UK buy-out group Cinven has agreed to purchase CPA Global, one of the world’s largest patent management groups for £950m, the FT reports, citing people close to the deal. ICG, which provides companies with debt and equity funding, asked advisers HSBC and DC Advisory Partners to start the sales process for CPA Global in December, barely two years after acquiring it. CPA has nearly doubled earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation since ICG bought the business, according to one person familiar with the situation. Its customers include large chemicals, pharmaceutical and telecoms companies, which have patents as a result of research and development work.
Private equity groups were expected on Thursday to acquire three mid-sized UK companies in separate deals worth a combined £900m-plus, as the buy-out market shows signs of a revival after a two-year hiatus. CPA Global, the legal services group, Xafinity, the pensions administrator, and Survitec, a safety equipment maker (see separate report), are set to announce takeovers as early as Friday, respectively by buy-out groups Advent International, ICG and Warburg Pincus.
Lloyds Banking Group is negotiating a £400m acquisition of CPA Global, the patent and legal services group, underlining how the bank’s private equity arm now dominates the UK’s shrinking buy-out market. While the financial crisis has sidelined most buy-out groups, LDC has completed 10 buy-outs this year – three times more than any rival. LDC invests directly from the balance sheet of Lloyds, which is 43.5% government-owned after its 2008 bail-out.