UK chip designer seals financial mega-deal

Went to USA for the dosh

A Bristol entrepreneur, spurned by the UK, has netted £80 million for his chip business from a US firm. Gary Steele started analogue chip designer Microcosm Communications five years ago. On Friday, California-based conglomerate Conexant Systems snapped up the privately owned firm in a deal worth a stonking $128 million (£77.7 million). Almost all the 45 Microcosm staff have shares in the company, with many set to gain thousands of pounds. Alistair Blaxill, Microcosm marketing VP, said: "We're very pleased. It's a real success story." Blaxill, who was recruited last June to ready the company for either flotation or a buyout, said Microcosm had been unable to secure an investor in the UK. It was therefore forced to turn its attentions to the US. He refused to tell us how much Steele - Microcosm MD - and his two fellow founders, Richard Mayo and Richard Watts, stood to make from the deal. He would only say: "it's a significant amount." The Bristol-based company, which also has offices in the US and Japan, will keep its name and trade as an independent company within Conexant. Microcosm makes chips for high-volume fibre optic data and LAN applications, including Fast Ethernet media converters. ® Related items: Keep your worker bees sweet if you want your company to grow For more news on the IT industry's financial winners and losers, visit Cash Register

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