London-headquartered private equity house Cinven has sold CPA Global, a provider of intellectual property (IP) software and data, to a US buyout firm for £2.4bn.
Leonard Green & Partners has bought the business five years after Cinven first invested, when the business was reportedly valued at £950m.
Since then, Cinven has invested more than £100m in CPA's technology platform and completed six acquisitions. The firm declined to disclose how much it has made for investors on the investment, but said the returned multiple of money invested was “highly attractive”.
“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,” said the firm's managing partner Stuart McAlpine.
“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 provides services to corporates and law firms, and manages more than two million patents for more than 10,000 customers.
“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,” said Simon Webster, CPA's chief executive.
The Jersey-headquartered business has expanded its geographical footprint with Cinven's help, opening new offices in the US and Asia.
It was previously owned by its founders, a group of intellectual property law firms, although it had also received backing from private equity firm Intermediate Capital Group.
Cinven has a strong track record of investing in technology-led businesses. It ploughed €1bn into improving the technology side of Amadeus, which provides back-end passenger services for the travel industry, and made more than seven times its invested capital when Amadeus floated.