May 5, 2016 / 11:52 AM / in a year

Swiss industrial design software maker attracts suitors: sources

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - France’s Dassault Systemes (DAST.PA), U.S. software company Autodesk (ADSK.O) and buyout groups such as TA Associates and Permira are in the running to acquire Swiss industrial software group Autoform, people familiar with the matter said.

Autoform, which makes software that helps carmakers to fashion sheet metal into new vehicles, has been put up for sale by its founder in a deal worth up to 600 million Swiss francs ($620 million), the people said.

Bidders who offered less than 15 times Autoform’s expected earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) did not make it to second round of the auction, one of the people said, adding that the remaining suitors are currently checking Autoform’s books and a deal may be signed by June.

Investment banking boutique Altium is acting as sellside adviser, they added.

Autoform was founded in 1995 as a spinoff from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

It operates in a specialized niche of the broader field of industrial design known as “product lifecycle management” (PLM) led by names such as Autodesk, Dassault, PTC (PTC.O) and Siemens (SIEGn.DE).

Siemens said last month that it plans to continue to buy up PLM software firms at a steady clip to beef up its core industrial business.

The German industrial giant agreed in January to buy U.S. engineering software firm CD-adapco for $970 million, the latest in a string of acquisitions of companies by Siemens to help manage products from inception through to service or disposal.

Autoform, Permira, Altium and TA Associates declined to comment, while Dassault Systemes and Autodesk were not immediately available for comment.

Reporting by Arno Schuetze and Oliver Hirt; Additional reporting by Eric Auchard; Editing by Keith Weir

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