Multimap founder sells to Microsoft

The online mapping business has been acquired by the computer giant


Sean Phelan, the founder of Multimap, has sold the business he founded 12 years ago to the computer giant Microsoft.

Phelan has been gradually taking himself out of the everyday affairs of the company since 2001 when he appointed Jeff Kelisky as chief executive and also brought in a non-executive chairman at the start of the year.

Staff at the 120-strong company were informed of the deal yesterday and were ‘thoroughly briefed’ on its implications, they are understood to be in a celebratory mood.

The Multimap brand will remain and from a user perspective it will continue as an independent entity, but as of yesterday it is now a fully owned subsidiary of Microsoft. 

Phelan, who was the company’s main shareholder, will continue to work for the business on a part-time basis for the ‘foreseeable future’.

He told Growing Business that the news had not ‘not really sunk in yet’ but that he was very pleased with the deal.

“When you start a business there are only really three outcomes, you can sell, do an IPO or stop trading. I am very pleased that I have managed to achieve one of the first two,” he said.

Microsoft was clearly attracted to the business’ technology and see it as complementing existing software such as Virtual Earth, Live Search and Windows Live. It is also another stage in its battle for internet supremacy over Google.

The exact figure and details of the deal have not been officially disclosed although there’s speculation that the business would be worth in the region of £50m.

However, it is clear that Phelan, as the main shareholder, is now a considerably richer man than he was 48 hours ago.

© Crimson Business Ltd. 2007

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