Martlet Exists Neul with a $25M Sale to Huawei

Chinese technology heavyweight Huawei has bought Cambridge UK based IoT business Neul for $25 million.

Huawei recently told Business Secretary Vince Cable that it was investing £1.3 billion in the UK but at the time declined to say whether this would be at its current Ipswich facility or in expansion into Cambridge.

The Neul deal would appear to have answered part of the question.

CEO Stan Boland was brought in to maximise value for VC investors, one of whom told me they thought it was a good deal but another source close to the business said they thought Neul been sold too cheaply given its potential.

Neul positioned itself at the heart of the whole Internet of Things acceleration process and this has undoubtedly been the attraction for Huawei, which is a world-leading ICT provider.

I understand that the Cambridge company was seeking a major strategic investor – without success – and one source told me the alternative to not raising funds could even have been going into administration. The urgency of the situation seems to have accelerated the Huawei deal.

Boland was not available to comment.

Another undercurrent has been a difference between co-founder James Collier and Boland over the direction the company should take. It began targeting deals involving the new TV white space spectrum but has morphed into a pure IoT/smart city play.

Collier is said to have been unavailable even to close contacts while the Huawei sale has been unfolding. There are also reports locally that Collier – also co-founder of CSR – has been seeking an exit to explore fresh opportunities.