Scientists receive pounds 5.25m in buy-out: University sells off 'ideas' company

FOUR academics have had a windfall of pounds 5.25m after City University, London, sold off a company that it set up to market their ideas.

The scientists, all of whom worked at the university in the Seventies, were the beneficiaries of a pounds 27m management buy-out of their company, City Technology, which manufactures environmental sensors.

The university has gained pounds 20m and the academics received the rest of the money after the costs of the buy- out had been deducted.

The deal, completed on Monday, is believed to be the biggest of its kind so far, but it is not the first, nor is it likely to be the last.

The higher education sector has become increasingly commercialised in recent years, with some universities boasting business and science parks on campus, and more academics are likely to benefit from such sell-offs as universities use their subsidiaries to raise capital.

The scientists, Tony Tantram, Bryan Hobbs, John Finbow and Robert Chan-Henry, said they have all received enough to pay off their mortgages, but not a great deal more. They will have to pay tax on the money and denied that they would be able to live a life of luxury.

Mr Finbow joined the team that bought out the company, and is to be its new chief executive. Dr Hobbs and Mr Chan-Henry are both still involved with the company and are likely to reinvest some of their earnings. Dr Tantram has retired.

'As an independent company we will be better placed to develop the business in the Nineties. The time is exactly right for us to seize this opportunity,' said Mr Finbow.

City Technology, now based in Portsmouth, was set up in 1976 to market a new design of oxygen sensor pioneered by Dr Hobbs and his colleagues, all of whom worked in the Wolfson Unit for Electrochemical Technology at the university. The company has won two Queen's Awards for technology and two for export achievement.

Both sides in the deal enlisted the help of financial advisers to help them to strike the deal, with Kleinwort Benson working for the university and 3i, the investment capital group, leading the management syndicate.

Jonathan Russell, local director of 3i Southampton, said: 'This is an exciting example of how an academic institution can develop a research programme into a superb company which can compete internationally.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Administrator

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are a world leadin...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral