IPH Limited Group (IPH) has won the two-way bidding battle with rival QANTM Intellectual Property Limited (QANTM) for the acquisition of Xenith IP Group (Xenith). QANTM announced its proposal last year but pulled out in April 2019 after IPH raised its purchase bid. IPH proceeded to complete the acquisition on August 15 2019. The deal brought Glasshouse Advisory, Griffith Hack, Shelston IP and Watermark into IPH, which already owns AJ Park, Pizzeys Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys, and Spruson & Ferguson.
This development is likely to reignite the criticism of publicly listed IP companies and their impact on the IP profession/market in Australasia. Despite the fact that the combined group would account for about 40% of patent filings in Australia, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) endorsed the acquisition, concluding that the group “would not be likely to substantially lessen competition in any relevant market” and “is likely to continue to face competition from a number of alternative large and medium suppliers, including QANTM and other firms.” QANTM’s proposed acquisition of Xenith was also cleared by the ACCC (QANTM owns Davies Collison Cave, FPA Patent Attorneys and Advanz Fidelis IP).
Market observers will now keep a close eye on QANTM considering that IPH previously attempted to acquire it before moving for Xenith. It remains to be seen whether more IP firms will join IPH or QANTM and how the regulators will react.