Mike Luckwell was educated at St. Paul's school. He entered the feature film and television production industry after starting work as a junior dealer on the London Stock Exchange.
In the seventies, he set up The Moving Picture Company of which he was Managing Director from its inception. In a series of technical and commercial innovations, he took the company successively into television commercial production, broadcast video facilities, special effects, computer graphics and digital electronics manufacturing for the television sector. Mike also took the company into producing television programmes and feature film production.
In 1983, he reversed The Moving Picture Company into Carlton Communications Plc for a mixture of cash and shares. In so doing, he became Carlton's Managing Director and largest individual shareholder. Before ML joined, Carlton had a market capitalisation of £16m. When consolidated with Moving Pictures this jumped to £40m and by the time he left, following a series of acquisitions, Carlton's market capitalisation was close to £300 million. In 1986, Mike resigned from Carlton and sold his shareholding for £25 million. Carlton and Granada subsequently merged to become ITV Plc.
In 1986, he set up Parallel Media Group Plc and took an active role as Chairman. ML built it into one of the leading international sponsorship, television production and sports programming distribution companies. He resigned from Parallel and sold his shareholding in February 1990.
In the late 80's he became the biggest shareholder in WPP. WPP became the world's second largest marketing services group (owners of J. Walter Thompson and Ogilvy), he sold his remaining shareholding in October 1997.
In April 1988, he purchased a 5% stake in TV-am: UK Breakfast Television. He disposed of his shareholding in July 1990, prior to them losing their television franchise, selling at the all time share price high.
For six months in 1995 ML was Chief Executive of Riverside Plc, in which he was a substantial shareholder. The group owned the Riverside and Espree chains of tennis, health & fitness centres. In May 1997 Riverside Plc was sold to First Leisure Plc. (Esporta) for £61m.
ML was a director of, and shareholder in, Xtreme Register Ltd, a private company which digitises and stores still and live action advertising images and provides data to the advertising industry internationally. In September 2001 Xtreme was sold for a sum c. £40m.
In 1991 ML invested in, and became a director of, HIT Entertainment Plc, a small private company selling children's television programmes around the world and subsequently owning copyright in many of these children's characters, such as Bob The Builder and Barney. HIT went public in 1996 and grew with both US and UK acquisitions. For some time ML was HIT's largest shareholder. In June 2005 HIT was sold to Apax for £489m yielding ML £33m for his shareholding.
ML was Chairman and largest shareholder in The Listening Company from its start up in 1999. TLC provides specialist Contact Centre services to Media companies such as Sky, and to other sectors such as Financial and Automotive. It was the first such company to introduce integrated Digital Solutions: Telephony/E Mail+Chat/Video support. TLC was sold to Serco, a FTSE 100 company, in March 2011 for c. £55m.
In early 2006 Ingenious Media Active Capital, a publicly listed specialist, closed end, media investment company, raised £150m on AIM. ML was an investor in, and director of, IMAC from its inception. He was Chairman from January 2008 until January 2015, when the funds were distributed to the investors.
In 2003 ML set up Simply Media TV Ltd and subsequently Screen ONE (CI) Ltd. Simply owned five Shopping Channels on Sky but subsequently disposed of them and changed its business model. Simply acquired a company in the DVD sector. This company acquired television and movie rights primarily targeting the over 50s demographic, manufactured DVD's and sold them to both Retailers and Consumers via the internet and Direct Marketing. As the DVD sector declined Simply maintained profitability by making a series of acquisitions to consolidate this niche sector. ML disposed of these companies to an MBO in December 2016.
In February 2014 ML became Chairman and Proprietor of Vivat Direct Ltd., trading as Reader's Digest UK. Prior to its acquisition, despite a £25m investment, Reader's Digest experienced financial difficulties and generated substantial losses. Within three months of its acquisition, it became profitable. This household name and the strong brand continued to be both profitable and cash generative until ML sold the company in July 2018.
ML is also a member of various Media Industry Associations. He was one of the founders of The Advertising Producers Association, The Independent Programme Producers Association (now PACT) and The Television Advertising Awards. In February 2004, under the aegis of The Film Council and the DTI, ML set up UK Screen - the trade body representing service companies to the screen industries. He was Chairman from its inception until April 2010.
ML is now mainly an active investor and has a broad based portfolio of interests in media and digital technology.