HR & Management

The 5 most successful British business brothers

7 min read

02 March 2015

Former editor

From property magnates to advertising gurus, we have a look at the brothers who've made it big by joining forces in the business world.

A great deal has been written about the optimum number of founders, and their complimentary skill sets. But, as these five sets of brothers show, a compatible business partner might be closer to home that previously thought.

Christian and Nick Candy:

The British-born, but now Monaco-based, Candy brothers have shown that the global recession didn’t collapse everybody’s property empire. From a not so humble beginning, the duo’s first dalliance in the property space was doing up the flat they were living in using a loan from their grandmother. Making a £50,000 profit form the exercise, the brothers clearly saw a future in it and so began renovating further flats and eventually setting up Candy & Candy to oversee it all.

Some fifteen years after the company was set up, the two are now reported to be worth over £300m and have developed some of the most expensive real estate developments in the world. Their One Hyde Park project has seen penthouse apartments sold for nearly £150m and has retail units including Rolex and McLaren.

In a 2014 interview with The Guardian, the two were described as a “couple of likely lads” by property buying agent Henry Pryor, who then ended up everywhere. Christian is said to be the brains and numbers man behind the property empire, while Nick is the showman – serving often as the face of the company. A Hollywood film charting the boy’s rise to fame and wealth has been suggested, and would probably be right up the brother’s street.

Read more of our Surreal Business lists:

Maurice and Charles Saatchi:

Another brotherly combination who created a business by combining both of their surnames, albeit before the Candys did, the Saatchi’s business interests have touched many industries but largely focused on the advertising world.

A notorious story dating back to the company’s inception, and evidence of the brother’s guile and fortitude, saw them hire randomers to serve as advertising executives and hopefully make it look like they were a buzzing office to possible clients.

After being booted out of their own company by shareholders in the mid-1990s, Maurice and Charles went on to set up a rival firm, M&C Saatchi, with similar success levels. Both have had well-documented marriages and Maurice served as the chairman of the Conservative Party between 2003 and 2005.

The Sunday Times Rich list 2014 had the two down as having a £140m combined worth, with Charles having sold his stake in M&C Saatchi for £4m.

Read on to find out about brothers in the metal and media trades, as well as a pick for the future.

David and Simon Reuben:

Moving back into the property sector, alongside private equity and venture capital as well, the Reuben brothers were born in India but moved to London with their family as teenagers. They initially started by trading in the Russian metals market and crossed paths with the likes of Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich.

The two now own Millbank Tower and both the John Lewis London and American Express headquarters in London. Alongside that, they have investments in new challenger bank Metro, The Wellington Pub Company, D2 Jeans, Travelodge Hotels and Arena Racing Company.

Now based in Switzerland, Forbes recently revealed the brothers’ net worth was nearly £7bn. Unlike the Candys, the Reuben’s are notoriously publicity-shy and never do interviews. Also well known for their philanthropic endeavours, they set up the Reuben Foundation in 2002 and now make donations mainly in the healthcare and education sectors. 

David and Frederick Barclays:

The Barclay brothers began life as twins in 1930s Hammersmith and, over the next eighty years, have assembled a multi-billion pound business empire stretching from media and retail to property. The Sunday Times Rich List 2014 pegged their wealth at £6bn, generated through holdings in businesses such as Yodel, Littlewoods and The Telegraph Media Group.

Using large loans from government agency Crown Agents, David and Frederick bought up hotels – after which they moved into acquiring breweries and casinos. Both were knighted by the Queen in 2000 for charitable services and have ironically tried to remain out of the public spotlight for as long as possible, despite holdings in a number of media outlets.

Regardless of that, the brothers have never been far from a little controversy – ranging from recent allegations of editorial influence at The Telegraph to an ongoing battle relating to their business holdings on the island of Sark.

And one for the future….

Nish and Sach Kukadia:

While fairly early on in their business adventure, Nish and Sach Kukadia are fast growing their flash sales site SecretSales. Set up in 2007, it has just ticked over into profit and added one million new subscribers.

With their father one of the early directors at Pepe, the two were immersed in the fashion world from a very young age.

The latest instalment of The Sunday Times Tech Track 100 had the business sitting in 68th place, with its new-found profit standing setting it in good stead for the future. Keep an eye out for these brothers.