Who are the richest people in Britain's IT industry?

Who are the richest players in Britain's IT industry? The Sunday Times Rich List 2009 was released on 26 April and we see who are the richest people in the tech industry.

Who are the richest players in Britain's IT industry? The Sunday Times Rich List 2009 was released on 26 April. We take a look at who are the richest people in the tech industry from that list.

Richard Branson retains his title as the richest person in Britain's tech sector in 2009 with his internet, mobile phone and transport businesses, according to The Sunday Times 2009 Rich List. Despite his fortune falling by £1.5bn from £2700m in 2008 to £1200m, Branson remains the richest in the UK's tech sector tied in 32nd on the overall list.

Branson's Virgin Media offers a one-stop shop for broadband, mobile, TV and phone and was quick to release its superfast 50mbs broadband service to consumers at the end of 2008. However, Virgin Media's CEO Neil Birkett has spoken out in a video interview to ComputerWeekly.com on the barriers to the commercial roll-out of superfast broadband.

Next on list from the tech sector is the consumer electronics tycoon and The Apprentice host Sir Alan Sugar, who is number 59 with a fortune worth £730m. Sugar's Essex-based Amshold Group saw profits soar last year, despite his portfolio's value falling by £100m on 2008. He also has a holding in the £100m-valued Viglen computer firm, which was in merger negotiations with the system builder Stone Computers last year. The discussions were called off in March 2009.

Third in the list is the first from internet gambling firm Party Gaming. It's bosses are Russell De Leon and his wife Ruth Parasol, who are tied at joint 60th, with a fortune worth £700m. The Gibralter-based business was floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2005, just before the business was forced to close down its US operation.

Next comes Welshman Sir Terry Matthews, who has set up several high tech communications companies, including VoIP company Mitel, which he sold to BT in 1985 and Newbridge Networks telecoms company, which he sold to Alcatel in 2000.

Matthews was said to be Wales's first billionaire and also owns golf's 2010 Ryder Cup venue Celtic Manor. His £600m fortune has fallen by £350m from its 2008 value. Matthews was joint 70th in the overall list.

In fifth place is the second of the Party Gaming millionaires, Indian-born Aurag Dikshit. He left the company in 2006, but still retains a stake worth £216m. His fortune, which includes past share sales, is valued at £559 million.

The rest of the top 10 in the UK's tech industry, include Planet Online's Paul Sykes tied at number 79 with a furtune worth £550m and number six in the UK's teach sector.

Seventh is Michael Tabor, who has a stake in Victor Chandler's internet gaming operation. He is also was a major backer of Global Radio, the UK's largest commercial radio group. Tabor's fortune weighs in at £520m.  

At eight is Felix Dennis, supremo of internet and magazine publishing business Dennis Publishing. Dennis is worth £500m placing him equal 88th in the overall list. Dennis's stable of internet businesses include the IT titles PC Pro, IT Pro, Computer Shopper and Computer Buyer.

Ninth in the IT sector is Michael Moritz, who made early investments in Google and YouTube through Sequola Capital. His fortune is put at £470m.

The tenth richest players in the tech sector are Peter and Denise Coates, who are the third of the online gaming websites to have made it into the top 10. Denise Coates persuaded her father to set up online gaming website Bet365 in 2000. Their fortune is valued at £400m, placing them in 128th spot in the overall list.

11 (#135) Jan Mol – Dutch computer tycoon. Sold his IT company to CapGemini and invested his money in his son’s Dutch internet business. Worth £390m.

12 (#156=) Sir Peter Rigby – Computing, aviation and hotels. Has £300m stake in Midlands-based Specialist Computer Holdings. Its profits fell from £14.5m to £3.2m in 2007/2008. Worth £330m.

13 Peter Wilkinson (#177) – Computers. His company InTechnology http://www.intechnology.co.uk/ signed a deal in January this year to supply mobile communications to NHS staff. The Harrogate businessmen de-listed the business last year. Worth £301m.

14 Michael and Xochi Birch (#222=)– Social networking. The Birch’s sold Bebo social networking site to AOL in 2008 for £418m. They have now launched Wordia, a multimedia dictionary. Worth £250m.

15 Dr Mike Lynch (#£235m) – Founder of Cambridge software house Autonomy, who recently released great financial results. Worth £235m.

The rest of the tech sector in the Sunday Times Rich List 2009 will follow on 28 April. The full list can be found on the Times online and will be available from 2pm on 28 April.

Photo credit: Roland Hoskins / Daily Mail /Rex Features

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