Aveva and Schneider Electric to merge in £3bn move

Wed, 06 Sep 2017

A UK engineering software firm is set to merge with the software arm of French energy group Schneider Electric, creating an entity expected to be worth around £3 billion.

Schneider will take a majority stake in Aveva, which was born from a government-funded research institute founded in Cambridge in the 1960s, to create a new company in a deal that has been in the offing for several years after similar deals were proposed in 2015 and 2016.

Aveva, known as Britain’s oldest technology company, currently employs 1,700 people and enjoys an annual revenue of £201.5 million.

Under the terms of the transaction, Schneider will take a 60 per cent stake in the new group to create a “global leader in engineering and industrial software”.

James Kidd, the current CEO of Aveva, will remain in his role until a replacement is found, and which time he will take over as deputy CEO and CFO.

The new company will cover a range of sectors, combining Aveva’s specialised data in the oil, gas and power sectors with Schneider’s expertise in the chemicals, food and beverage industries. The French firm will also bring its knowledge of North American markets to bear.

This reverse takeover structure will allow the new firm to retain Aveva’s headquarters in Cambridge and its listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Philip Aiken, Aveva’s chairman, said he was “delighted” to have reached an agreement with Schneider.

He added: “The transaction will be transformational to Aveva, creating a global leader in industrial software, which will be able to better compete on a global scale.”

It is also reported that a clause has been negotiated into the deal to allow Aveva’s board to entertain proposals from third parties for a takeover, should any be forthcoming. Emerson, GE and Honeywell are just a few firms who could gatecrash the deal.

The £3 billion bid planned with Schneider, however, would represent Britain’s biggest technology deal this year.

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