Martin Lewis: from Simply Money to loads of money

From spin doctor to money saving multi-millionaire, we look at the rise of Martin Lewis.

Martin Lewis no longer needs to exercise his money saving expertise, having sold his website for £87m to Moneysupermarket.com.

Just a decade ago Mr Lewis was a little-known presenter on a 24-hour satellite television channel Simply Money. The channel was fronted by Angela Rippon, but it was Mr Lewis in his two minute slot on personal finance that caught the industry's eye.

After being picked up by Broadgate - now Broadgate Mainland - the PR company secured Mr Lewis a column in the Sunday Express. Simply Money was not a commercial success and Mr Lewis and the team were dropped to turn the channel into Simply Shopping, but the personal finance reporter retained his column at the Sunday Express.

An ex-colleague from the days of Simply Money said that although Mr Lewis had only two minutes on the channel he had so much enthusiasm it was difficult not to notice him.

"Martin articulated himself in a way that people understood, which was rare in the financial industry," he said.

Mr Lewis was born in Manchester and grew up in Cheshire. After attending the London School of Economics he worked in public relations in the City. He then attended Cardiff University to complete a postgraduate course in journalism.

Cardiff is famed for the number of BBC staff it produces, and Mr Lewis followed suit, working as business editor on Radio 4's Today programme.

It was after this, in 1999, that he joined Simply Money and then the Sunday Express. A former colleague at the Express explained that Mr Lewis was not as popular as you might expect given his accessible television persona today, but was a "bit of a geek".

"Martin was quite intense, very ambitious and an excellent networker, I am not surprised he has done so well," a former fellow journalist said.

It was while he was at the Express in February 2003 he set up MoneySavingExpert now the most popular consumer finance website in the UK, with 13 million monthly users and seven million people receiving the Martin's Money Tips email, for just £100.

While he was still at the Express, in 2007, he was rumoured to have been approached by Lloyds TSB who offered him £5m to buy the site. He turned it down on the basis that he "did not trust banks", and would worry about losing editorial control.

Before it was closed down last year, Mr Lewis had a column in the News of the World. He regularly appears on ITV's Daybreak programme, as well as Watchdog and has a weekly slot on the Lorraine show.

Mr Lewis has a monthly column in The Daily Telegraph.

[Related article: Martin Lewis on why everybody needs a credit card]


He is a best-selling author, titles include The Money Diet and Three Lessons & Thrifty Ways.

Commenting on today's announcement of the sale of his website to Moneysupermarket.com, Mr Lewis said that he would be cutting down on the time he spends running the website to concentrate on his media work.

The website is being sold for £87m. Mr Lewis owns 100pc of the business and is expected to receive £35m in cash and around 22.1m shares in MoneySupermarket.com.

He intends to gift £10m to charity, including £1m which will go to Citizens Advice.