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8 August, 2020 - 13:57 By Tony Quested

Cambridge to SoftBank’s rescue again as AVEVA eyes $5bn+ deal

A second A-list Cambridge technology company could be set to help Japanese business SoftBank counter its crippling cash crisis.

With Nvidia in advanced talks to buy Arm, Cambridge UK industrial software specialist AVEVA is pursuing a potential $5 billion-plus acquisition of SoftBank-backed software company OSIsoft.

AVEVA, which has a market cap of $7.28bn, confirms it has entered talks with California-based OSIsoft about an acquisition. In typical market speak it added that there could be no certainty the talks would lead to a deal.

SoftBank three years ago bought a minority investment in OSIsoft, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

OSIsoft delivers an open enterprise infrastructure, the PI System™, to connect sensor-based data, systems and people. It claims the result is real-time, actionable insights that empower companies to optimise and transform their business. Merck and other global players use its technology.

AVEVA, which reversed into French giant Schneider Electric, provides software to a vast range of international markets including chemicals, food and Beverage, infrastructure, Life Sciences, marine, mining, oil & gas, power and utilities.

If AVEVA does buy OSIsoft it will further boost the confidence of SoftBank shareholders. Confidence has been restored by news that Arm is up for sale and that Nvidia is among the suitors. 

Nvidia will cover the $32bn SoftBank paid for the superchip architect in 2016 and then some; market watchers say it can afford to go up to $50bn to take Arm out of reach of competing bidders.

As a result of those talks, other moves and now the possible AVEVA deal, SoftBank has gone from despair and record losses in May to its highest share price for 20 years. If the two Cambridge-centric deals fall flat, however, it could spell a return to the doldrums.

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