Facebook deal lands €565k for UCC staff

More than 160 University College Cork employees earned average payouts of €3,400 for contributions to a campus tech firm that sold to a Facebook subsidiary.

The value of the 2016 purchase of spinout company Infiniled by virtual technology company Oculus has also emerged as being well over €20m. UCC records show it got an initial payment of €1.659m for its 12.6% share in InfiniLED, which developed low-energy LED lighting at the university’s Tyndall National Institute research centre.

However, the 2015-2016 financial statements said a further $1.057m (€857,000 today) was held in escrow to be distributed this year, taking the amount going to shareholders from the sale to €20m. The takeover of debts, royalty payments and other costs bring the deal closer to €25m.

UCC was also paid €974,000 in royalties and assignment of intellectual property, and said it paid €565,000 of that to 166 current and past employees who contributed to the knowledge creation, giving average payments of €3,404 each.

Facebook has taken out office space for Oculus in the Cork city centre Capitol development, just 500m from where the Infiniled technology was developed at Tyndall. Oculus develops and makes virtual reality headsets in which low-power display is vital, and it currently has more than 20 research and other job vacancies in Cork.

UCC held nearly 18% of shares when InfiniLED was formed in 2010. However, its final 12.6% holding was much higher than the 1% or 2% equity often held by third-level colleges when spinout companies are sold after several rounds of funding from external investors.


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