Quietly Built up a $1 trillion fortune by never selling a share of this British tech business.
Andrew Brode shunned light as he expanded his empire by purchasing from RWS translation company and the Learning Technologies Group training company.
British technology entrepreneur Andrew Brode has made a $1 billion wealth with a number of international acquisitions. Learning Technologies, which has led Brode, has recently picked up America’s rival GP Strategies for $394 million last month by providing training software for doctors and minors.
The serial contractor is also the President of the RWS Group, which over a decade has become one of the world’s largest corporate translation agencies with revenue of $491 million in 2020. RWS and Learning Technologies’ deal making squeezes the trend of bigger American rivals being snapped by British technology firms.
Brode’s almost 16 percent share is 336 million dollars in Learning Technologies, and its 23 percent RWS stake is 735 million dollars. Brode, 81 years of age, has seen RWS bond value jump from US$ 71 million (€ 42 million) to today’s US$ 3.18 billion (€ 2.28 billion) by reverse mergers on the AIM exchange in 2003. “Without selling any single share I am known in the town,” Brode said. “When you don’t sell, I tell all of my pensioners that Equity is blood.”
Brode began his career as an accountant but his entrepreneurship and capital was the result of his request to take over the management of family publishing, Croner Publications, which he sold for £2 million to Wolters Kluwer in 1977. After 13 years at the Anglo-Dutch editor Brode reached a contract in 1990, with the purchase financed by £2 million of Wolters Kluwer’s sale finance, £500 000 of the Barclays Bank loans and £300 000 remaining of own savings and a deal for the purchase of Eclipse, the publisher’s legal journal.
In 1995 Brode’s own language skills provided an opportunity to purchase RWS as a U.K. patent filing and translation agency. Brode, who learned German by his parents who escaped from Nazi Germany, was chased as non-Executive Director of a Munich based portfolio company by private equity firm 3i. When 3i was approached to purchase RWS from Buckinghamshire, the investors in London turned to Brode. Brode merged Eclipse with RWS and funded 3i in the £7 million deal; the extended group took 75 percent stake.
Brode sold Relx (formerly Reed Elsevier) the legal publishing company in 2000 for £43 million. “A business I purchased for 3 million pounds in 2000 I sold for 43 million pounds and the dot-com crash came one month later,” said Brode. “Time and luck are very important in business life and bring the icing on top of the cake.”
In 2003 RWS released a $71 million ( £42 million) worth of RWS in the London AIM market, which was fused to a cash shell. In 2017 the Czech-based translation agency Moravia’s acquisition of the $320 million was decreased from Brode’s then 70% stake and subsequently issued shares, and in August 2020, the machine transfer enterprise SDL was diluted to a $1,1 million deal.
Brode is still the largest single shareholder in the firm and generated profits of 64 million dollars ( £46,4 million), for 473 million dollars ( £355,8 million), according to its full-year results for 2020, from translation and patent filing fees charged to its technology and life sciences customers.
The Learning Technologies Group, which also holds the presidency and the largest shareholder of Brode, has already made a $2.2 billion stock valuation for the employee talent and training company. Brode purchased a small trainer for $9.3 million (£4.7 million) in 2008, with revenue from the legally-owned newspaper and released it in 2013 through a $20 million (€15 million) worth of cash shell mergers. He is also chairman of the GRC International Group, the UK cybersecurity firm, which also covers AIM for $64 million on the stock market.
Brode gave about 6 million dollars (£5 million) to his former school, King Edward’s in Birmingham, and his alma mater, his alma mater, to provide scholarships to underprivileged language students in management. “In any flash way we don’t spend our money. I don’t have a yacht, I don’t have a second property, and we’re not speculating,” Brode says. “You may ask why I work at the age of 80, but I get my kicks off the way I expand and thrive in businesses.”