IP transaction

French competitor acquires NovumIP from Paragon Partners

NovumIP is changing hands. French competitor Questel is taking over the global IP service provider from private equity firm Paragon Partners. The cross-border deal is still subject to antitrust approval and the permission of the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin).

24 March 2021 by Aled Griffiths

NovumIP In a cross-border deal, French IP service provider Questel is taking over NovumIP ©neiezhmakov/ADOBE STOCK

NovumIP is the holding company of Starnberg-based patent service provider Pavis, and Amsterdam-based IP firm Novagraaf. Together, the companies file and manage around two million IP rights for some 12,000 clients worldwide. Their main focus is the renewal and maintenance of patents and trademarks. Now, Questel is taking over NovumIP from Paragon Partners.

Pavis part of NovumIP deal

IP firm Novagraaf also offers a full range of prosecution, filing and portfolio management services for patents, trademarks and designs. It has a total of 18 offices in Europe and overseas. In addition to headquarters in the Netherlands and branches in France, Belgium, the UK, Denmark and Switzerland, the firm also has offices in the US, China and Japan.

Last year, subsidiary Pavis Payment received approval from the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority to operate as a regulated payment institution. As such, Pavis Payment is also part of the deal. Paragon Fund II also supported the ‘buy-and-build’ strategy.

Paris-based IP service provider Questel is taking over NovumIP. Questel offers, among other things, software for searching, analysing and managing inventions and IP assets. Investment companies Eurazeo, IK Investment Partners and Raise back Questel, which recently invested in Munich-based IP manager Brandstock and London patent manager RenewalsDesk. At the beginning of 2021, Munich-based software company Innosabi’s shareholders also sold a majority stake to Questel.

According to industry magazine Private Equity Wire, Eurazeo and the IK IX Fund are participating in the latest expansion. They also continue to hold a majority stake in Questel, while Paragon Fund III is simultaneously directly involved in Questel with a minority stake.

German-French partnership

A German-French team from Willkie Farr & Gallagher, which won the pitch, accompanied Questel and its financial investors in the bidding process and SPA negotiations. M&A specialist Kamyar Abrar, who joined Willkie last summer from Weil Gotshal & Manges, took the lead in Germany. Here, Abrar and Eduardo Fernandez, a colleague from Willkie, acted together for the first time.

Questel hired Stuttgart teams from KPMG and KPMG Law for its investments in Brandstock and Innosabi. JUVE is aware that KPMG was responsible for the legal and tax due diligence process in the current deal, which spanned five countries.

For the NovumIP sale, Paragon Partners hired a team led by Düsseldorf-based Baker & McKenzie partners Ingo Strauss and Heiko Gotsche. Last year, the same team landed the acquisition of Castolin Eutectic. For legal and sale support, the German Baker & McKenzie team called on their advisors in Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK, France and Switzerland.

According to market sources, KPMG was responsible for the tax aspects of the sales process. KPMG has supported Paragon in deals for several years, Pavis Payment hired firm Annerton for the approval procedure, in order to become a regulated payment institution.

This article was originally published in German by Sonja Behrens and Aled Griffiths