Premier Farnell

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Farnell (formerly Premier Farnell Ltd)
HeadquartersLeeds, UK
Key people
Chris Breslin, President
Revenue£960.1 million (2015)[1]
£83.1 million (2015)[1]
£47.5 million (2015)[1]

Premier Farnell Ltd is a British distributor of products for electronic system design, maintenance and repair throughout Europe, North America and Asia Pacific with operations in 36 countries and trading in over 100.[2] On 17 October 2016, the entire firm was purchased by Avnet in a deal valued at approximately £691 million.[3]


The firm was founded by Alan Farnell and Arthur Woffenden in 1939 in Leeds as A.C. Farnell Limited.[4] It was first listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1966.[4] The company was located next to the Wetherby railway station: later moving into larger offices on the town's Sandbeck Industrial Estate, and in 1995, into offices in Armley.[5]

In 1995 it acquired Combined Precision Components.[6] As it focused on distribution, its manufacturing operations were sold the same year.[4] In 1996 it bought the United States distributor, Premier Industrial Corporation, [7] and changed its name to Premier Farnell.[4]

In 2001 the firm acquired Buck & Hickman,[8] a company which it sold in 2007.[9] In 2006, the firm sold Kent, its specialist automotive consumables business.[10]

In the mid-2000s, the firm developed from a catalogues and trade counter business into an e-commerce operation, under the direction of Harriet Green, CEO, who joined the business in 2006.[11][12]

In 2007 the firm launched its Greater China business, Premier Electronics, with a warehouse and distribution centre in WaiGaoQiao.[13]

Towards the end of 2008 the group began the closure of Cadillac Electric (part of the group's Industrial Products Division).[14] During the course of 2008 the group acquired Hynetic Electronics,[15] an Indian distributor, and in early 2009 it acquired Microdis Electronics, an electronics distributor based in Poland.[16] On 24 September 2009, it announced the acquisition of CadSoft Computer GmbH, developer of EAGLE electronic design automation software,[17] which it later sold in 2016.[18] On 17 March 2016, the group sold its Akron Brass subsidiary to IDEX Corporation for $224.2 million.[19]

On 17 October 2016, Avnet completed its acquisition of Premier Farnell in a deal valued at approximately £691 million.[3]


The Raspberry Pi single-board computer.

The group trades globally under the following company names:[20]

element14 Group

Non Core Brands

  • CPC in the UK
  • Shenzhen Embest Technology
  • AVID Technologies


Premier Farnell stocks 600,000 products across its regional warehouses.[2] It also sells about half of the Raspberry Pi computers distributed worldwide.[21]


ECMOD Direct Commerce Award for the best online business B2B 2012 [22]


  1. ^ a b c "Preliminary Results 2015" (PDF). Premier Farnell. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Our Company -what we do". Premier Farnell. 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Avnet completes the acquisition of Premier Farnell PLC". Wall Street online. 17 October 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d "History". Premier Farnell. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  5. ^ "Farnell: Armley office workers give school makeover". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  6. ^ "Farnell Electronics". FT Business. 1995. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
  7. ^ "pounds 1.9bn Premier buy to propel Farnell into Footsie". The Independent. 24 January 1996. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  8. ^ "Buck & Hickman celebrate 180 years of success". Coventry Telegraph. 14 May 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  9. ^ "Engineering Products, Services & Suppliers | Source". Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  10. ^ "Premier Farnell sells Kent auto business". EE Times. 20 July 2006. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  11. ^ "Thomas Cook's Harriet Green: 'My challenge in life is achieving balance'". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  12. ^ "Harriet Green, CEO Premier Farnell awarded O.B.E for services to the electronics industry". Farnell UK. 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  13. ^ "Premier Farnell Heads East With Launch of New Business in China". PR Newswire. 2007. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  14. ^ "Michigan's Cadillac Electric Closes Doors". Electrical Wholesaling. 2008. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  15. ^ "Premier Farnell Acquires Assets of Hynetic Electronics". 5 February 2008. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  16. ^ "Premier Farnell buys part of Microdis Electronics". E-biz. 8 January 2009. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  17. ^ "Premier Farnell buys design software firm CadSoft". Electronics Weekly. September 2009. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  18. ^ "Premier Farnell Completes Sale Of Cadsoft To Autodesk". Morningstar. June 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  19. ^ "IDEX Corporation Completes Acquisition of Akron Brass". IDEX Corporation. March 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  20. ^ "What we do". Premier Farnell. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  21. ^ "Raspberry Pi sales fail to turn around Premier Farnell's luck". 20 September 2013. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  22. ^ "ECMOD Direct Commerce Award Winners". Direct Commerce. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  23. ^ "Premier Farnell retains Business in the Community Platinum status for third year running". 19 March 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2014.
  24. ^ "Premier Farnell retains Business in the Community Platinum status for third year running | Europe, Miscellaneous, Miscellaneous, UK News". 19 March 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2014.