Plumbing company founder and wife to land £500m fortune Business

An entrepreneur who started a rabbit farming business aged six is ​​set to pocket £500million with his wife after selling his home repair business.

Canadian investment firm Brookfield Asset Management will pay £4.1bn for HomeServe, which is one of the UK’s largest home emergency companies and has growing international operations.

The company was co-founded in 1993 in Walsall by Richard Harpin.

Mr Harpin and his wife Kate, who live in North Yorkshire where they run a village pub and ferry service, are expected to make £490m from the deal as they hold 7.4% stakes respectively % and 4.8%.

A self-proclaimed “Northerner to the core”, Mr. Harpin has been Homeserve’s chief executive for nearly three decades.

He has his own website advising fellow entrepreneurs to “reinvent or die”, and offers a reading list of books such as Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

He started his first business at the age of six, raising and selling rabbits, but his first breakthrough was converting fishing flies called “harlots” into fashion accessories in 1982.

Feather earrings were sold in barbershops and promoted with the slogan “Hookers set to hit the high street” in national and regional newspapers in 1982.

It will end the FTSE 250 group’s 18-year existence as a listed company and also marks one of the biggest deals for a UK public company so far this year.

Mr Harpin said: “Since HomeServe was founded in 1993 with just £500,000 of capital from the South Staffordshire Group, the company has gone from strength to strength and now operates in 10 countries with a workforce of around 9,000. employees.”

He added, “I’m proud of the business we’ve built and I’m delighted that Brookfield is committed to providing long-term capital and global expertise.

It is unclear whether he will remain in the same role once the acquisition is complete.

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This notice was published: 2022-05-19 19:23:20

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