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Schneider Electric ends deal talks with Bentley Systems

The logo of Schneider Electric is seen outside a company building in Nantes

By Milana Vinn and Mathieu Rosemain

(Reuters) -Schneider Electric said on Wednesday that its talks with U.S. engineering software maker Bentley Systems regarding a potential "strategic transaction" have ended.

"Those discussions are now mutually terminated and no transaction was agreed upon," Schneider said in a statement.

Bentley's shares fell more than 5% on the news, giving the company a market value of $16 billion.

Reuters reported in April that Bentley Systems was exploring its options after attracting acquisition interest, and that Schneider was interested in a deal.

The company had formed a special committee of its board of directors to explore options that included a joint venture or a merger of the company with Schneider's software business, according to people familiar with the negotiations.

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The Bentley family, which controls the company, refused during the talks to support a deal in which it would lose control or transfer too much value of the combined company to Schneider, the sources said.

Bentley, founded in 1984 by brothers Keith and Barry Bentley, provides software for construction and engineering projects including roads, bridges and airports.

The Exton, Pennsylvania-based company has announced a CEO transition. Longtime CEO Greg Bentley said in March he would step down from his role to become executive chairman. Chief Operating Officer Nicholas Cumins will become the new CEO in July.

Schneider, a French industrials giant that competes against the likes of Siemens, has been attempting to grow its software business through acquisitions in recent years. In 2017, Schneider took control of UK-based engineering software firm Aveva Group, and then acquired the rest of the company in 2023.

(Reporting by Olivier Sorgho and Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Christian Schmollinger, Jane Merriman and David Gregorio)