Bentley sets price for IPO yet Siemens is still lurking

UPDATE: On September 22, 2020 Bentley raised the initial price of its forthcoming IPO to $19-$21/share, up from an initial price estimate of $17-$19/share.

Bentley Systems (BSY), provider of construction and infrastructure software, raises its IPO price range from $17-19/share to $19-21/share.

Infrastructure design and operations software vendor Bentley Systems has set the price for its proposed Initial Public Offering (IPO) of public stock. Yet Siemens Digital Industries remains a possible option to provide an infusion of cash without Bentley closing the IPO — or to acquire Bentley outright. 

Bentley told the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it intends to price its stock between $17 and $19 per share. The shares will be “Class B,” which means they are a second-class stock with limited shareholder voting privileges. Class B shares will carry one vote, while existing Class A shares — held by company principals and investors carry 29 votes each. Under the terms of the submitted IPO, Class A shares may be converted to Class B at any time on a 1-to-1 basis. 

The proposal says there will be 261.2 million shares available after the IPO. At the suggested initial price, Bentley would carry a total valuation of $4.96 billion. Compare this with the current valuation of its two largest rivals. On the date of this article, Autodesk is valued at $52.55 billion; Trimble is valued at $12.95 billion. 

Bentley has been sharing selected financial data in recent years. For the six months ending June 30, 2020 Bentley recorded a net loss of $6.99 million on total revenue of $378.9 million. For the six-month period a year ago, Bentley reported a loss of $1.75 million on revenue of $347.14 million. 

The Siemens angle 

It was only a week ago that financial and technical media outlets were reporting on the latest between Bentley and Siemens Digital Industries. Siemens already holds a 14% stake in Bentley and has invested $118 million into joint ventures. Bloomberg reported in late August that Siemens is still pondering an outright acquisition. 

Consilia Vektor comments 

Bentley’s IPO story is the tech equivalent of Runaway Bride. This will be the third time they have approached the IPO alder. The first time ended with CEO Greg Bentley refusing to submit to what he saw as a “hostile” IPO market in 2002. The second IPO flirtation ended with the initial Siemens deal in 2015. Don’t hold your breath the third time will be the charm. 

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