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The newspaper was founded by Tom Rubython in order to provide a Sunday alternative to the Financial Times, achieving sales of around 150,000 on launch, falling to fewer than 20,000 within months. In 1997 the title was bought by the Barclay Brothers, David and Frederick Barclay, who at the time owned The European newspaper and subsequently, The Daily Telegraph and The Scotsman.
It was re-launched on 15 February 1998 with an exclusive interview with Gordon Brown, who promised a budget tailored towards the business community. The Sunday Business became a critical success and within its first two years of production had won numerous industry awards, including Newspaper of The Year (1999) and Newspaper Design of the Year (1998, 2000).
The newspaper made various moves, both in editorial style and physical location. The newspaper was originally based in Cavendish Square in Central London, while the re-launched newspaper was based in the offices of ITN News in Gray's Inn Road, moving on to South Quay in London Docklands in 2000 and then finally back to the City at Waterhouse Square.
By the summer of 2003, most of the re-launch team had been head-hunted by rival national newspapers, and production of the newspaper was handed over to the Press Association. From its offices in London's Victoria, and under the editorship of Andrew Neil, it was rebranded The Business – a weekly glossy magazine – in the autumn of 2006.
That magazine disappeared in 2008 as it was merged into The Spectator and subsequently re-emerged as the monthly Spectator Business magazine.
- Andrew Neil (publisher): Became presenter of the BBC weekly political roundup show, This Week, and co-presenter of The Daily Politics in 2003. In November 2004 became Chief Executive of The Spectator. Neil served as Lord Rector of St Andrews University from 1999–2002.
- Jeff Randall (editor): Left in 2001 to become Business Editor of the BBC and from 2005 editor-at-large of The Daily Telegraph.
- Richard Northedge (deputy editor): A Fleet Street and City favourite, Northedge became Executive Editor of The Business before leaving to return to The Daily Telegraph newspaper group where he worked as Deputy City Editor for 12 years.
- Martin Baker (associate editor): Left in 1999 to launch thestreet.co.uk, where he acted as editor-in-chief. He now works as an author, screenwriter and script editor. His first novel, Meltdown, was published in 2008. Its sequel, Version Thirteen, was published in 2014. The third in the financial-thriller trilogy is scheduled for 2018.
- Frank Kane (news editor): Left The Business to edit the business section of The Observer Newspaper. Currently working as non-executive chairman of ITP – a company which publishes Dubai editions of UK-based titles.
- Damian Reece (City editor): Joined The Daily Telegraph as Deputy City Editor in November 2005 from The Independent where he had been City Editor for two years. Took over as City Editor from Will Lewis when he became Editor of the Daily Telegraph in October 2006.
- David Cracknell (Political editor): Joined from The Press Association, where he was Political Correspondent. Left to join the Sunday Telegraph as Deputy Political Editor in 1999, and then became Political Editor of The Sunday Times in 2001. He left in 2008 to go into business and set up his own media consultancy Big Tent Communications later that year.
- Damien McCrystal (diarist and restaurant reviewer): Joined The Observer as business columnist in 2002 followed by London's Evening Standard as City Diarist. Now runs his own communications consultancy.
- Lucinda Rogers (illustrator): Joined in 1997 and drew weekly for Sunday Business until 2001, along with other broadsheets. Every Saturday she drew to order, either drawing portraits of politicians and other figures, or a long series of drawings of restaurants and chefs to accompany Damien McCrystal's reviews and features.
- Vivien Goldsmith (features editor): A veteran London journalist. Left in 2001 to work in Communications and PR across various companies, including Wellcome Trust
- Martin Essex (economics editor): Joined Capital Economics as Senior International Economist in 2002 and became a Managing Editor at Dow Jones Newswires in 2006
- Richard Wachman (City editor): Joined The Observer in 2001
- Nils Pratley (deputy City editor, 1999–2001, editor, 2001-2): Joined The Guardian as Associate City Editor in 2003. Now financial editor.
- Mark Watts (chief investigative reporter): Was sacked in 2001 after protesting against the break-up of the paper's investigative team.   Currently a freelance journalist and television host.
- PJ Taylor (news reporter, subsequently political reporter): Went into PR - firstly at Freud Communications and subsequently head of national news at Network Rail
- Conal Walsh (news reporter): Joined The Observer
- Richard Fletcher (property correspondent): Left in 2001 to join Sunday Telegraph. Later moved to The Sunday Times. Currently editor of Telegraph.co.uk.
- Ann Brady (Chief Sub): Joined The Times in 2003
- John Belknap (Creative Director): Left in 1999 to start Belknap+Co - an independent design agency specialising in newspaper and magazine design.
- Julian Bovis (Art Director): Joined The Daily Telegraph as Executive Design Editor (News) in 2003
- Scott Shillum (Picture Editor): Founded visual communications agency VisualMedia (http://www.vismedia.co.uk) in 2001 with brother Daniel Shillum.
- Adam Parsons (sports editor): Joined the BBC as television sports journalist.
- Mark Hawthorne (production editor Business & Pleasure, writer): Joined Conde Nast Publications in London. Became daily business columnist for The Age newspaper in Melbourne, Australia. Now National Business Editor of Fairfax Media in Australia.
- 1996: Tom Rubython, Anil Bhoyrul, Adrian Lithgow
- 1998: Jeff Randall
- 2001: Nils Pratley
- 2001: Richard Northedge and Iain Watson
- Teather, David (29 April 2000). "Editorial chief leaves thestreet.co.uk". London: Guardian. Retrieved 2012-11-27.
- Baker, Martin. "Home Page". MartinFDBaker.
- Pratley, Nils (3 October 2007). "Staff Profile". London: Guardian.
- Tullock, Emily (June 25, 2012). "New editors appointed at Fairfax's Sydney Morning Herald". PANPA newsletter.