Baring, Onex buy Thomson Reuters’s IP unit for $3.55bn

Baring Private Equity Asia’s investment came from its $3.98 2015-vintage Baring Asia VI.

Hong Kong-based firm Baring Private Equity Asia and Canadian private equity firm Onex Corporation have acquired the IP Property and Science (IP&S) business of Thomson Reuters for $3.55 billion in cash, according to a statement from the firms.

IP&S provides its subscribers with scientific content, as well as information on patents, trademarks and pharmaceuticals. Jean Eric Salata, founder and chief executive of Baring Asia, said the acquisition will support the development of IP&S particularly in Asia, where the economies have become more information-driven and continue to emphasise research and development.

Thomson Reuters’s IP portfolio includes Web of Science, Thomson CompuMark, Thomson Innovation, MarkMonitor, Cortellis and Thomson IP Manager. The division employs 4,100 people in over 75 offices in 40 countries, with a headquarters in Philadelphia.

The investment came from Baring’s sixth pan-regional fund, Baring Asia VI, which raised $3.98 billion in 2015. Limited partners in the fund include the Los Angeles City Employees’ Retirement System, Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System and San Francisco City and County Employees’ Retirement System, according to PEI Research & Analytics. Baring VI has also invested in TELUS International, a business process outsourcing provider based in the Philippines; South Korean cement producer, Halla Cement; and Singapore-based precision engineering company, Interplex.

Onex’s investment came from its $5.7 billion 2014-vintage vehicle, Onex Partners IV. To date, Onex Partners IV has completed five investments with $1.7 billion of capital invested, including in aerospace engineering company AIT and mission-critical survival equipment company Survitec Group.

Thomson Reuters had said in its 2015 annual report that it was expecting to sell its IP&S business in the second half of 2016. It highlighted it would focus instead on its financial and risk, legal, and tax and accounting businesses.

Baring Private Equity Asia has offices in China, Hong Kong, India, Japan and Singapore. The firm has committed over $10 billion to the region across 35 portfolio companies.

Toronto-headquartered Onex Corporation has over $22 billion in assets under management.

The transaction is expected to close later this year subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.