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June 6, 2016

Following sale, Putney founder gifts nearly $1M to employees

Photo / Tim Greenway
Photo / Tim Greenway
Jean Hoffman, Putney Inc.'s founder and former CEO.

What would you do following the $200 million sale of a company you founded? For Jean Hoffman, founder of the Portland-based veterinary product company Putney Inc., which was sold to Dechra Pharmaceuticals in April, the answer was to let the company's employees know how vital they were to its success.

To do that, Hoffman gifted $14,000 to every Putney employee who had worked at the veterinary product company for at least six months — which as Maine Startups Insider reports means that she gifted approximately $840,000 to roughly 60 of Putney's employees.

"I felt the contributions of Putney's team were so important and so integral to our success," Hoffman told the Startups Insider. "And I really felt that my return in the transaction was in considerable part because of — and would not have been possible without — the contributions of the team and people staying through to the end. And I didn't feel that the investors were rewarding the team as fully or as generously as I wanted them to be — as they had earned."

The Startups Insider reports that the $14,000 gift amount is based on the maximum personal gift allowed under by the IRS without triggering the gift tax.

Putney was founded in 2006 by Hoffman, who departed the company following the sale. The company has been recognized by numerous publications including Inc., which included the company in its list of fastest-growing companies in 2013. Mainebiz also recognized Hoffman as a 2009 Woman to Watch and a Business Leader of the Year in 2012, and Putney as a runner-up for our selection of 2015's Fastest Growing Company.

Following the sale, Putney's new owner, Dechra Pharmaceuticals, let go 17 of Putney's approximately 60 employees.

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