Cinven to buy patents firm

PRIVATE equity firm Cinven has won the race to buy patents management giant CPA in a £950m deal.

Cinven, the firm behind Pizza Express, is close to signing the deal with investment group Intermediate Capital Group (ICG), City A.M. has been told.

ICG sparked an intense auction when it put the business up for sale at the end of last year in a process which left Cinven battling rival BC Partners.

Several other private equity firms, including US giants Carlyle Group and KKR, had considering making an offer before deciding to walk away.

ICG only bought the Jersey-based company two years ago, investing alongside the company’s senior management and founding shareholders, in a deal worth around £440m. At that time, the buyout was financed with £225m of debt, including mezzanine loans.

The legal services market has grown, however, with cost pressures leading more corporates to outsource the protection of their intellectual property. CPA reported Ebitda earnings of £77m according to its last annual accounts.

Separately Cinven is continuing with its €5bn (£4.16bn) fundraising but executives have not put a timescale on the efforts.