Childhood pictures reveal humble origins of self-made online shopping tycoon

Pictures revealing the humble childhood of self-made online shopping tycoon Matthew Moulding who grew up in a house with an outside toilet can be revealed today by MailOnline for the first time. 

Moulding, who grew up in a ‘two-up, two-down’ near Burnley and was expelled from college for bunking off to visit his brother in prison, landed an eye-watering £830million payout after his firm’s share price soared this week.

In these exclusive pictures, he can be seen as a boy smiling shyly at the camera as he holds a dripping ice-cream, while seated in a deckchair in a modest back yard.

A second image shows a golden haired boy in a stripey t-shirt and dungarees  standing next to an older child in a matching outfit.  

Moulding, the son of a tarmac contractor, founded technology firm The Hut Group in 2004. 

Matthew Moulding scooped the huge bonus after setting up a hugely successful business

The 48-year-old grew up in a 'two-up, two-down' in Burnley with an outside toilet

The 48-year-old grew up in a ‘two-up, two-down’ in Burnley with an outside toilet

He founded technology firm The Hut Group in 2004 and received what is one of the largest bonuses in corporate history after the company's share price rose to meet its target

He founded technology firm The Hut Group in 2004 and received what is one of the largest bonuses in corporate history after the company’s share price rose to meet its target 

Moulding considers himself a very private person with a tight circle of friends. Contrary to the party persona of his later years, he is still found watching his boys’ football matches at the weekend.

Moulding considers himself a very private person with a tight circle of friends. Contrary to the party persona of his later years, he is still found watching his boys’ football matches at the weekend. 

The 48-year-old owns 20 per cent of the business which runs more than 100 websites including make-up brands such as eyeko, Illamasqua, retail website Look Fantastic, and a series of luxury hotels.

Now he donates his £750,000 salary to charity, has given £10m to support Covid relief efforts, and a further £2m of PPE to frontline workers. 

Moulding considers himself a very private person with a tight circle of friends. Contrary to the party persona of his later years, he is still found watching his boys’ football matches at the weekend. 

His childhood was often difficult. The family was always worrying about where money would come from due to his father’s unstable, self-employed job as a tarmac contractor.

His father would buy a wagon full of tarmac from the quarry before heading to cold-call wealthy neighbourhoods to win jobs resurfacing people’s drives. He was often left with a load he couldn’t sell, which would go hard and be wasted.  

Moulding didn’t really enjoy school but despite being a bit of a loner, he ended up with a clutch of GCSES at grades B-D – enough to get into college. 

He was soon expelled, however, for missing too many lessons to see his brother who was in prison. He took a job in a factory making interior car parts, taking on 16-hour double shifts to make as much money as he could.

But his potential was spotted by his Economics teacher who wanted him to come back to college the following year, focusing on his clear talent for the subject and maths.  

Mr Moulding will only be able to actually sell his shares in March due to a 180-day lock-in period. Pictured: The tycoon with his wife Jodie

Mr Moulding will only be able to actually sell his shares in March due to a 180-day lock-in period. Pictured: The tycoon with his wife Jodie

Flashing the cash: Hut Group's founder and fitness fanatic Matt Moulding (above in red shorts)

Flashing the cash: Hut Group’s founder and fitness fanatic Matt Moulding (above in red shorts)

With two As and a B at A-Level, he won a place at Nottingham University to study Industrial Economics, the first member of his family to do so. 

His family home in Colne was brought for about £2,000 in the mid-1970s, and is worth about £145,000 today. Located beside a 100ft bus depot, it had an outside toilet at the time they moved in and no shower. 

 Now, his family has a fortune of £600 million, with the tycoon tightly controlling his vast empire through his iPhone, working long hours and drinking 20 shots of coffee a day – though he finds time to holiday with his wife and four children in the Maldives and Dubai.

He has confessed that for all his success, his childhood has left him with a fear of losing it all. He has never forgotten his roots and still returns to his school, he says.

He speaks to his ex-convict brother every week. His family has all been financially looked after over the years, receiving shares worth astronomical sums. 

His windfall came this week after his company hit a target that was set when it was floated on the London Stock Exchange in September, at 500p a share and with a value of £5.4billion. The share price is now 647.8p. 

The Hut’s float was the largest-ever ecommerce IPO in Europe, according to the London Stock Exchange, and the largest tech IPO ever in London.

The total payout from the scheme for Mr Moulding could hit £1billion if The Hut’s market capitalisation rises further to £7.25billion. 

Even if the current price were to remain as it is, Moulding’s pay day still dwarfs the £323million received by Denise Coates, the founder of gambling giant Bet 365, in 2018.  

The 48-year-old owns 20 per cent of the business which is best known for its MyProtein brand of fitness supplements

The 48-year-old owns 20 per cent of the business which is best known for its MyProtein brand of fitness supplements

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RM Williams bought by Australian mining tycoon Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest

An investment company owned by mining magnate Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest and his wife Nicola has bought iconic bootmaker RM Williams, returning it to Australian ownership.

The Adelaide-based outfitter, founded by bushman Reginald Murray Williams in 1932, had been in the hands of Louis Vuitton-backed private equity firm L Catterton.

It employs 400 people at its Salisbury workshop in Adelaide and another 500 across Australia.

“Nicola and I are incredibly proud and humbled to be able to bring RM Williams back under Australian ownership,” Mr Forrest said in a statement.

“RM Williams is a quintessential Aussie brand with a long and proud history of high-quality Australian craftsmanship.”

SA Premier Steven Marshall said in a social media post that the transaction “spells great news for local manufacturing and local jobs in SA”.

The bootmaker is one of South Australia’s flagship brands, counted among the most well-known businesses with deep roots in the state.

Australian Hollywood actor Hugh Jackman is the company’s global brand ambassador.

RM Williams boots are a popular South Australian brand.(ABC News: Isobel Roe)

CEO Raju Vuppalapati said he was proud of the brand’s development under its current owners and excited about its future.

“I am delighted with the success we had with re-positioning the brand and delivering significant growth,” Ms Vuppalapati said.

“RM Williams’s brand is the strongest it has ever been in its 88-year history.”

He added that last year’s decision to invest in a second line of boots, recruiting 100 extra staff for the Salisbury workshop, was an important milestone in the company’s growth.

The bootmaker had, however, announced the closure of all of its Australian stores due to coronavirus in March.

Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest stands in front of the upside-down weir he has developed beneath the Ashburton River on Minderoo
Andrew Forrest and his wife Nicola have bought the RM Williams business.(ABC: Robert Koenigluck)

In April, it reportedly temporarily shut its Salisbury factory.

But the company has since reopened its 68 retail outlets in Australia, most of which are in Queensland and New South Wales.

It also has stores in London, New York City and Copenhagen.

RM Williams products ship to 13 countries around the globe.

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Tycoon who designed Harry and Meghan’s £11m mansion issues warning on property

Harry and Meghan have been warned by the Tycoon who designed their £11m mansion in California to ‘watch out for mudslides’.

The Sussexes recently moved into their sprawling pad ‘The Chateau’ after buying it in May – with American talk show queen Oprah Winfrey and Hollywood stars Gwyneth Paltrow and Rob Lowe among their nearby neighbours.

The lavish 14,463 sq ft property – designed and built by multi-millionaire businessman Terry Cunningham and his wife Randi – is so technologically advanced that it can detect fog rolling in from the Pacific ocean.

Set in 5.4 acres of “spectacular” land in Montecito, The Chateau is based on a classic French country house, and is surrounded by sweeping lawns, rose gardens, huge Italian cypress trees, blooming lavender and 100-year-old olive trees.

Mr Cunningham and his wife spent four years building the plush nine-bedroom mansion after buying the land in 1999, creating a dream home for themselves and their children to “make memories”.

The nine-bedroom mansion is set in 5.4 acres of land near the Santa Barbara hills

The businessman even poured two bottles of red wine onto the cellar floor to give the room an authentic aroma.

But despite installing sensors which can detect fog, there was one natural phenomenon the couple didn’t think when designing the house – mudslides.

In 2018, devastating mudslides came within 200ft of the property, after being triggered by heavy rain in the hills nearby which had been ravaged by wildfires.

“We sure as hell didn’t think about it when we were building, but certainly it’s something I would be thinking about now,” said Mr Cunningham, now 61, in an interview with the Mail on Sunday.

The Duke and Duchess spoke to Dani Trin over Zoom
Harry and Meghan bought the property in May and moved in six weeks ago

Giving an idea of the star-studded nature of the Santa Barbara neighbourhood, Mr Cunningham recalls Oprah holding her 50th birthday party nearby in 2014 – when he and his wife got to listen to Stevie Wonder playing live.

The Canadian-born tycoon – chief executive of software company Descartes Labs – has fond memories of the palatial property, which features 16 bathrooms, a spa, a two-bedroom guest house, library, games room, arcade, cinema and private gym.

There is also a large pool and tennis court, as well as an outdoor children’s play area.

“We loved it. We built it. It was our dream home and we built it as a family home and we still love the place,” said Mr Cunningham.

The neighbourhood is so exclusive that Stevie Wonder performed at Oprah Winfrey’s birthday party at a neighbouring property

The tech tycoon described how the heating system used an algorithm to determine when it should shut down or spool up, based on the rate of change in the fog detected by sunlight sensors on the south-facing wall.

He also detailed how he designed and built the wine cellar using plywood from his brother’s mill, and poured wine on the floor so that it “smelled correctly”.

Meghan and Harry bought the property in May through a shell company listed at the LA address of her long-term business manager Andrew Meyer, according to the Mail on Sunday. They moved in six weeks ago.

The sprawling estate features tennis courts, a pool, a guest house, rose gardens and cypress and olive trees

Mr Cunningham, who still lives nearby, recently heard from a neighbour who had bought the property, after he and his wife sold it in 2009.

He said Harry and Meghan “got a great deal” – and insisted he hoped the couple and their one-year-old son Archie enjoy the house just as much as he and his family did.

He said: “We’re really excited that they found a wonderful home in Montecito. It’s a wonderful place to have lots of family around and it gave the kids memories they still talk about to this day.

Mr Cunningham sold the house 11 years ago because they wanted to downsize. The buyer was controversial Russian billionaire Sergey Grishin, 54, who was nicknamed the ‘Scarface Oligarch’.

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Sumner Redstone: CBS and MTV billionaire media tycoon dies aged 97 | Business News

US media mogul Sumner Redstone, who took his father’s drive-in movie business and built it into an empire that included Paramount Pictures, CBS and MTV, has died aged 97.

The billionaire tycoon was remembered by ViacomCBS, which he led for decades, for his “unparalleled passion to win, his endless intellectual curiosity, and his complete dedication to the company.”

During his colourful career, he became as well known for his family feuds as his aggressive corporate acquisitions.

The mogul would not discuss succession, declaring: ‘I’m not going to die’

Redstone was once sued by his son to break up the business, who then agreed a significant settlement to give up his voting shares.

His daughter Shari, with whom he was reunited after being estranged, said in a statement: “My father led an extraordinary life that not only shaped entertainment as we know it today, but created an incredible family legacy.

“Through it all, we shared a great love for one another and he was a wonderful father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

“I am so proud to be his daughter and I will miss him always.”

Shari Redstone
Shari Redstone said her father had ‘led an extraordinary life’

Born in 1923 in Boston, he attended Harvard and during the Second World War worked with an elite US Army unit that cracked Japanese codes.

He joined National Amusements, his family’s cinema chain in 1954, taking the helm in 1967.

Known for his straight talking and risk taking, Redstone was in his 60s in 1987 when he bought Viacom for $3.4bn (£2.6bn) with mostly borrowed money.

A few years later he acquired Paramount for more than $10bn (£7.7bn) and added CBS to the portfolio in 1999 in a deal valued at $37bn (£28bn).

ViacomCBS also owns the UK’s Channel 5.

 Tom Cruise
The tycoon fell out with Tom Cruise, but the pair later patched things up

Redstone, who often told interviewers that “content is king”, was estimated by Forbes magazine to be worth $4.6bn (£3.5bn).

One of his more high-profile fallouts was with Tom Cruise, whose couch-jumping antics on The Oprah Winfrey Show and embrace of Scientology led Redstone to cut short a deal with the film star and his production company.

“We don’t think that someone who effectuates creative suicide and costs the company revenue should be on the lot,” he told The Wall Street Journal in 2006.

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However, the pair later patched things up ahead of the making of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

In his later years questions were raised over his health and whether he was fit to run the company.

A former girlfriend challenged his mental competence in a lawsuit filed in 2015, referring to him as a “living ghost”, although this was subsequently thrown out.

His death thins the ranks of a group of media executives, including Rupert Murdoch and Ted Turner, who have shaped the world of news and entertainment.

Asked in his last interview, about who might succeed him, Redstone said, “I will not discuss succession. You know why? I’m not going to die.”

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Hong Kong police arrest media tycoon Jimmy Lai and raid Apple Daily offices

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