Florida. In his distinguished career, the money flowed in. Up until 1997, his purses in 34 fights had reached �25m, and a year later he signed a seven fight deal that netted him �40m. The world title a year later made him �18.5m. In 2001-02 when he defeated Tyson, his earnings were over �30m, though in 2003 they fell to around �9m. We value Lewis at �95m.

17. Peter Dean 28/09/1944 & FamilyFood �90m

18. David McMullen 27/04/1945 & FamilyFood �85m

19. Andrew Cohen 02/05/1953 & FamilyRetailing �80m

20. Charles Gallagher 15/10/1959 & FamilyConstruction �80m

21. Michael Masterson 20/12/1950 & FamilyConstruction �80m

22. Paul Leach 26/07/1928 & FamilyProperty �70m

23. Simon Dolan 25/05/1969Business services �65m

24. Elizabeth Abbott 28/06/1954 & FamilyProperty �55m

25. Andrew Perloff 30/09/1944 & FamilyProperty �55m

26. Guy Ritchie 10/09/1968Media �55m

The eight-year marriage of American pop queen Madonna and her film director husband Guy Ritchie ended in late 2008. Hatfield-born Ritchie has acquired some choice assets. The divorce settlement included the couple’s country estate Ashcombe House in Wiltshire along with a �4m townhouse, their pub, and a �3m property in New York. The real size of the settlement was put at between �39m and �46m. But Ritchie, a successful film director in his own right, should have built up his own fortune over the years. His first feature film, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, in 1998 proved a critical and commercial success, earning him around �9m. His second film, Snatch, was also a success in 2000. Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law was released in late 2009 and grossed more than $498m worldwide, becoming Ritchie’s most successful film financially. His two film companies Ska Films and Ska Films Diamonds  made around �1.66m profit in 2009. With the success of Sherlock Holmes,we value Ritchie at �55m for now.

27. Melvyn Cooper 21/04/1941 & FamilyProperty �53m

28. Linda Ashley 07/06/1966Property �50m

29. Bryan Duffy 21/03/1943 & FamilyLeisure �50m

30. William Hughes 21/07/1941Pharmaceuticals �48m

31. Sir Terry Leahy 28/02/1956Retailing �48m

Sir Terry Leahy is retiring in March 2011 as Britain’s top grocer. The outgoing chief executive of supermarket giant Tesco, Leahy has built the Cheshunt-based operation into one of Britain’s largest companies now worth nearly �35 billion. The determinedly low-key Leahy, knighted in 2002, hails from Merseyside and is proud of his roots. Tesco pays Leahy well. He has a stake now worth �38m while his past salaries and share options should easily take him to �48m.

32. Farouq Sheikh 13/10/1958 & Haroon Sheikh 04/03/1956Care homes �48m

33. Rick Willmott 16/05/1963 & FamilyConstruction �48m

34. Bharat Shah 30/12/1949 & FamilyPharmaceuticals �47m

35. Michael Yarrow 02/12/1947 & FamilyPharmaceuticals �47m

36. James Barham 28/12/1936Property �45m

37. Charles Desoutter 30/04/1954 & FamilyIndustry �45m

38. Lewis Hamilton 07/01/1985Motor Racing �45m

The youngest ever Formula One World Champion at the end of the 2007-08 season, Lewis Hamilton has been pipped at the post though in the last two seasons. But he remains a serious force in F1 driving for McLaren. Stevenage-born and raised Hamilton’s earnings are reckoned to be in the region of $28m (�19.2m) a year once endorsements, such as those for Tag Hauer watches and Reebok sportswear, are taken into account according to Sports Illustrated magazine. Living in the tax haven of Switzerland will have enabled Hamilton to keep more of his cash. In 2009 he bought a �5m Sunseeker 90 yacht to be moored in Monte Carlo. He should easily be worth �45m right now.

39. David Kahn 24/07/1931 & FamilyIndustry �45m

40. Henry Bandet 21/04/1963 & FamilyProperty �44m

41. Tim Steiner 09/12/1969Retailing �39m

42. Jonathan Faiman 09/02/1969Retailing �36m

43. Joseph Murphy 14/11/1962 & FamilyConstruction �35m

44. George Sideras 27/03/1960 & FamilyNursing homes �35m

45. Nicholas Kebbell 28/10/1951 & FamilyConstruction �34m

46. Stephen Dixon 20/04/1963 & FamilyConstruction �33m

47. Mark Langran 04/06/1965Finance �33m

48. Sarah Brightman 14/08/1960Music �32m

Berkhamsted-born Sarah Brightman started singing as a teenager. In 1978, she released the single, ‘I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper’ and it became an instant disco hit. In 1981, she auditioned for a role in ‘Cats’ where she met future husband, Andrew Lloyd Webber. She went on to star in a number of his shows. They divorced in 1990 but are still friends. Her albums sell in the 1-3m unit range and she produces spectacular large scale concert performances.

49. Sir Nick Faldo 18/07/1957Leisure �32m

Nick Faldo’s early career was as a carpet fitter in Hertfordshire, but he is arguably Britain’s best post-war golfer. He has won six majors: three Open Championships and three US Masters. His career earnings were over $10.6m. But he is still heavily involved in golf through his Faldo Enterprises which has designed over 50 golf courses world-wide. Faldo Enterprises also handles his long-term sponsorship associations, including Audemars Piguet and Marriott. He has been a regular golf pundit on CBS since 2006. His main company Nick Faldo (International) showed nearly �1.3m net assets in 2008. His business empire and properties would normally take Faldo to nearly �50m. But he has had three divorces. Cautiously we clip Faldo back to �32m as a result.

50. Miles Levy 2/05/1956Food �30m

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