UK - Investment Property Databank (IPD) became the biggest news at its own annual conference last week when it announced its independence had been guaranteed by a "white knight" consortium of investment managers and developers.

Hermes, Morley, British Land, Land Securities, Insight Investment and Prudential have purchased 32% of the company at a cost of £10.7m (€15.9m). It was led by Rupert Clarke, head of Hermes' property investment. The deal values the private limited company at £38m.

The move is designed to block the ambitions of property magnate Elliott Bernerd who - working through Kevin Maxwell (son of disgraced newspaper tycoon Robert) - acquired a 10% stake in IPD earlier this year.

Industry-watchers believe Mr Bernerd wished to use IPD's benchmarking skills to anchor a major property-derivates market.

IPD founders Rubert Nabarro and Ian Cullen will realise about £4m from the deal as their combined stake will decrease from 47% to 36%.

Mr Nabarro, who is IPD chairman, told delegates at the IPD's Brighton conference that "the last six months had been some of the darkest and most difficult in the organisation's 20-year history". And he added that: " Up till recently we did not know how the story would end."

He said he was incredibly grateful to the consortium of new investors as the original independence goals of the IPD would now be enshrined in a new constitution echoing that of The Economist magazine. Mr Bernard has been given a seat on the board as a peace offering.

The IPD's 1985 structure was based on 10 property-industry firms each owning 4.9 per cent of the company's shares. Mr Bernerd's opportunity came as a result of the collapse of shareholder Chesterton earlier this year and a decision by Cluttons to sell its stake.

Over the last 20-years IPD has grown from a staff of three to a staff of 120 and will shortly move from its Camden (London) base to larger premises in Clerkenwell.

It is now benchmarking the performance of property and property funds across Europe and also has operations in South Africa, Canada, the US and Japan.

The firm's significance to real estate as an asset class is profoundly greater than its £38m commercial valuation, hence the "A" list membership of the consortium that has secured its independence.