What Can a Billion Dollars Buy? How About the Last Big CFD Company
Kyle Maxey posted on January 27, 2016 |
The last of the big independent CFD companies joins Siemens PLM
Germany’s Siemens makes the first big headline of 2016 with the announcement that it will buy simulation company CD-adapco for a whopping $970M.

Siemens PLM is best known in the CAD world as the maker of enterprise CAD, CAM and CAE software, notably NX and Teamcenter, as well as Solid Edge. Melville, New York’s CD-adapco was the last big independent CFD company. The 900-person-strong CD-adpaco was able to boast a 2015 revenue of $200M and claimed a growth rate of 12 percent year over year for the last three years, according to the joint company press release.

With other CFD companies being scarfed up by CAD and CAE companies with bigger ambitions (Fluent went to ANSYS, Blue Ridge Numerics to Autodesk), CD-adapco was the last of the big independent CFD holdouts. 

With the death of its founder last year, Steve MacDonald, the reins were passed to wife Sharron MacDonald, whose single biggest act of her short tenure was getting Siemens to fork over five times her company’s revenue.

We didn’t see this coming. CD-adapco had been so public in their affection for Dassault Systèmes at last year’s annual user meeting that our Shawn Wasserman came close to suggesting they get a room. (See “What CFD Software Giant Could Join the 3DEXPERIENCE?”)

Had the competition to acquire CD-adapco set off a bidding war between Siemens and Dassault that bumped up the price? We may never know. However, it has come to light that Bernard Charlès, CEO of Dassault, has informed his troops (in a companywide email, according to industry analyst Monica Schnitger) that paying such a ridiculous price can only hurt their competition.

“Simulation software is key to enabling customers to bring better products to the market faster and at less cost,” said Klaus Helmrich, a member of the managing board at Siemens. “With CD-adapco, we’re acquiring an established technology leader that will allow us to supplement our world-class industry software portfolio.”

Siemens PLM was not withoutCFD capability. NX Flow already did CFD for Siemens’ customers and was fully integrated with other NX products, its enterprise CAD application. It remains to be seen how CD-adapco’s offering will be positioned in the Siemens PLM portfolio.

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