M&A (merger and acquisition) activity continues to happen at a fast rate in the construction industry, with many providers proposing integration and transformation for the space.

One of the most recent announcements comes from Autodesk, which has signed a definitive agreement to acquire PlanGrid for $875 million net of cash, with the intent to enable Autodesk to offer a more comprehensive platform. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close during Autodesk’s fourth quarter of fiscal 2019, ending January 31, 2019.

PlanGrid came onto the scene with its mobile construction-management software back in 2012 and quickly gained a significant marketshare since that time. The technology enables contractors, subs, and owners to work together throughout the construction project lifecycle, accessing project plans, punch lists, project tasks, progress photos, daily field reports, submittals, and more.

Autodesk and PlanGrid have developed complementary integration ecosystems where their customers can connect. The objective of the acquisition is to expand the integration.

It will be interesting to see what happens following this acquisition. Autodesk’s acquisitions have strategically changed how construction uses technology today. Two of the biggest BIM acquisitions by Autodesk have been Vela Systems and Horizontal Glue, which have morphed into BIM 360 Field and BIM 360 Glue, respectively. Today, Autodesk BIM 360 has continued to be a mainstay in many construction companies.

Autodesk is not the first technology provider to make a big push for data sharing through acquisition. Trimble has also acquired a handful of companies in an effort to offer a fully integrated solution for the construction industry. Back in 2006, Trimble was primarily a provider of hardware, and then several acquisitions of software solutions changed that including Meridian Systems, Tekla, SketchUp, Vico Software, Gehry Technology, and e-Builder, just to name a few.

It seems with the acquisition of PlanGrid, Autodesk is taking a similar approach, specifically with its eye on transforming how construction uses technology out at the field. It will be interesting to see what happens next. Undoubtedly, with PlanGrid’s large marketshare, contractors across the country will be impacted by the acquisition in some way.

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