JWS helps Microsoft acquire Brisbane startup

Clipchamp’s user-friendly video editing software is expected to benefit Microsoft’s global customer base

JWS helps Microsoft acquire Brisbane startup
Sophia Bobeff

Johnson Winter & Slattery (JWS) has helped Microsoft Corporation (USA) with its acquisition of Brisbane startup Clipchamp.

Established in 2013, Clipchamp is a developer of easy-to-use video editing software. JWS co-lead partner Sophia Bobeff said that the acquisition would enable Microsoft to “deliver an easy-to-use video editing solution to its customers across the globe and marks a new phase in the growth of Clipchamp.”

Clipchamp’s founders, former SAP employees Alexander Dreiling, Sören Balko, David Hewitt and Tobi Raub, will transition to Microsoft’s 365 division with the finalisation of the deal. The team will continue to operate from Brisbane.

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Clipchamp investors Transition Level Investments and associated investment syndicate TEN13 also surrendered their interest in the startup. The sellers received legal advice from DLA Piper.

“Startup founders go through different stages from incorporating a business, to hiring the first employees, raising several rounds of funding and eventually they will try to exit through an acquisition or going public. And while an exit event is the end of a startup journey, it is also the beginning of a new journey. In our case that will be a journey under a Microsoft umbrella,” Dreiling explained in a post on Clipchamp’s website. “Few companies in tech have the legacy and reach that Microsoft has. We all grew up with iconic Microsoft products and have been using them ever since. Becoming part of Microsoft allows us to become part of a future legacy.”

Bobeff described the acquisition as “yet another important transaction in Australia’s blooming tech sector,” and pointed out that the demand for tech solutions since the COVID-19 pandemic came onto the scene last year has spurred a significant increase in tech M&A deals in the last 18 months. 

Partner Jeremy Davis co-led the JWS team with Bobeff. The partners received support from associate Claudia McEwen and law graduate Jonathan Goodrich.

The team also obtained input from partner Ruveni Kelleher and associate Meg Prouatt on the employment aspects of the deal; partner Prashanth Kainthaje and special counsel Julian Wan on the tax aspects; and partner Ravi de Fonseka and special counsel Ken Chan on IP aspects.

Perkins & Coie served as Microsoft’s US counsel.

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