A Silicon Valley company bought Portland-based Viewpoint Construction Software for $1.2 billion in cash Monday. It appears to be the biggest deal ever for a Portland tech company.
The buyer is Trimble, which makes technology for the construction, agriculture and transportation markets. The California company reported revenue of $2.7 billion last year and said it expects about $200 million in additional revenue from Viewpoint in 2018.
Viewpoint said its Portland office will remain the center of its operations and the company will “continue to hire aggressively.” Viewpoint said it will operate with a large degree of independence within Trimble and retain its executive team and employees.
“The intent is to continue what we have been doing,” said Viewpoint chief executive Manolis Kotzabasakis. “They see this as the foundation for them to become, by far, the world’s leading construction technology company. And Viewpoint and Portland are going to be at the center of it.”
Privately held Viewpoint employs more than 700, about half of them at its headquarters at the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge. It said it will continue operating under the Viewpoint brand name indefinitely.
Viewpoint’s software helps construction companies and contractors plan and manage large projects, allocating resources, tracking time cards and measuring progress. It has long been among Portland’s largest tech businesses.
Trimble said the Viewpoint deal, and a prior acquisition of another company called e-Builder, gives it an expanded set of technology products for the construction industry.
Founded in 1976, Viewpoint sold a majority stake to private equity firm Bain Capital in 2014 for $230 million. Bain subsequently acquired the rest of the business.
In the ensuing years, Viewpoint bought a major competitor in Seattleand made a series of smaller deals as it sought to bring digital tools to the old-line construction industry.
As recently as January, Viewpoint said Bain was taking a long-term approach to its investment in the Portland company and had no intention to sell. However, Kotzabasakis said Viewpoint had been approached by a number of prospective buyers excited by the construction industry’s growth.
“There’s something amazing that’s happening in construction right now. The investments continue to be mind-boggling,” Kotzabasakis said. He said Bain and Viewpoint chose Trimble because it had a similar vision for the future of construction technology.
Trimble shares climbed 5 percent in after-hours trading, to $37.91, after the company raised its quarterly sales forecast above the $730 million it had projected. Shares have traded between $31.22 and $45.70 in the past year.
Viewpoint’s sale is the second billion-dollar deal for a Portland company in the past week. On Thursday, mining equipment company ESCO Corp. sold to a Scottish rival for $1.3 billion.
Oregon technology, long dominated by hardware companies in Washington County, has shifted over the past decade to favor software companies in and around downtown. Though Viewpoint is more than 40 years old, the company helped lead that transition and enjoyed a sharp uptick in growth over the past decade.
Viewpoint continued expanding during the Great Recession, despite the construction industry’s downturn, and became one of the city’s largest tech employers. Its growth — and its $1.2 billion sale price — reflect Portland’s expanding software scene as well as the nation’s booming construction industry.
The new owner, Trimble, employs 9,500 in 35 countries. It is known for applying GPS technology in a variety of heavy industries.
Trimble said it will incorporate Viewpoint into its buildings and infrastructure business segment, which had revenues of $835 million last year.
“I think it’s very good for Viewpoint and I think it’s very good for Portland,” said Jay Haladay, who bought the Portland company in 1990 and ran it until he retired in 2015.
Joining Trimble will give Viewpoint much broader visibility in the construction industry and better access to a global market, said Haladay, calling from Phuket, Thailand, amid a round-the-world vacation.”It makes a ton of sense,” he said. “I’ve known the Trimble folks for years. The product lines match up well, and I think they’re a good cultural fit.”
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