Funny how things go. I recently sat in my favorite local direct trade coffee house, maybe under the influence of caffeine, contemplating industrial software and MES market. The market is ripe for further consolidation, I thought. I rested in that thought for a while, then let it go. Later I was contemplating Rockwell Automation’s software situation recognizing its move partnering with PTC ThingWorx for IoT, but how it probably needed to make a move to build momentum for its manufacturing software (MES).
This morning I do a quick scan of LinkedIn and spot this press release. This is a good move. I had some in-depth interviews with Plex within the past couple of years. Good company and good idea, but I didn’t see how it was ever going to really grow.
I think Rockwell’s new software executive team should do well with this acquisition. (And as an independent blogger/analyst guy, I’m not paid to say that.)
Rockwell Automation, the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and digital transformation, and Plex Systems, the leading cloud-native smart manufacturing platform operating at scale, today announced that Rockwell has entered into an agreement to acquire Plex for $2.22 billion in cash.
Plex offers the only single-instance, multi-tenant SaaS manufacturing platform operating at scale, including advanced manufacturing execution systems, quality, and supply chain management capabilities. It has over 700 customers and manages more than 8 billion transactions per day. Plex’s software capabilities will be further differentiated by Rockwell’s global market access, complementary industry expertise, and ability to turn real-time data into actionable insights.
“This acquisition will accelerate our strategy to bring the Connected Enterprise to life, driving faster time to value for our customers as they increasingly adopt cloud solutions to improve resilience, agility, and sustainability in their operations,” said Blake Moret, Chairman and CEO of Rockwell Automation. “Combining Plex’s cutting-edge cloud technology with Rockwell’s existing software portfolio and domain expertise will add customer value and create more ways to win. The acquisition will also accelerate our software revenue growth and strengthen our annual recurring revenue streams.”
A growing dilemma for manufacturers is the urgent need to increase production and improve resilience, while driving efficiency and compliance. Companies are increasingly seeking to upgrade their production systems with modern, cloud-based manufacturing execution systems that are easy to implement, use, and maintain. Plex’s platform helps customers to connect, automate, track, and analyze their operations and connected supply chains.
“Rockwell believes in the power of data and technology to transform manufacturing and industrial operations,” said Brian Shepherd, senior vice president, Software and Control, for Rockwell Automation. “Together with the advanced asset maintenance and management capabilities provided by our recent Fiix acquisition, Rockwell will have a strong portfolio of cloud-native solutions for our customers’ production systems upon completion of the Plex acquisition.”
“Plex has always been more than a company,” said Bill Berutti, CEO of Plex. “We have been a leader in the movement to smart manufacturing and a trusted partner to more than 700 manufacturing companies around the globe. Joining forces with Rockwell is great for our customers, our partners, and our employees as we move to expand our reach and impact and accelerate our mission to bring manufacturing to the cloud.”
Plex will be reported as part of Rockwell’s Software and Control operating segment which provides leading hardware and software offerings for the design, operation, and maintenance of production automation and management systems. As a part of the acquisition, Rockwell will welcome more than 500 highly engaged new employees.
The acquisition will be financed with a combination of cash and short-term and long-term debt. Subject to customary closing conditions and completion of regulatory review, the acquisition is expected to close in Rockwell’s fiscal fourth quarter.