California-based Oracle Corp. on Dec. 17 announced that it has entered into an agreement to buy Melbourne, Australia-based Aconex Ltd., a company that offers a cloud-based system for managing construction-team collaboration, for $7.80 per share in cash. The transaction is estimated at $1.2 billion.
Aconex’s board of directors gave unanimous approval. Pending a thumbs-up from shareholders and regulatory approval, Aconex will become a part of Oracle’s Construction and Engineering Global Business Unit.
In a letter to shareholders, Leigh Jasper, co-founder and CEO of Aconex, wrote, “We expect that Oracle’s continued investment in Aconex will deliver more functionality and capabilities at a quicker pace, as well as provide better integration and alignment with Oracle’s other product offerings.” The deal should close by mid-2018, but, until it does, “it’s business as usual,” Jasper told customers.
An Aconex release on the offer says the company’s collaboration system connects owners, builders and other team participants to provide better project insight and management of data, documents and costs across a project’s life cycle. Aconex claims it has been used on more than $1 trillion in capital projects across 70,000 organizations in more than 70 countries.
Oracle’s cloud computing and software-as-a-service delivery system has applications for planning, scheduling and delivering large-scale projects as well as for overall management of enterprise resources, supply chains and “customer experience.” Oracle supports its database platform-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service models from data centers throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia.
“The Aconex and Oracle businesses are a great, natural fit and highly complementary in terms of vision, product, people and geography,” said Jasper.
Mike Sicilia, senior vice president and general manager of Oracle’s construction and engineering unit, said in the announcement, “With the addition of Aconex, we significantly advance our vision of offering the most comprehensive cloud-based project management solution for this $14-trillion industry.”
In late October, Aconex revealed that a team of eight veterans of Oracle’s engineering and construction unit had jumped to Aconex, led by Garrett Harley, who had been director of Oracle’s engineering and construction strategy for more than five years. Harley is now Aconex vice president of strategic accounts for the building sector.
“These investments signal in pretty substantial ways where [Oracle’s] interest and potential investments are likely to go,” says Harley. “If I were an E&C company, I would view this in a pretty positive way. [Oracle is] keeping track of where bright minds have gone and where the industry ultimately needs to be moving to. That’s what those of us who moved to Aconex saw as valuable. What you are seeing is Oracle validating that thinking.”