The three partners transferred all their rights in the patents to the Company by an indenture or contract dated August 5, 1846.The business acquired by the Electric Telegraph Company consisted of twelve domestic and foreign patents, Cooke's telegraph contracting business, the existing contracts and the materials on hand for future works.
Wheatstone was paid £20,000 in commutation of his royalty rights and £10,000 for his share in the Scottish, Irish and Belgian patents.
Regarding the directors; the firm of J & S Ricardo & Company of 11 Angel Court, Bank, were originally merchants in the Spanish trade, but in the 1840s and 1850s had become deeply engaged in financial and political affairs; investing in foreign stocks and railways.
Richard Till, a lawyer, of Guildhall Buildings, City, had been Secretary of the London & Birmingham Railway and was to have a similar role in many of the railway concerns that G P Bidder had influence in.
"Lords of lightning we, by land or wave The mystic agent serves us as our slave" Henry Schütz-Wilson, Assistant Secretary, Electric Telegraph Company On September 3, 1845 a syndicate led by the Ricardo family of City merchants projected a joint-stock company to purchase all the patents Cooke and Wheatstone had obtained to date and to provide capital for their more effective working, particularly to gain an income from public messages through a national network of telegraph lines.
This created – the first joint-stock concern in the world intended to unite a country with a network of electric communications.
It had a short life of just over twenty-five years.
In that time it united electrically not just the entire country but also, with its corporate allies, reached the extremes of empire.
The first Board of Directors of the Electric Telegraph Company comprised John Lewis Ricardo, the chairman, Samson Ricardo, brother and business partner of J L Ricardo, William Fothergill Cooke, George Parker Bidder and Richard Till.
These five were also the largest shareholders in the company, and were to stay in post for over ten years.
Cooke had agreed, prior to the establishment of the Company, to finance the expansion of the telegraph by assigning the majority of his patent rights to J L Ricardo and G P Bidder.
This assignment valued Ricardo's share at £60,000 and Bidder's at £55,000, in addition to Cooke's minority at £45,000.