Michael Ashcroft is a businessman, philanthropist, a politician, a pollster, and an author. He has had success in many different fields as he has enjoyed a diverse career. Due to this success, it is now estimated that he is worth $1.6 billion. So, how did Michael Ashcroft become so wealthy?
Ashcroft was born on March 4, 1946, in West Sussex, England. He spent some of his childhood in Belize, formerly British Honduras, as his father was a British colonial civil servant. When he returned to England, he attended Norwich School, Royal Grammar School. After leaving school, he obtained an HND in Business Studies from Mid-Essex Technical College. Once he had completed his education, Ashcroft spent a short period in Belize and then hitchhiked around Europe. His first job was as the manager of a rock and roll band before he became a management trainee at Carreras Tobacco from 1967 to 1969. When he left, he was unemployed for a few months until he eventually landed a job with Pritchard Group Services. Although he started at the bottom, Ashcroft quickly climbed the ranks until he was appointed as an assistant in the accounting department of the head office and worked as part of the acquisitions team.
Although he was successful at this company, Ashcroft decided he wanted to branch out on his own and founded Michael A. Ashcroft Associates in 1972. Uni-Kleen was his first acquisition, and he bought the company for just £1 because they were making a loss. At that time, the cleaning company had 1,000 employees. Ashcroft took out a loan for £15,000, and he used this money to turn the company around. Just three years later, Ashcroft sold this company for a staggering £1.3 million. Next, Ashcroft purchased the poorly performing company Hawley Goodall and used this company to acquire further companies making Hawley a business services group. He sold the car auctions division of this company and this led to him developing a friendship with David Wickins, Together with Wickins, Ashcroft went on to take a large stake in Lotus cars and they also collaborated on several other joint business ventures. Hawleys was a fast-expanding company and by 1981, the group had acquired its first American business. Both Ashcroft and Wicking had large stakes in Cope Allman, a pharmaceutical packaging company, which were 43.5 percent when combined. This company was sold to MBO and then later to Bowater in 1992.
Ashcroft and Wickins joined forces again in 1985 when they bought Henlys Group, which is a car sales dealership. Ashcroft merged this with Coleman Milne, which was a hearse making company that he already owned. This formed a motoring division which he then sold to the Plaxton Group in 1989. Previously, Ashcroft had bought out his former employers, Pritchard Services. One of the most important years in the history of Hawley was 1987. In this year, Hawley bough companies including Crime Control, Inc. and ADT Security Services. This inspired Ashcroft to change the name of his company from Hawley to ADT, Inc. In the same year, Ashcroft bought out the existing shareholders of Wickins BCA. Wickins retired from BCA in 1990 but remained at ADT until the Tyco reverse takeover, in 1997. BCA was sold to Samuel Montagu & Co. in 2006 in a deal that was personally lucrative for Ashcroft has he personally netted £200 million from the acquisition.
In addition to his main company, Michael Ashcroft has also had business interests in many other companies. He has had significant interests in both Impellam Group and WeAre20:20. He has been a major stakeholder in Watford football club since 2006, and he owns 42 percent of the shares. He also owns 72.3 percent of Gusbourne, which is an English sparkling wine company that he acquired for £7 million in 2013. Furthermore, he became the main backer of an educational startup called Flooved in 2011 along with Stephen Shakespeare, who is the co-founder and CEO of YouGov. Further to his businesses in the UK and the United States, Ashcroft has also had a political career in both the UK and in Belize. At the height of his political career in the United Kingdom, he was the Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party. Ashcroft resigned from this position in 2010, and he was replaced by Michael Fallon, who was at that time a former government minister and who is now a Treasury Select Committee Member. He was made a life peer in 2000 and sat on the Conservative benches of the House of Lords until 2015. In Belize, Ashcroft is a supporter of the People’s United Party, and he allegedly gave the party $1 million.
According to Forbes, Michael Ashcroft now has a personal net worth of $1.6 billion. This makes him the 1425th richest person in the world. He is also listed as the 95th richest person in the United Kingdom in 2017 on the Sunday Times Rich List. He has accrued this wealth predominantly through his various business activities and his work as a politician. He has also made money by having books published. Between 2005 and 2016, Ashcroft has published 15 books which focus on aspects of both his political and business careers. In his personal life, Ashcroft married his first wife, Wendy Burrell, in 1972. The couple had a son and a daughter together before they divorced. He then went on to marry Susan Anstey in 1986 and they are still married to this day. The couple has two homes in England, one in London and the other in Maidenhead in Berkshire. They also have a home in Belize. They enjoy a luxury lifestyle thanks to Ashcroft’s vast wealth. They own a Dassault Falcon 7X private jet, which suffered extensive damage when it careered off the landing strip at Malta International airport in 2017. Ashcroft and his wife also own two 150-foot yachts; Lady M and Atlantic Goose.