Corsearch acquires Pointer Brand Protection as M&A trend continues

  • Corsearch has acquired Pointer Brand Protection for an unknown sum
  • Deal follows purchase of Yellow Brand Protection last year
  • Latest development in Corsearch’s goal to become one-stop IP hub

Corsearch has announced the acquisition of Pointer Brand Protection. The move represents a continuation of Corsearch’s growth strategy following its sale to Audax Private Equity in January 2018, and may see the company start to draw its portfolio of businesses closer to the Corsearch brand.

While rival company Compumark spun off its MarkMonitor brand protection business to OpSec Security in November (a deal completed this month), Corsearch remains focused on solidifying its position in that area of brand activity, with today’s announcement following the acquisition of Yellow Brand Protection in November.

Pointer Brand Protection has been operating since 2008 with over 120 employees in offices across Amsterdam, Shanghai, New York and London. The company offers anti-counterfeiting services which include online-to-offline investigations, test purchasing services, dedicated brand protection analysts, and a proprietary software platform for the removal of infringements.

Corsearch’s services now range across trademark screenings, searches, watching, domain portfolio management and online brand protection. How Corsearch will integrate Pointer’s services into the brand remains to be seen. On the face of it, it is likely that it will follow a similar pattern to its treatment of Yellow Brand Protection, which has continued to operate as a separate brand with strategic alignment with Corsearch. However, the press release announcing the deal indicates Corsearch may integrate both services more directly into its platform, designated as 'Corsearch Brand Protection'.

The press release states: “In addition to Corsearch’s existing services, the new platform will provide brands with a full-service solution combining everything from trademark research and clearing to machine learning, automated marketplace enforcement, and end-to-end investigations.” With Pointer Brand Protection’s inclusion into Corsearch, the company claims it will have the largest China-based online brand protection department in the industry.

Pointer CEO Robert Stolk said of the merger: “Joining forces with Corsearch means securing the ability to innovate in a way that anticipates the needs of customers while also benefiting from Corsearch’s trusted industry presence.” While Corsearch’s CEO, Tobias Hartmann, commented: “We are thrilled to bring the brightest minds in online brand protection together and define the future of this industry. With this strategic acquisition Corsearch becomes the only provider to support the needs of IP and brand professionals throughout the trademark lifecycle.”

The move keeps Corsearch in pace with competitor Clarivate as both companies grow through M&A action to create increasingly comprehensive IP legal services. Corsearch’s growth kicked off two years ago with the company’s sale to Audax Private Equity from Wolters Kluwer for $140 million. At the time, Hartmann said of the growth plan: “Audax bought Corsearch because it wants to grow Corsearch. Will we acquire other businesses? We will see. In five years, we want to be significantly larger than we are today. Other companies are buying and we may also, but we will be selective. We also value partnerships – we don’t have to buy and own everything. We are in an ecosystem and are open to partnering with others. It’s all about building the platform.”

Competitor Clarivate Analytics has undergone similar growth since its sale from Thomson Reuters in 2016 to both Baring and Onex Corporation for $3.55 billion in 2016. Since then, Clarivate has merged with public investment vehicle Churchill Capital Corp, acquired AI technology company TrademarkVision, and Darts-ip. Notably, Clarivate sold its equivalent brand protection service MarkMonitor to OpSec Security. These moves have seemingly diversified Clarivate from Corsearch to have more comprehensive research and analytics offering compared with Corsearch’s protection focused services.

As the two companies continue to both grow and specialise into differing corners of the market, it is likely similar M&A action will be observed by both, potentially absorbing other similar smaller services on the market.

WTR has reached out to Corsearch for comment.

Unlock unlimited access to all WTR content