Private equity gains new foothold in LPO

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By Legal Futures

8 February 2010

Private equity interest in legal process outsourcing (LPO) stepped up in late January after Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) acquired a significant minority stake CPA Global, investing alongside the company’s senior management team and the founding shareholders. 

The acquisition has received the required approvals from CPA Global shareholders as well as the Jersey courts.

Founded in Jersey in 1969, originally to manage patent renewals, CPA Global has expanded over the years to become a multinational, market-leading company in the global intellectual property services market and broader legal services outsourcing, including litigation support, document review and contract management.

CPA Global’s chief executive officer, Peter Sewell, said: ‘Our growth prospects in the years ahead are the strongest we’ve ever seen as we continue to develop our IP services and software businesses with an expanded range of products and services, while aggressively pursuing our diversification into the wider legal services sector.

‘This sector is really taking off as corporate clients are increasingly turning to outsourcing providers for alternative, more cost effective ways of managing their legal work.’

Piers Millar, head of ICG Minority Partners, said: ‘Peter and the management team have built a fantastic business over the past decade gaining market share and developing new business areas.’

The move came little more than a month after Lyceum Capital – which has positioned itself as the private equity company most interested in the legal market – invested £25m in newly established LPO provider Laureate Legal Services.

In March 2008, Lyceum set up a legal industry advisory board that includes former Clifford Chance managing partner Tony Williams (whose legal consultancy, Jomati, is an Associate of Legal Futures) and legal IT guru Professor Richard Susskind.

At Butterworths’ Legal Services Act conference in London in December, a panel including Tony Williams and led by Addleshaw Goddard chairman Mark Jones speculated on who might be in the top 20 law firms in the UK in 10 years time.

They put CPA (incorporating Eversheds) in top place, followed by Tesco, Freshfields incorporating Allen & Overy, Aviva, Clifford Baker Piper (the merged Clifford Chance, Baker & McKenzie and DLA Piper) and US/UK behemoth Skadden Linklaters.

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