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Schneider Electric affirms discussions with Bentley Systems for a strategic transaction

  • Schneider Electric affirms discussions with Bentley Systems for strategic transaction
    Peter Herweck, CEO of Schneider Electric
    Credit: Schneider Electric
  • Schneider Electric confirms it is currently in talks with Bentley Systems concerning a strategic transaction.
  • According to sources close to the negotiations, options include not only an outright sale of the company but also the possibility of forming a joint venture.

About the entity

Schneider Electric has confirmed its engagement in discussions with Bentley Systems, a prominent U.S. engineering software producer, regarding a potential "strategic software transaction."

The press statement read: “Schneider Electric confirms that, as part of its continuous exploration of opportunities in furtherance of its One Software strategy, it has been holding discussions with Bentley Systems with regards to a potential strategic transaction.”

Nevertheless, the French company refrained from providing further details, stressing that “discussions remain at a preliminary stage. There is no certainty that any transactions will be agreed upon.”

Bentley Systems, in a separate press release, acknowledged Schneider’s public statement without commenting further.

Earlier reports from Reuters suggested that Bentley Systems, boasting a market value close to $16 billion, was exploring various avenues, including a potential sale, following keen interest from potential acquirers.

Among the entities showing interest in a potential deal with Bentley are Schneider Electric and design software firm Cadence Design Systems (CDNS.O), as per insider sources.

Should a full takeover occur at current valuations, this deal would find itself among the top 10 acquisitions in the United States by a French company, according to financial data firm Dealogic.

Schneider, renowned for its expertise in energy supply management for homes, industries, and data centers, has been actively seeking to expand its software business through strategic acquisitions in recent times. In late 2022, it finalized an $11.9 billion deal for UK-based software company Aveva Group after a prolonged negotiation period with investors pushing for a higher price.

Bentley Systems, predominantly controlled by the Bentley family via a special class of shares, has established a special committee within its board of directors to explore potential options, according to sources close to the matter.

These options include not only an outright sale of the company but also the possibility of forming a joint venture, as per the same sources.

Bentley Systems

This year, Bentley Systems announced that COO Nicholas Cumins will be promoted to CEO on July 1. Greg Bentley, the oldest of five brothers who founded Bentley Systems, and who will be transitioning from CEO to Executive Chair of its Board of Directors, highlighted that since January 2022, the firm’s ARR growth and operating margins have consistently improved to the highest levels in Bentley Systems’ 40-year history.

Based in Exton, Pennsylvania, the company makes software for engineering and construction projects, including bridges, airports, utilities and mines. Bentley Systems’ water sector is an important part of its business asset.

Bentley’s software suite empowers water companies and utilities to effectively oversee the entire lifecycle of water and wastewater infrastructure. From conceptualization to operation, its solutions facilitate the construction, design, and management of raw water transmission, treatment, and distribution systems for safe drinking water, as well as sanitation systems for the collection and conveyance of sewerage and storm runoff for treatment.

Smart Water Magazine had the chance to sit down with Gregg Herrin, Vice President of Water Infrastructure at Bentley Systems, to discuss the challenges utilities face in adopting new technology and the potential benefits it offers. During the chat, Herrin stressed that digital twins hold promise for optimizing decision-making across the water industry lifecycle. He highlights that Bentley Systems' approach emphasizes the integration of engineering, operations, and information technologies to deliver comprehensive digital twin solutions. These solutions aim to enhance asset management, improve customer service, and mitigate risks such as flooding and water loss. Looking ahead, Herrin said he envisioned a future where digital water technology minimizes common issues, enhances infrastructure resilience, and improves overall service delivery.

Schneider Electric

Schneider, a cornerstone of France's industrial landscape, has transitioned from its origins as a leading manufacturer of electrical equipment to become a key player in the provision of software and equipment for various sectors including the water sector. This evolution has significantly contributed to Schneider's market value, which has surged to an all-time high exceeding €120 billion ($128 billion).

Last year, Schneider Electric announced major contracts and business deals regarding digitalization in the water sector, including that it was joining forces with Suez, a leader in digital and circular solutions in waste and water services, to accelerate the deployment of digital solutions for energy efficiency, resource conservation, and the control of carbon impact of water cycle management systems.

In 2021, the firm intensified its AI efforts with the appointment of its first Chief AI Officer (CAIO) and the establishment of a global AI Hub. Philippe Rambach, the appointed CAIO, was tasked with spearheading AI innovation internally and for the company’s customers, focusing on enhancing efficiency and sustainability through data-driven insights. The main aim was to leverage AI to transform industries, using advanced technologies to address challenges in energy management, industrial automation, and sustainability.

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