MAATS Tech Limited (In Administration)

Background 

In April 2023, we were retained to market the intellectual property assets of MAATS Tech Limited (In Administration) (“MAATS” or the “Company”) on behalf of the Joint Administrators of the Company, Gareth Rutt Morris and Matthew Whitchurch of FRP Advisory Trading Limited.

MAATS was a frontrunner in the offshore engineering space for over three decades, specialising in the design and supply of cable lay and flex lay vessel carousels alongside deck spread equipment. Esteemed for its innovative engineering solutions, its custom-designed systems set new benchmarks for vessel engineering capabilities, winning multiple lucrative contracts with industry giants.

Despite its respected status and contributions to the technical advancement of offshore engineering, the Company had incurred losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the insolvency of a major customer that resulted in significant bad debt. Further, the Company’s cash reserves were being stretched due to the working capital required to accommodate more projects and demand by its supply chain for early payment. Ultimately, these factors combined to send MAATS into Administration. The Joint Administrators proceeded to seek a recovery from a sale of the assets for the benefit of the Company’s creditors.

Our Role

We were initially engaged to value the range of the Company’s assets, including stock, chattel assets, real estate, and intellectual property, alongside FRP’s accelerated marketing exercise, seeking a sale of the business and assets. Despite a thorough process, the endeavour to locate a purchaser for the business as a whole did not succeed, leading to a shift in focus towards the Company’s intellectual property assets.

Working with FRP, we understood that MAATS possessed a significant portfolio of granted patents and patent applications. However, once the focus of the sales exercise shifted to the Company’s intellectual property assets, our team conducted an expanded evaluation to uncover the full potential of its intellectual property.

Powered by our extensive experience in asset sales and market insights, our expanded exercise unveiled a considerable array of previously unexplored trade secrets and related knowledge assets. These assets, notably an extensive suite of technical drawings and designs pertinent to the Company’s past projects and customer contracts, were identified as business-critical elements of its intellectual property portfolio from the perspective of any potential purchaser.

Recognising the strategic importance of these newly identified intellectual property assets, we highlighted their availability and potential competitive advantage in our marketing efforts.

The Assets 

The MAATS intellectual property portfolio comprised:

Process & Outcome

As a result of our strategic marketing of the expanded portfolio of MAATS intellectual property assets, we successfully identified and preserved attracted significant interest from key industry players.

Following a competitive bidding process, the portfolio of trade secrets that we uncovered to enhance the known intellectual property assets attracted ten offers and resulted in a seven-figure sale.

The progression from an unsuccessful sale of the business and assets to a successful seven-figure sale of the intellectual property portfolio emphasises the intrinsic value of trade secrets and why their value should not be underestimated.

Observations and Take-Aways

The MAATS intellectual property sale offers an excellent insight into a lesser-known form of intellectual property: significant value often resides within soft or unregistered forms of IP, such as designs, technical drawings and data.

The outcome of this exercise underscores the importance of looking beyond the traditional, registered forms of IP, such as patents and trade marks, to recognise the full spectrum of assets that can confer a competitive edge and, therefore, represent realisable value in insolvency processes.

Every business possesses trade secrets, from unique manufacturing processes to customer lists, that could offer considerable value if properly identified and leveraged. At Hilco, our expertise extends to identifying, safeguarding, and monetising these complex assets. Our approach ensures that no stone is left unturned in recognising the breadth of value within a company’s intellectual property portfolio, thereby maximising returns for our clients. This case study is a testament to our capability to navigate the complex landscape of intellectual property assets, highlighting our strategic ability to unveil and capitalise on the often hidden value within unregistered intellectual property.

 

Contact Alexander

For further information on our work with MAATS Tech or our wider experience in Intellectual Property:

Alexander Muir

Associate Director

Intellectual Property

Manchester Office

+44 (0) 7593 562917

amuir@hilcoglobal.eu

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