Originally a double glazing salesman, Hayes also worked for his father-in-law selling secondary mortgages. In 1997 with David Cowham he founded loans.co.uk, a Watford headquartered finance broker. Hayes became Chief Executive, expanding the firm to become the UK's then leading finance broker, on an earnings package of £5.5million in 2004/2005. In June 2005, Cowham and Hayes sold loans.co.uk to MBNA for an undisclosed amount, reported to be worth £50million to each partner.
Hayes became a 25% shareholder through an initial £250,000 investment in Wycombe Wanderers in June 2004, when the football club became a plc, and later became managing director. Hayes bought an 11.6% stake in London Wasps Holdings Ltd in August 2007, and became chairman of Lawrence Dallaglio's benefit committee. In December 2008, Hayes bought Chrysalis Records founder Chris Wright's controlling interest and John O'Connell's shareholding in London Wasps to take complete control, and in July 2009, following a shareholders' meeting, he took full ownership of Wycombe Wanderers, in the process writing off £3m of the club's debt to him in exchange for shares.
In February 2012, Steve Hayes was arrested on his farm in Hertfordshire, related to suspected offences under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, under Operation Tuleta. The charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence in September 2015.
In June 2012 the Wycombe Wanderers Trust bought the club from Steve Hayes. At the same time, a consortium led by former London Wasps player Ken Moss, purchased the rugby club from Hayes.
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- "Made it by 40". Daily Telegraph. 2006-12-13. Retrieved 2008-12-03.
- "MD holds interview". chairboys. June 2005. Retrieved 2008-12-03.
- "HAYES BECOMES WASPS DIRECTOR". Wycombe Wanderers. 2007-08-24. Retrieved 2008-12-03.
- "Steve Hayes Announced as Wasps Director". rugbynetwork.net. 2007-08-24. Retrieved 2008-12-03.
- "Loans.co.uk sponsor Wasps RFC challenge". Loans.co.uk. 2004-05-15. Retrieved 2008-12-03.[dead link]
- "Wycombe chief takes control at Wasps". The Times. 2008-12-03. Retrieved 2008-12-03.
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- "Hayes takes over at Wasps". Sky Sports. 2008-12-03. Retrieved 2008-12-03.
- "Club Statement". Wycombe Wanderers. 2009-07-07. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
- "Former Wasps owner hack charges dropped 43 months after arrest". Retrieved 2015-09-20.
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