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May 29, 2008


Randall Newton

ADSK buying BSI is beyond doubtful. The US FTC would be all over it in a heartbeat. Private equity buyout is a more likely exit strategy, but The B will not be a bargain.

Brad Holtz

I disagree with Randall's FTC comment. Bentley's business has four divisions. In three of the divisions, the number one competitor is NOT Autodesk. Only the architectural sector poses an FTC problem. Spinning that sector off to another competitor (Intergraph, Nemetschek, and DS come to mind) would resolve that issue. Such a move would not be unprecedented.

That doesn't mean that Autodesk will acquire Bentley. It just means that the FTC constraint is not a total barrier to a deal if the parties were so inclined.

I think the "Carl at Bentley" posibility is more likely to have been an illustration that the two companies are not just competitors, but they also have common interests.

Could we give that "Autodesk bites, er, buys Bentley" perennual reader bait some rest now?


Gary Darcy

Well Brad and Randall,

I disagree with both of you!

The FTC would have no problem with this acquisition!

AD has plenty of competitors these days.
The Architectural sector is not a problem either. What foot hold does Bentley have
in that sector?..none!
Also the FTC considers acquisition of private companies with a little less aggression.

So I see no problems in this area as you describe.

The price might not be a problem either!

The Bentley boys have wanted to a public listing.
They need a deal so they can retire.

The biggest problem! What makes sence for
AD most likely will not happen!
Regards Gary

Martyn Day

It's very interesting and there are a lot of common interests that we can speculate on... and the FTC would be an issue.

However ignoring the bigger picture, just thinking of the event and the planning. The possible Carl link was sent on May 23rd, 4 days before the event started.

Carl was scheduled to be on live feed at Greg Bentley's press conference. One can safely assume that any deal (whatever scale) would have been announced during Greg's Keynote. To have Carl with a live feed at a Bentley event, is like Bill Gates appearing at an Apple convention. It's a major milestone.

Now that doesn't mean Autodesk are buying Bentley but the reaction of the VPs asked afterwards, total denial by Greg Bentley, laughed off by Carl via email makes me wonder. If it was a small thing, an agreement or announcement of a relationship, I reckon we could have squeezed a little information out of someone there, if it wasn't a big deal.

The stone wall we ran into, with product managers shocked to hear that such an event was planned means that I think it's something much more significant and at an management level.

But then Carl was down on a an internal agenda that i guess a lot of people in the organisation of BE would have seen....

I guess, if the deal was delayed we can expect some announcements in the coming weeks. If if fell apart we may actually never find out what the live link was all about.

My gut feel is that it got delayed.

One VP joked to me..... yes the big news is Bentley have bought Autodesk!!!! We wanted to go public and it was easier to purchase a company that had.

Hugh Donaldson

Carl is coaching his son's little league team this week. That's why he isn't attending.

Evan Yares

I love the level of speculation here. Makes it very interesting.

So, let me jump in with my totally unfounded speculation for the day: Maybe Autodesk and Bentley were looking at announcing a technology sharing agreement for cross-support of DWG and DGN.

Tony Tanzillo

Regarding Evan's comments:

"So, let me jump in with my totally unfounded speculation for the day: Maybe Autodesk and Bentley were looking at announcing a technology sharing agreement for cross-support of DWG and DGN"

Ummmm, there's to the concept of 'collusion' than merely price-fixing.


Competitiveness drives innovation. If the worst were to happen and the Bentleys did sell out to Autodesk then Autodesk would have a stranglehold on the AEC business that would create inertia. In the past we had selling upgrades creating an imperative to improve products, but with a subscription model that imperative to improve is diluted. Autodesk could just sit back and rake the money in, and screw their user base even more if they felt so inclined.

None of the remaining AEC companies would be big enough to pose a threat to Autodesk, and it would be very easy for them to be marginalised even further. Autodesk could then argue credibly that any future BIM standard should be based on Autodesk products because most of them were already created using their products (Autodesk and Microstation).

Having a market dominated by one vendor is never good for the consumers and if the US regulators are stupid enough to alow this to happen then we are all in deep manure.

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