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Plunging in when its target is a bit winded after an awkward profits warning, Autodesk Inc has moved to keep it all in the family by acquiring Henneker, New Hampshire-based Softdesk Inc, itself a thoroughly acquisitive company that specializes in adding to Autodesk’s desktop computer-aided design software for architects and their ilk. Softdesk is being taken out at $12 a share in Autodesk shares, valuing the company at $72m. Autodesk, San Rafael, California will issue about 0.44 new shares of its common for each outstanding Softdesk share, and expects to take a one-time charge of about $10m to $12m when the deal closed to write off purchased research and development. Under the sweetheart deal, anyone tempted to muscle in should be deterred by the fact that Softdesk granted Autodesk an option to acquire 19.9% if a raiding party appears on the horizon. Softdesk is to be integrated into Autodesk’s architecture, engineering and construction market group, and will remain headquartered in Henniker under existing management. Softdesk has been one of Autodesk’s largest independent software developers, with sales of $26.5m for the nine months to September 30. Autodesk says that the agreement will accelerate its new strategy to deliver architecture, engineering and construction vertical market applications and base technology to customers and independent software developers, according to regional market conditions.

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