European private equity firm, Cinven, today announces that it has reached an agreement to acquire CPA Global, the leading global provider of intellectual property (IP) management services and software, for an undisclosed consideration, from its current shareholders including Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) and the founder shareholders.
The transaction is subject to the approval of a Scheme of Arrangement in Jersey and regulatory clearances, and is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2012.
With offices across Europe, the United States and Asia Pacific, CPA Global supports many of the world's best known corporations and law firms with a range of IP management services and software solutions. Clients include large corporates in sectors such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and telecoms with significant patent portfolios arising from research and development activities.
CPA Global ensures that its clients' valuable IP rights are protected, maintained and reviewed in order to maximise their value. Its services include renewal, search and filing of patents and trademarks. The group also provides market leading software to support clients' processes and workflows, as well as additional outsourced IP and legal services. The group renews over 1.4 million patents annually.
Over the past 10 years, the volume of patents granted worldwide has increased by 5% annually and the market is expected to experience continued growth, underpinned by the long-term growth in global R&D and the increasing value associated with IP. In particular, significant growth is expected in China and other Asian economies.
CPA Global was founded in 1969 in Jersey, Channel Islands, originally to manage patent renewals on behalf of numerous firms of patent attorneys. Today, the group employs 1,500 people, serving clients' broader IP management and legal support services needs in over 100 countries.
The group has demonstrated an outstanding growth trajectory with consistent EBITDA increases over the past 10 years, and it enjoys high revenue visibility due to its responsibility for a large stock of patents.
The management team led by Peter Sewell, Chief Executive Officer, who joined the group in 1999, has been instrumental in the development of CPA Global as a successful international business from its original ownership by numerous patent attorneys.
Commenting on today's announcement, Stuart McAlpine, Partner at Cinven, said:
"CPA Global is an exciting primary opportunity to invest in a global leader in a market with defensive qualities and attractive growth prospects. The business has achieved an exceptional financial performance and is highly cash generative."
"CPA Global fits with Cinven's strategy of investing in world-class European companies where it can accelerate their global exposure using Cinven's sector expertise and Asian portfolio capability. China will be a significant patent market over the next five years and our Asian portfolio team is ideally positioned to help deliver growth in this region. We look forward to working with the management team to support the business in its next phase of development both in Europe and globally."
Peter Sewell, Chief Executive Officer of CPA Global, added:
"Companies around the world are increasingly recognising the value of intellectual property. In recent years, we have seen how the patent renewal market and protection of clients' IP remain business critical throughout the economic cycle. CPA Global has experienced considerable growth in that time and, as demand for IP management services and software from larger corporates and law firms increases globally, we are confident our business will continue to develop significantly. The growth opportunities in Asia are particularly exciting, where the market is showing a strong rise in patent applications and renewals. We look forward to working with Cinven to continue growing CPA Global's worldwide presence."
Cinven was advised on the transaction by PwC Corporate Finance, JP Morgan and Freshfields. For CPA Global, the Company was advised by DC Advisory Partners, HSBC and Travers Smith; the management team was advised by BDO and DLA Piper. Debt financing has been fully underwritten by HSBC and JP Morgan.