Quickie: Bentley and Siemens draw ever closer

Nov 10, 2016 | Hot Topics

Siemens AG and Bentley Systems announced that they’re broadening their strategic alliance by initially investing “at least €50 million” to develop joint solutions that “enlarge their respective offerings for infrastructure and industry to the benefit of the end-customers”. You may recall that there are already agreements in place, and work being done, to more tightly integrate Bentley’s Open Plant and SIemens’ Comos; and to make Bentley’s point clouds a more integral part of Siemens PLM’s 3D modeling processes.

The bigger news may be this, though: Siemens has acquired €70 million of secondary shares of Bentley’s common stock — and Bentley reaffirmed its intention to IPO (stalled since last year), by saying that the Siemens purchase comes “under a company program that will continue until such time as Bentley Systems’ stock is publicly traded”.

The press release quotes Klaus Helmrich, member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG, as saying: “This move further extends our industry software ecosystem from 2D to 3D software solutions, taking the simulation portfolio in our Digital Enterprise offering to a new dimension. We’re rigorously executing our ‘digital twin’ vision from virtual planning to the real product to the benefit of our customers who themselves are driving digitalization across their value chains. Bentley Systems’ independence, track record in interoperability and leadership in engineering- and design-software make them our ideal partner for this undertaking.”

And Bentley Systems CEO Greg Bentley chimes in with, “Only with Siemens could we so purposefully advance beyond merely linking the ‘Industrial Internet of Things’ to ultimately leverage digital engineering models for visual operations and connected infrastructure asset performance. Given our long history of sharing complementary technologies, we are very excited to now contribute so broadly to Siemens’ industrial digitalization leadership.”

What does it all mean? Great question. This could be another toe dipped in the water, testing the relationship as part of a bigger plan for an outright acquisition OR it’s just a an agreement to work together as independent partners. Mr. Helmrich chose to emphasize Bentley’s independence in his statement, and the stock deal language highlights the coming IPO. If Siemens were to acquire Bentley, I don’t think it would nibble away, €70 million at a time. But I’ve been wrong before …

More on this after I ponder. More coming, too, on last week’s YII

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