Paperlinx case study


Deloitte LLP for Howard Smith Paper Group Limited (in Administration), Robert Horne Group Limited (in Administration), The Paper Company Limited (in Administration), PaperlinX Brands (Europe) Limited (in Administration) and PaperlinX Services (Europe) Limited (in Administration) (referred to as “the Companies”).


Antecedents of Australian-headquartered PaperlinX had been distributing paper in Europe since the 1600s, and the Companies successfully established a presence in the UK paper market through a number of acquisitions in the 1990s. The operations of all PaperlinX businesses were underpinned by a robust framework of product stewardship, including a Global Supply Chain Policy and certifications from both the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).


Metis Partners was instructed by Matt Smith and Neville Kahn of Deloitte LLP, Joint Administrators of the Companies, to maximise the recovery for creditors through the identification and cataloguing of all intellectual property (“IP”) assets owned by the Companies. Metis Partners was engaged to assist the Joint Administrators with the marketing, negotiation and sale of the IP assets.

Paperlinx case study process

Our Approach


Metis Partners conducted a thorough research exercise to identify, catalogue and highlight the areas of significant value within the IP assets owned by the Companies.

Value Preservation

The Companies’ extensive IP portfolio, containing in excess of 200 trade marks, a catalogue of 50 domain names as well as websites, was examined in detail. Metis Partners identified more than 50 brands including, 9 corporate brands, 25 product brands, 7 service brands within the Companies’ portfolio. Using our experience of IP sales, we grouped the IP assets together in a manner which, showcased the commercial opportunities that existed behind each of the brands. Due to the extent and quality of the of IP assets held by the Companies, we designed a sales strategy around the primary IP assets and produced two distinct IP Asset Highlights documents (a total of 36 pages of relevant IP information) for use in the sales and marketing exercise.


Having produced comprehensive sales and marketing documentation that highlighted key applications of the PaperlinX brands, Metis Partners generated a bespoke global marketing database of potentially interested parties. Metis Partners launched a full sales and marketing exercise to generate awareness and interest in the IP assets owned by the Companies. We leveraged our relationships with major media partners to gain broad press coverage across industry publications. As a result, we created competitive tension, which was sustained throughout the established auction process.

Value Preservation Support

Metis Partners liaised with:

  • Trade mark and domain name agents, to ensure only critical renewals were carried out, thus preserving value;
  • Qualified buyers, in order to both understand their interests and provide advice on the deal structure prior to legal completion; and
  • Lawyers of all purchasers and of the client, to ensure successful legal completion.


Our marketing campaign generated international interest, resulting in numerous offers being received for the IP assets of the Companies. As the majority of the registered trade marks related to the EU and offers were received from the parties located in different European territories, a large amount of simultaneous deals were agreed. Completion, with more than 10 parties from countries across Europe, was coordinated to produce a selection of agreements for both outright sales and perpetual licences, providing sufficient protection for the Joint Administrators. The result was a six-figure return for creditors.


  • Provided an end-to-end sale service: identifying the IP assets through to execution of the sale;
  • Identified and highlighted IP asset value in a vast portfolio of assets by packaging them in commercially attractive bundles;
  • Gained press coverage and generated substantial interest for the sale of the IP assets;
  • Supported ongoing IP renewal activities in order to preserve value and optimise cost saving;
  • Advised on complicated trade mark issues that arose both during the assignment and at the deal completion stage; and
  • Negotiated with all interested parties to achieve a maximum number of deals, which increased the overall final return for creditors.