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?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'