Satellite giant BSkyB is set to buy Sir Alan Sugar's electronics group Amstrad in a Â£125m takeover that will see the star of The Apprentice collect Â£34.5m. For BSkyB the deal means bringing one of its main set-top box suppliers in-house and should speed up the development of new products as it seeks to stay ahead in the increasingly competitive pay-TV market.
Brentwood-based Amstrad already supplies a third of the set-top boxes bought by Sky and the broadcaster accounts for the lion's share of revenues at Sir Alan's company. Until now, Sky's developers had come up with product specifications in-house then gone to potential suppliers asking them to come up with detailed designs to be made and sold back to Sky. Making Amstrad a sub-division still run by Sir Alan cuts out much of the costs for Sky and speeds up the process. Sky's chief executive James Murdoch said the deal built on a "long and positive relationship" with Amstrad.