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Internet whizz Andrew is at it again

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: May 05, 2009

glamorous lifestyle: multi-millionaire Andrew Michael with long-standing friend, musician Pete Doherty

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INTERNET whizz-kid Andrew Michael has turned down an offer of £100 million for a business he started just three months ago.

Andrew, 29, who grew up in Charlton Kings, is already a multi-millionaire with a string of celebrity friends after selling his previous business, which started as an A-Level project, for more than £61 million.

His latest venture, Livedrive, allows clients to store unlimited files online and has already attracted the massive bid from an un-named company.

Andrew, who lives near Andoversford, said: "We have received an offer – I can't go into details – but it has been turned down.

"We only started the company 12 weeks ago and I'm enjoying building the business up. We're very excited about it."

Although Andrew said it was flattering to receive such a huge offer so early into the life of the company, he said his focus was on making the business bigger.

He added: "To be honest, there's nothing I can do with £100 million that I can't do with £50 million. If I was offered a billion pounds it might be different but at the moment I'm just looking to move up to the next rung on the ladder."

Andrew said if he had £1 billion he might consider competing with the likes of Chelsea owner and Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. He said: "If I had that much money I'd want to concentrate on charity work, but I'd think about buying a local team like Cheltenham Town or Gloucester Rugby and building them up."

Aged 17, Andrew walked out of St Edward's School in Charlton Kings to concentrate on the Fasthosts business with which he would make his fortune.

Fasthosts was initially set up in 1998 as an A-level project by Andrew and his friend Alex Wilding, from Cheltenham.

The company provided email and other web services to small business and quickly became a giant in the industry.

By 2002, the Sunday Times listed the internet-hosting business as the second fastest growing technology company in the country.

In 2005, it turned over a profit of £15 million and Andrew quickly became famous for the lavish Christmas parties he laid on for the 100 staff he employed at Discovery House in Gloucester.

Acts to perform for the Barnwood-based firm included Girls Aloud, Sugababes, The Cheeky Girls and Louise Redknapp.

When he sold Fasthosts, Andrew, who was born in Cyprus, said he was pleased the cash would enable him to pursue his childhood dream of owning a helicopter.

Although he did buy one, he later sold it and says it is more convenient to charter one as and when he needs it.

Opinion, p8

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  • Profile image for This is Gloucestershire
    CHRISA, GLOUCESTER  |  May 18 2009, 9:22PM

    £100m for Livedrive funny! Doubt he has got £20m left poor thing :-)

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    Rob, Cheltenham  |  May 08 2009, 8:21AM

    As someone with a SaaS (Cloud Computing) application business with a USP, patentability and protected core technology, as well as large Blue Chip companies as clients in the UK and EU, I think this is an excellent bit of PR!! Nothing more. Not sure where you get 15 x valuation from, maybe 9-12 of revenue (there isn't any) and a chunk for IP (there isn't any) but to get to £100m you will need £5-10m in revenue. It's not going to happen. Fasthosts (pile em high sell em cheap) was his 'cash out' but I am of the impression his personal return was not as reported. On his numbers, my business should be worth £1.5bn, but it isn't. And I am in the right place at the right time with unique technology and IP protection, so good luck to him and his PR stunts. By they way, up until a year ago the tax paid on the sale of a company was 10%, it is now 18% (thanks Darling!), although there are other costs and fees/taxes to pay. His main problem will be capital gains tax I believe, although my FD and accountant would have to advise.

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    Steve, Cheltenham  |  May 07 2009, 11:16PM

    Sue, I think your husband needs to change his accountant!

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    Vinny Hide, Swindon  |  May 06 2009, 1:05PM

    Sue - if you have shares in a private company for more than 2 years I think the tax rate goes down to 10% and then with planning and trusts you can pay nothing. Most businessmen at andrews level won't be paying tax on a share sale like that

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    Sue, Cheltenham  |  May 06 2009, 12:59PM

    I do wish him the best of luck for getting of his bum and doing something with his life. He touched on charity work in the article - let's hope it's a route he goes down. Think of all the good that could be done to help others. If it were me, I'd take the £100m, keep a hefty whack (enough to keep me in chauffeur-driven helicoptors for the rest of my days and give the rest to charities. I really don't see how, in all conscience, celebrities can sit counting their money while others are suffering. completely immoral in my opinion. Andrew does however seem a nice bloke, so hopefully he will go down that route. Interested to know Alfredo how he's escaping a massive tax bill though. Can you elaborate please, as I don't know much about such business deals. My only experience is tax relating to business is that my husband works 7 days per week in our business and gives Gordon Clown 40% of our profits.

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    Peter, Gloucester  |  May 06 2009, 9:48AM

    Still no reports of this on any tech news sites.

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    Alfredo, Cheltenham  |  May 06 2009, 8:50AM

    @anon - It's perfectly reasonable that a three month-old business could be valued at £100m. Today's economic climate means that it's worth less at the moment, so it might be a steal at that price. @Anonymous - there'd be no tax to pay, certainly not at 40%, on a business transaction such as this. @ecco - 100GB of data is nothing. As a photographer, I can easily create 2GB of data in a week. A three day shoot in Paris has given me 4.1GB of data - I have to secure that somewhere, and that "somewhere" has to be off-site, so LiveDrive-like services are ideal. At a time when people are pretty much only using digital cameras, computers for communication and business, data back-up is critical, but it has to be easy for the technologically-challenged to use. That's where services like LiveDrive and Mozy come in. They're almost fire & forget technologies, and they're very smart.

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    Anonymous, Cheltenham  |  May 05 2009, 9:01PM

    Oops, cant edit my post - missed a word off there 'anyway, anyone that knows him..' He didnt even sell for 51m - where has that figure come from? it changes each time its reported! It's 46m (and then -tax @ 40%!)

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    Ecco, Cheltenham  |  May 05 2009, 8:45PM

    and your news Jim...

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    Jim, Glos  |  May 05 2009, 8:42PM

    Looks like he IS having a laugh, the offer came from a company with no name! haha