Bentley Systems buys 20-year-old software company Seequent for $1bn

Construction software company Bentley Systems has agreed to buy Seequent, a New Zealand software house that specialises in geological and geophysical modelling.

The US company will buy Seequent from investors led by private equity firm Accel-KKR for $900m in cash and $100m in stock.

Founded in the early 2000s, Seequent’s software is used for large-scale civil engineering projects, including tunnel construction, groundwater detection, geothermal exploration and underground storage for spent nuclear fuel.

Chief executive Greg Bentley said they "recognize in Seequent’s trajectory an echo of the playbook that made Bentley Systems successful – except they have grown faster."

Bentley said the acquisition was expected to add 10% to its revenue and profit and strengthen the potential of infrastructure digital twins to help "understand and mitigate environmental risks and advance resilience and sustainability".

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, including New Zealand Overseas Investment Act.

The plan is for Seequent to operate as a stand-alone Bentley subsidiary. Graham Grant, its current chief operating officer, will succeed its retiring chief executive Shaun Maloney (pictured).

Maloney commented in the press release: "By ‘leapfrogging ahead’ with Bentley to align geosciences with infrastructure engineering through deeper digital twins, Seequent underscores our conviction that better understanding of the earth creates a better world for all."

Based in Christchurch, Seequent has some 430 staff in 16 offices, serving geologists, hydrogeologists, geophysicists, geotechnical engineers, and civil engineers in over 100 countries.

Its products include Leapfrog, a 3D geological modelling and visualisation application, Geosoft for 3D earth modelling and geoscience data management, and GeoStudio for geotechnical slope stability and deformation modelling.

The deal is expected to be finalised in the second quarter of the year.

Image: Shaun Maloney, Seequent’s retiring chief executive (Seequent)

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