Engineering, Products & Technology, Research & Development

Bentley acquires kiwi software modelling company

reality modelling

The acquisition of Seequent is expected to prove a boon to Bentley’s financial fundamentals.

INFRASTRUCTURE engineering software company Bentley System recently announced it had entered into a definitive agreement with investors to acquire the Seequent business.

Seequent is a leader in software for geological and geophysical modelling, geotechnical stability, and cloud services for geodata management, visibility, and collaboration—for $900 million in cash, subject to adjustment, plus 3,141,361 BSY Class B shares.

The deal was backed by US private equity business, Accel-KKR.

The acquisition of Seequent is expected to initially add about 10% to each of Bentley Systems’ key financial metrics.

Most significantly, the combination is expected to deepen the potential of infrastructure digital twins to help understand and mitigate environmental risks, advancing resilience and sustainability.

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

Upon closing, Seequent is to operate as a stand-alone Bentley subsidiary, with Seequent’s current chief operating officer Graham Grant, succeeding its retiring CEO Shaun Maloney, reporting to Bentley’s chief product officer Nicholas Cumins.

Seequent, founded and headquartered in Christchurch, New Zealand, has more than 430 colleagues in 16 offices, serving geologists, hydrogeologists, geophysicists, geotechnical engineers, and civil engineers in over 100 countries, and the world’s top mining companies.

Its established presence in mineral-intensive geographies such as South America and southern Africa is expected to accelerate Bentley’s overall opportunities in these regions with significant infrastructure requirements.

In turn, Bentley’s established presence in China, and its mainstay reach across civil engineering sectors, is expected to accelerate Seequent’s expansion in new markets.

Seequent’s products include Leapfrog, its leading product for 3D geological modelling and visualisation, Geosoft for 3D earth modelling and geoscience data management, and GeoStudio for geotechnical slope stability and deformation modelling.

Bentley’s complementary geotechnical engineering software portfolio, including PLAXIS, gINT, and OpenGround, will be integrated in due course to support open digital workflows from borehole and drillhole data to geological models and geotechnical analysis applications.

The integration of Bentley’s and Seequent’s solutions, for deeper infrastructure digital twins, can contribute a multiplied “ESG handprint” to improve the world’s environment while improving the world’s economies.

Bentley’s chief executive Greg Bentley said they were “very confident about Seequent’s contribution to our shared future not only because of our product synergies, but because we recognise in Seequent’s trajectory an echo of the playbook that made Bentley Systems successful—except they have grown faster”.

“They have made farsighted decisions to benefit the future at every stage: identifying and then laser-focusing on the 3D ‘vertical’ opportunity in earth modelling, institutionalising a subscription commercial model from the outset, directly populating the appropriate global markets, acquiring and consolidating the best software for adjacent disciplines, and bringing it all together with cloud services, ready for digital twins advancement together,” Greg Bentley said.

“I can think of no greater compliment than our determination to leave intact Seequent, as a Bentley company, entrusting its management with greater responsibilities to continue their dynamic momentum. I congratulate retiring CEO Shaun Maloney on the quality of the business and the team he has developed, and we will warmly welcome his established successor Graham Grant, and all Seequent colleagues, to our shared values and endeavours in advancing infrastructure.”

Tom Barnds, co-managing partner at Accel-KKR and Seequent board member, said they had been looking forward to Seequent’s IPO this year, but were so convinced of the logic of this combination “that we are glad to anticipate instead becoming BSY shareholders”.

“The Seequent board congratulates and thanks Shaun Maloney for his long service and remarkably consistent success in growing this great business, its great management team, and this great outcome for Seequent investors and colleagues,” Barnds said.

Shaun Maloney, chief executive officer of Seequent, said that by “leapfrogging ahead’ with Bentley to align geosciences with infrastructure engineering through deeper digital twins, Seequent underscored their conviction that better understanding of the earth creates a better world for all.

“For my Seequent colleagues, I am confident that the future is in safe hands with like-minded Bentley Systems and our COO Graham Grant, so this presents a timely moment for me to announce my planned retirement. For all, our new larger scope presents a great opportunity for shared advancement,” Maloney said.

Bentley’s CFO David Hollister said the transaction was expected to close in the second quarter.

“We expect Seequent to contribute in excess of $80 million to our ARR during this year,” he said.