FS veteran Hargreaves blasts £24m into space

Financial services multimillionaire Peter Hargreaves who saw his career take off when he founded investment management platform Hargreaves Lansdown is following fellow billionaire Elon Musk by making his next move into space, with a £24m investment in the Goonhilly satellite tracking station in Cornwall

Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd is the company that acquired the satellite station from BT in 2014. Founded by entrepreneur and satellite communications engineer, Ian Jones, the company was formed in order to realise the potential at the site.

Hargreaves’s funding will provide working capital to develop the business and is the largest cash injection  ever received by Goonhilly which beamed the images of the original moon landing across Britain.

Ian Jones, Goonhilly CEO, said the money will enable Goonhilly to embark on comprehensive global expansion, most likely in the West Coast of the US and Australia, giving the company 24 hour coverage of the Moon and Mars.

Earlier this year Goonhilly signed an £8.4m contract with the European Space Agency to become the first private operator in the ‘deep space’ communications network. It is also working on plans to put a satellite in the moon’s orbit.

Hargreaves, who originally trained as an accountant at Peat Marwick (now KPMG), co-founded Hargreaves Lansdown in Bristol in 1981 and now holds a 32% stake after stepping down from the company board. The funds supermarket is now valued at almost £9bn, eleven years after its £700m float.

Hargreaves is ranked at 42 in this year's Sunday Times Rich List with £3.16bn, up £849m.

‘I have been looking for something that was different, exciting and something that was very much for the future.

‘I didn’t pursue it; it came to me,” he added. “I was pretty sceptical to start with. It was only when I met all the people, and when I saw what was going on, that I thought: this is the future.’

Goonhilly is part of the Aerohub enterprise zone and is awaiting to hear whether Cornwall will be confirmed as the home of Britain's first Spaceport at Newquay airport.

Report by Pat Sweet

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