Speculation runs rampant
Who would be interested in buying OnShape? Well, it needn't be a CAD vendor; it could be an Oracle or a SAP (both of who have long offered PLM) looking for a cloud-based CAD file editor. Both already have CAD viewers.
Or it could be a peripheral CAD vendor, like Hexagon or Trimble. Hexagon is keen on the cloud for its new line of Smart bundles, but doesn't have a cloud-based MCAD offering; on the other hand, it already owns nearly a dozen CAD packages. Trimble doesn't have an industrial strength (M)CAD system but is more into AEC.
Most traditional CAD vendors wouldn't be interested in OnShape, because they either already have such a product (Autodesk with Fusion, Dassault with V6) or else they can't afford the $169-million price tag. Two firms that don't already have cloud-based CAD and have the money are PTC and Siemens PLM -- which makes them possibilities. Of the two, I'd put my money on PTC.
But technology is not the only rationale a CEO makes to his board for an acquisition. Other reasons include:
- Eliminating a competitor (something Autodesk or Dassault might consider)
- Getting the staff and technology (valuable in its own right)
- Accessing the customer list (probably not that useful)
Here's a thought out of left field: a consortium of smaller players buys OnShape and then adds tech to it as the basis of a universal CAD system. Here I'm thinking of IntelliCAD Technical Consortium getting together with Open Design Alliance to make the acquisition. The ODA already works closely with OnShape, and ITC has a CAD development-testing-distribution system in place.
So, why would OnShape even want to sell itself. Here's my opinion:
- "Only" thousands of commercial (paying) customers after four years on the market
- Investors want their $169 million back, with growth
- Retirement planning