WhoΓÇÖs the Biggest Dragon in the Den
With Dragon’s Den now making its 9th series appearance on our television screens, we shift the spotlight onto the dragons for a snapshot of their personal wealth and find out how theses fortunes were amassed.
Born: February 1949.
Estimated Wealth: ┬ú430m
Source: Hotels, Fitness clubs
Duncan’s rise to the richest dragon is a genuine rag-to-riches storey which began with the sale of a ┬ú28,000 ice cream van business to the ownership of the largest chain of independent health clubs in the UK.
However it hasn’t all being straightforward for Duncan, prior to his business success he was dishonourably discharged from the navy culminating with a spell in a military detention centre and later an unrelated short stay at Glasgow’s Barlinnie Prison. Perhaps this provided the necessary inspiration for Duncan to turn his life around and establish the business empire he now commands.
Born: March 1966.
Estimated Wealth: ┬ú250m
Source: Mobile phones
Peter, along with Duncan ΓÇô his apparent on screen ‘rival’, account for the two ever presents on the show since it started back in 2005. Since then, Peter has agreed 29 investments including the notable Reggae Reggae sauce which has had remarkable success, even turning entrepreneur Levi Roots into a millionaire himself.
Early indications of Peter’s entrepreneurial tendencies began in his mid-teens when he founded a tennis academy. Following this were a range of ventures, with varying success, until his major big break came after founding Phones International Group, which now generates more than ┬ú200m in revenue each year.
Born: September 1959
Estimated Wealth: ┬ú170m
Source: Lingerie, Stationery
Theo’s most notable business successes have come with the revival of two major high-street brands, Ryman and La Senza, with the latter reportedly making him a cool ┬ú100m on its sale.
Whilst remaining as Chairman of Ryman, Theo’s latest venture is lingerie brand Boux Avenue. Launched back in spring, with the opening of six stores across the UK, Theo is now aiming at establishing Boux Avenue as the no1 online destination for women’s lingerie, nightwear and swimwear.
Even when pursuing his interests Theo can’t seem to escape success. His passion for football led to him spending 8 years as the chairman of Millwall FC, rescuing the club from the administrators before leading them into the Championship and the final of the FA Cup back in 2004.
Born: March 1957.
Estimated Wealth: ┬ú50m
The newest dragon in the lair, Hilary has made her fortune through her pallet exchange business which she founded back in 1996. Utilising her experience gained working in the logistics industry, she has taken Pall-Ex from a one woman enterprise to a multi-million pound company thatΓÇÖs looking to expand across Europe.
Success didn’t come easy for Hilary and she was forced to sell her house and car after banks refused to invest in her, and only through her hard work and perseverance was she able to establish herself in what could be described as a male dominated industry.
Hilary is also known for her appearance on The Secret Millionaire, where she generously donated to a range of deserving causes across the Greater Manchester area, in particular supporting projects involving children from poorer estates.
Born: February 1959.
Estimated Wealth: ┬ú40m
Deborah made her millions after successfully expanding her parents’ caravan park business, Weststar Holidays. Working her way up to the Managing Director she became the major shareholder during a management buyout, prior to selling the company for ┬ú33m whilst retaining a 23% share. The business was then sold again in 2007, to Parkdean Holidays, in an ┬ú83m deal which saw Deborah cash in on her stake.
Deborah is now a full time investor, with her business portfolio encompassing a range of ventures including the valuation website Value My Stuff which herself and Theo invested in, on the previous series of Dragon’s Den.
*Estimated Wealth and Source from Sunday Times Rich List 2011