15 April 2019

IP battle creates $1.6 billion legal giant

IPH wins battle to acquire Xenith Group after QANTM declines to make counter-offer, as Xenith chair highlights diversity in brand culture.


Intellectual property firm Xenith has agreed to be taken over by IPH in a $191.7 million deal after QANTM Intellectual Property failed to make a counter-offer. The Xenith board of directors has unanimously agreed to an updated IPH proposal of $2.15 per share, to be paid in either cash or scrip. 

Legal giant

The deal creates a $1.6 billion legal giant and ends months of negotiations in a three-way tussle after Xenith was determined to merge with its similar sized rival QANTM.  IPH Limited is the holding company of Spruson & Ferguson, Practice Insight, Pizzeys and AJ Park, and a leading intellectual property services group in the Asia-Pacific region offering a wide range of IP services and products. The merger will have over 1000 employees and 440 professional staff, including at Spruson & Ferguson, AJPark, Pizzeys, Shelston, Griffith Hack and Watermark. IPH managing director and chief executive Andrew Blattman told media, “together the combined group will have a broadened Australian business and be able to leverage IPH's significant experience and geographic reach in the Asia region, providing our clients with a comprehensive IP service offering across the region and strong career development opportunities for our people.” . IPH was the first IP services group to list on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Accommodating brand

QANTM and Xenith originally planned a merger of equals to create an intellectual property firm to rival the size of IPH, but IPH launched a takeover bid. IPH raised its $1.90-per-share offer to $2.15 per share on Monday, and QANTM declined to match it. Together Xenith and IPH have about 40 per cent of the total patent filings in Australia. However, the newly combined entity may lose some market share due to conflict of interests with competing clients. Last month, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission cleared the acquisition. Chair of Xenith, Sibylle Krieger told media “it appears that the brand within the IPH group each have their own distinct culture, and that the IPH group can accommodate the range of cultures which exists among the portfolio of businesses of Xenith.”

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