Autodesk agrees $875m deal to buy iPad blueprint firm

In a further sign that the construction IT sector is experiencing a surge of investment, design software giant Autodesk has closed a deal to buy San Francisco rival PlanGrid for $875m.

PlanGrid, which was founded in 2011, produces real-time cloud-based collaboration software that allows workers on site to use smart devices to see the same plans and schedules and as workers in the company office.

The company has 400 employees, 12,000 customers and 120,000 paid users. It was last valued in 2015 at $419m.

Autodesk, which is best known for its AutoCAD and Revit software, has a turnover of $27bn. Andrew Anagnost, its chief executive, said in a press statement: "There is a huge opportunity to streamline all aspects of construction through digitisation and automation. The acquisition of PlanGrid will accelerate our efforts to improve construction workflows for every stakeholder in the construction process."

Tracy Young, PlanGrid’s chief executive, said: "One of the first steps to improving construction productivity is the adoption of digital workflows with centralised data.

"PlanGrid has excelled at building beautiful, simple field collaboration software, while Autodesk has focused on connecting design to construction. Together, we can drive greater productivity and predictability on the jobsite."

Autodesk will integrate PlanGrid into its construction management software, which it will make available in the cloud.

The move follows Oracle’s purchase of cloud-based document management specialist Aconex for $1.2bn in December, and reflects the increasing interest in construction shown by big technology companies, who are competing to offer it cloud-based software services.

The deal is expected to close at the end of January following regulatory approval.

Image: Autodesk will use PlanGrid to improve its cloud-based offering (Autodesk)

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