French energy management company Schneider Electric has confirmed that it is in preliminary discussions with US-based Bentley Systems regarding a potential transaction.

Schneider in its statement said: “As part of its continuous exploration of opportunities in furtherance of its One Software strategy, it has been holding discussions with Bentley Systems with regards to a potential strategic transaction.

“Discussions remain at a preliminary stage regarding a potential transaction, and there is no certainty that any transaction will be agreed upon. No further comment will be made until an update is warranted,” the statement read.

Bentley Systems, led by the Bentley family, is a software specialist with a market value of nearly $16bn.

The company offers infrastructure engineering software for the design, construction and operation of roads and bridges, rail and transit, water and wastewater, public works and utilities, buildings and campuses, mining and industrial facilities.

Founded in 1984, the company reported annual revenues of $1.23bn for 2023, an 11.8% increase from 2022. It posted a net profit of $327m for the year.

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The nature of the potential deal has not been disclosed.

However, citing sources familiar with the matter the Wall Street Journal reported that the discussions could involve merging Schneider’s software business with Bentley.

If a full takeover occurs at current valuations, it would be one of the top ten US acquisitions by a French company, according to Dealogic.

Schneider Electric, known for its energy management equipment, has been expanding its software division through acquisitions.

Schneider Electric, with a market value of around $127bn (€119.21bn), earned revenues of around $38.7bn and a net profit of $4.26bn last year.

Its Software & Services business unit, which saw a 17% organic revenue increase in the fourth quarter, represents 19% of its annual revenues.