Cinven sells patent giant CPA Global for $3.1bn

UK-based private equity firm Cinven said it agreed to sell patent management services giant CPA Global to Los Angeles-based buyout firm Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. for an undisclosed consideration.

Numerous news outlets put the price, including debt, at around $3.1 billion.

CPA Global manages more than two million patents for more than 10,000 customers around the world.

The company is a major provider of IP software, services and data & analytics for corporates and law firms.

CPA Global has 23 offices worldwide and operates from its headquarters in Jersey in the UK’s Channel Islands.

Cinven acquired CPA Global in March 2012 directly from a group of IP law firms who had originally established the company.

Stuart McAlpine, managing partner at Cinven, said: “Cinven acquired CPA Global because we saw an exceptional company in a highly attractive market, with an opportunity to transform the business from a service provider into a technology-led business, as Cinven has done with other successful investments, such as Amadeus.

“During our ownership, Cinven and CPA Global’s management team have driven this transformation as well as consolidated the sector through a buy-and-build strategy.

“CPA Global is now in a strong position to continue taking advantage of the market opportunity.”

Anthony Cardona, principal at Cinven, added: “Cinven and CPA Global’s entrepreneurial management team have led CPA Global’s transition to a technology-led business, by investing in the company’s software suite and technology platform, and extending into other parts of the IP process such as patent filing and patent data & analytics.

“Cinven also supported CPA Global’s global expansion – with the support of our portfolio team in Asia – and executed multiple bolt-on acquisitions across the world.

“We wish the company and its management team, led by Simon Webster, success in its next stage of growth.”

CPA Global CEO Simon Webster said: “Cinven has provided huge support to CPA Global over the past five years.

“Our investment in technology has enabled us to provide an unrivalled integrated technology platform for end-to-end IP management for both corporates and law firms.

“In addition, we have successfully built our proposition to span the entire IP lifecycle, providing products and services to customers to support innovation, ensure patent protection, and enable companies to commercialise their IP.

“We would like to thank the Cinven team and are now looking forward to the next exciting phase of our growth.”

The completion of the sale of CPA Global is subject to customary regulatory approval.

Advisors to Cinven on the transaction included Goldman Sachs (M&A), J.P. Morgan (M&A), Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (legal), Boston Consulting Group (commercial), Ernst & Young (financial) and BDO (tax).