Seldon Bought By Vegas Firm
Windsor — Seldon Technologies, the water filtration device maker that closed suddenly in September and laid off all 32 employees, has been acquired by Las Vegas-based water filtration company Carbon Block Technologies.
Carbon Block, which makes carbon block filters and drinking water treatment systems, bought Seldon’s assets and patents in a sealed-bid auction on Dec. 3, and is looking to incorporate Seldon’s water filtration technology into its own line of products, said Jennifer Rice, executive vice president of Carbon Block.
“Our filters (reduce) a broad array of contaminants and the only thing missing was microbiological capabilities,” Rice said, referring to the ability of Seldon’s nanomesh technology to filter out bacteria, viruses and cysts. “We felt that Seldon’s intellectual property and its ability to manufacture are a perfect fit for us.”
At the time of the auction, the buyer of Seldon’s assets wished to remain anonymous, according to the firm handling the sale, Thomas Hirchak Co. A minimum bid of $1.5 million was set for Seldon’s assets — mostly laboratory and manufacturing equipment — and patents.
Carbon Block’s winning bid came to between $2 million to $2.5 million, said people with knowledge of the situation who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to talk publicly about the deal.
Rice declined to comment about the purchase price.
Rice said that Carbon Block is interested in hiring former Seldon workers — if they would be interested in relocating to Nevada.
“We are interested in talking, interviewing and having them come visit,” she said, adding that “we’ve had a few employees reach out to us.”
Meanwhile, workers this week are at Seldon’s former plant in the old Cone-Blanchard Machine Co. building at Windsor Technology Park in Windsor to dissemble and pack Seldon’s laboratory and manufacturing equipment for shipment.
“It’s a sad end to a sad story. There had been so much effort put into (Seldon) both locally and regionally, but in the end it just got out of our hands,” said Bob Flint, executive director of the Springfield Regional Development Corp., who had been involved in efforts to keep the company based in Windsor.
An out-of-state buyer was always a possibility, however, one Windsor officials had to acknowledge given the lack of other companies in the same industry within the region.
“We knew (Carbon Block) was in the mix and, if successful, were the least likely to have a presence in Windsor,” said Tom Marsh, Windsor’s town manager.
Carbon Block, also known as CB Tech, is controlled by the family of the late H. Allen Rice. The privately owned 45-year-old company develops and manufacturers custom drinking water systems and filters that are sold under the labels of other suppliers.
The Rice family also owns and operates Multipure Filter Co., which makes inline water filters.
Seldon was founded 2002 to utilize carbon nanotube technology, or CNT to filter water contaminants without the aid of chemicals, heat or electricity. But despite more than $53 million invested into the company, including $27 million in research grants from the U.S. military and more than $20 million from South Africa-based EcoNet Wireless, Seldon still has yet to receive regulatory approval for use of its carbon nanotechnology in the U.S. consumer market, a major stumbling block in product rollout.
Seldon went on to develop and market non-CNT filtration media, but the discovery undercut Seldon claim to be a “carbon nanotechnology company,” thereby making it just another supplier of conventional water filtration media, a market already established with numerous players.
EcoNet Wireless, under pressure to cut costs because of financial pressures in its core business in Africa, told Seldon that it would cease funding after Sept. 30, forcing Seldon executives to seek new capital or a buyer. Jim Meyers, former chairman of Seldon, said that Carbon Block had been a customer of Seldon and had expressed an interest in acquiring the company but was informed it would have to participate in the auction process if it wanted to acquire Seldon.
John Lippman can be reached at 603-727-3219 or firstname.lastname@example.org.