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Lord Alan Sugar revives Amstrad brand with new marketing agency led by grandson

Lord Alan Sugar is set to revive his famous brand Amstrad with the launch of a new digital marketing company led by his grandson, 17 years after selling the business to Sky.

The business mogul, who fronts BBC One reality series The Apprentice, bought back the rights to the household brand name for new agency Amstrad Digital.

Lord Sugar criticised the “belligerent” old management at Sky, prior to it being taken over by US media giant Comcast in 2018, for not allowing him to buy back the name.

Lord Alan Sugar
Lord Alan Sugar is launching a new digital marketing company led by his grandson (Ian West/PA)

“I had always asked, since 2007, to have it back because I want to give it down to the family to use in their business,” he told the PA news agency.

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The businessman founded electronics company Amstrad in 1968, at the age of 21, selling audio and computer equipment before making the first range of Sky receivers and dishes.

It was eventually sold to the broadcasting giant for £125 million, who still uses the software but not the brand name.

The new performance marketing agency Amstrad Digital will be headed up by Lord Sugar’s grandson Joe Baron, and Tom D’Arcy, who both worked at rival digital marketing agency Climb Online.

Climb Online was launched by The Apprentice winner Mark Wright with the investment of Lord Sugar, and sold in 2022 for a reported £10 million.

“They’ve got the brand name, that in itself is worth a fortune, and they’ve got to exploit it. And I want to see some money,” Lord Sugar told PA.

He also criticised working from home culture, brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, adding: “These two lads are not going to sit in their pyjamas working from home, they’ve got to get out there and do some business.”

Meanwhile, Lord Sugar acknowledged that television advertising has “suffered badly”, amid reports that the sector has faced tougher conditions in recent years amid rising costs and as consumer viewing habits shift.

Lord Alan Sugar
The new digital marketing company is launching 17 years after Lord Sugar sold Amstrad to Sky (Ian West/PA)

“TV companies have cut back tremendously, and the reason for that is because the power of television advertising is not as big as it was,” he told PA.

“It is now digital marketing, digital advertising and social media that are actually pulling in sales.”

Mr D’Arcy said: “The digital marketing landscape is ever-changing, which we see as a huge opportunity.”

He added: “The last thing someone should be doing is cutting back on marketing spend.”

Mr Baron said the new agency will have “exactly the same values” as the old Amstrad, which was widely known for making personal computers more affordable and accessible.