Our heritage

Our history started over 80 years ago with two businesses on opposite sides of the Atlantic, each breaking new ground as the radio industry was changing the way the world communicated. The entrepreneurial start-ups known as Farnell in Europe and Newark in North America each began with a simple mission – help customers get the parts they need, when they need it.

The world has changed a lot since the 1930s. The radio engineer has given way to other sorts of engineers: maintenance and facilities engineers, industrial engineers, design engineers, student engineers, and the purchasing professionals who work with them. And what was a simple trade counter and catalogue business has evolved into a global technology company, with over 30,000 products shipped per day.

Along the way we have charted our own course, delivering industry first innovations that have defined what is expected of a high-service distributor.


Newark Electronics founded.


A.C.Farnell Limited founded.


First to offer eProcurement capabilities.


Premier Farnell plc established following Farnell’s purchase of Premier Electronics, which included the Newark Electronics, MCM and Akron Brass brands.


iBuy launched.


element14 Community launched; introduced DesignLink and award-winning biodegradable packaging; joined the United Nations Global Compact; acquisition of CadSoft.


The Ben Heck Show debuts; achieved Platinum level status in the Business in the Community Index; Asia Pacific region becomes element14.


The Knode on element14 launched; listed in the Dow Jones sustainability index; element14 TV debuts.


Launch of the Raspberry Pi computer; acquisition of Embest.


Acquisition of AVID Technologies.


New proposition “The Development Distributor” launches, displaying how Premier Farnell businesses support customers develop themselves, their products and businesses and the next generation of engineers.


Premier Farnell acquired by Avnet Bidco Limited, an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Avnet, Inc. and delisted from the London Stock Exchange.


Farnell element14 rebranded Farnell, An Avnet Company. Newark element14 rebranded Newark, An Avnet company. Premier Farnell rebranded Farnell, globally.