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Siemens Considers Bentley Systems Bid in New Digital Push

Bloomberg logoBloomberg 9/7/2020 Oliver Sachgau
a man using a laptop computer: Attendees wear Microsoft Corp. HoloLens 2 headsets as they use the Bentley Systems Inc. Synchro XR augmented reality (AR) app, at the Microsoft Corp. stand on the opening day of the MWC Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain, on Monday, Feb. 25, 2019. At the wireless industry’s biggest conference, over 100,000 people are set to see the latest innovations in smartphones, artificial intelligence devices and autonomous drones exhibited by more than 2,400 companies. © Bloomberg Attendees wear Microsoft Corp. HoloLens 2 headsets as they use the Bentley Systems Inc. Synchro XR augmented reality (AR) app, at the Microsoft Corp. stand on the opening day of the MWC Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain, on Monday, Feb. 25, 2019. At the wireless industry’s biggest conference, over 100,000 people are set to see the latest innovations in smartphones, artificial intelligence devices and autonomous drones exhibited by more than 2,400 companies.

(Bloomberg) -- Siemens AG is weighing an acquisition of Bentley Systems Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, in what would mark a fresh push into industrial-software dealmaking by Europe’s largest engineering firm.

Bentley, if purchased, would become part of Siemens’s digital industries division, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. No final decisions have been made and a deal could still fail to materialize, the people said.

A spokesperson for Siemens declined to comment. A representative for Bentley did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Siemens shares rose 1.4% to 117.26 euros in trading Monday.

Bentley, based in Exton, Pennsylvania, develops software to help manage engineering projects, particularly in the infrastructure and construction industries. The company has more than 3,500 employees and generates $700 million in annual revenue, according to its website.

Siemens already holds a 14% stake in Bentley, according to one of the people. The companies entered into a strategic alliance to develop commercial initiatives in 2016 and renewed the pact two years later, saying at the time that 100 million euros ($118 million) had been pledged to the venture.

IPO Filing

Bentley filed for an initial public offering on the Nasdaq exchange last month. Companies regularly attract takeover interest from potential suitors after announcing plans to list.

A purchase would mark the beginning of Siemens’s push into software under incoming Chief Executive Officer Roland Busch. He is scheduled to take over in February from Joe Kaeser, who will leave Siemens a transformed company that bears little resemblance to the one he took over in 2013.

Under Kaeser, Siemens focused on software applications that are crucial to run its industrial equipment and in 2016 paid $4.5 billion to purchase Mentor Graphics Corp. Bloomberg News reported at the time that, following the Mentor Graphics deal, Siemens planned to pause growing its industrial-software business through large takeovers.

Siemens saw profit rise 8% in its third quarter as the company dealt with the coronavirus crisis better than expected. Results were boosted by strong performance from the software business, where profit surged 62% in part thanks to the valuation of its stake in Bentley.

There has been a flurry of industrial software deals in the last month as the world’s biggest machine makers push into digital production. Aveva Group Plc agreed to buy SoftBank Group Corp.-backed Osisoft for $5 billion and Emerson Electric Co. said it would acquire Open Systems International for $1.6 billion.

(Updates with Bentley IPO filing in sixth paragraph.)

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