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January 18, 2012 4:05 PM

Three Firms Take Lead on Sale of Patent, LPO Firm CPA Global

Posted by Brian Baxter

Two years after acquiring CPA Global, London-based mezzanine lender Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) has reached an agreement to sell the patent management and legal process outsourcer to private equity firm Cinven for an undisclosed sum, according to a press release announcing the transaction.

The Financial Times and Bloomberg report that the deal values CPA Global at roughly $1.5 billion. At that price, ICG would see a significant return on an asset it took control of in January 2010 by paying $709 million to back a management buyout of CPA.

ICG ended up owning close to half of CPA as a result of that investment. About 300 lawyers and patent officers own the balance of the company, which was founded in 1969 on the British Channel Island of Jersey.

CPA remains based in Jersey, but has grown to include 16 offices around the world. Two of those offices are located in India, where the market for legal outsourcing services is booming. David Harrel, a former senior partner at British firm SJ Berwin, became chairman of CPA almost a year ago.

DLA Piper advised CPA on the 2010 transaction, according to our previous reports. The firm is now representing CPA management on the proposed sale to Cinven. DLA corporate partner David Raff and finance partner Charles Cook in London are leading a team from the firm working on the transaction.

CPA, meanwhile, has turned to British firm Travers Smith for counsel on the Cinven deal. Travers Smith corporate head Chris Hale, who advised CPA and ICG two years ago on the management buyout and acquisition by ICG, has once again taken the lead on the matter, along with M&A partner Helen Croke. ICG's general counsel is Aneta Polk.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which traditionally represents Cinven on its buyout initiatives, is advising the London-based private equity firm on the CPA acquisition through corporate partners David Higgins and Adrian Maguire and finance partner Sean Pierce. The Magic Circle firm advised Cinven last year on its $3.5 billion sale of diagnostics maker Phadia Group to pharmaceutical company Thermo Fisher Scientific.

Cinven's acquisition of CPA is expected to close in the first quarter of the year, pending the approval of the Royal Court of Jersey. HSBC Holdings and JPMorgan Chase are arranging about $663 million in financing for Cinven, according to Bloomberg.

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