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Software company founder misses out

DR ALAN Solomon, who founded a pioneering anti-virus software business of the same name, has largely missed out on a massive $640million (pounds 393m) sale of the company to the US.

But three executives, who bought out the husband and wife team in 1995 and have agreed to sell Dr Solomon's Group to Network Associates of California, each stand to take shares worth pounds 13m after tax.

The three are chief executive Geoff Leary, financial director David Stephens and operations director Keith Perrett. Many individual staff members also will benefit from small holdings in the company.

Dr Solomon and his wife Susan who started the business from their front room made their money in 1995 when they sold out for pounds 30m. The sale of the company to Network Associates will still allow them to make a further pounds 5m from the disposal of share options.

Dr Solomon himself has remained on the board of the company as a non- executive director and is hired as a consultant. He is said to have supported its sale to Network Associates which was established through the merger of McAfee and Network General late last year.

Dr Solomon, who has a PhD in Econometrics, saw the need for anti-virus software after getting involved with data recovery work.

The company has watched its share price double to $32 in the 18 months since it was first listed on both the NASDAQ and EASDAQ stock markets.

The success has been driven by the main product, Dr Solomon's Anti- Virus Toolkit, which is sold to corporate clients in the UK and Europe.

In the nine months to the end of February, it produced operating profits of pounds 9.6million compared to pounds 6.1m last time while sales have soared from pounds 25.4m to pounds 41.5m.

Mr Leary said putting Dr Solomon together with Network Associates represented an "excellent fit in terms of products, markets and infrastructure".

Under the terms of the proposed acquisition, holders of Dr Solomon's ordinary shares will receive 0.27625 shares of Network Associates common stock for each Dr Solomon's ordinary shares.