International private equity firm, Cinven, today announces it has agreed to sell CPA Global, the world’s leading Intellectual Property (‘IP’) management and technology company, to Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. (‘LGP’), a leading US buyout firm, for an undisclosed consideration.

CPA Global is the world’s leading provider of IP software, services and data & analytics for corporates and law firms. The business manages more than two million patents for more than 10,000 customers across the globe. The business has 23 offices worldwide and operates from its headquarters in Jersey, Channel Islands.

CPA Global

Cinven acquired CPA Global in March 2012 as part of its strategy of investing in world-class European-headquartered companies where it can support global growth using its sector expertise and Asian portfolio capabilities.

Cinven acquired the business directly from a group of IP law firms who had originally established the company.  Under Cinven’s ownership, CPA Global has achieved strong growth, accelerated its global expansion, and led a successful transformation into a technology-led business.

Over the past five years, Cinven has worked closely with CPA Global’s management team to:

  • Achieve double-digit organic EBITDA growth in the company’s core business of IP software and renewals, driven by consistent increases in the total global stock of patents;
  • Drive significant investment in CPA Global’s technology platform, software suite and IP data and analytics proposition;
  • Develop new innovative products for IP professionals to automate IP processes and workflows (including CPA Global File, and CPA Global’s proprietary IP PlatformTM);
  • Complete six bolt-on acquisitions in the IP management sector, including three in the United States, two in Europe, and one in Asia;
  • Accelerate the company’s geographic expansion, particularly in China and South Korea, both organically and through acquisitions; and
  • Transition to a best-in-class management team, led by CEO, Simon Webster, and CFO, Ben Gujral.

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.”

Simon Webster, Chief Executive Officer, CPA Global, commented:

“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.”

This transaction follows Cinven’s recent sale of HEG, the web hosting provider, to GoDaddy Inc. in the US in April 2017.  During 2017, Cinven has also realised its investments in SLV, the residential and technical lighting provider (Germany); Avio Space Propulsion, the international operator of space launchers and space propulsion (Italy); and will complete the partial realisation of Visma, the provider of business critical software (Nordics and Benelux).

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

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

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