November 13, 2006
Trimble Acquires Meridian for their Construction Site Strategy
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Susan Smith - Managing Editor


by Susan Smith - Managing Editor
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Welcome to AECWeekly! In the past two weeks, publicly-held Trimble has entered into two separate agreements to acquire two companies 1) privately held Meridian Project Systems, Inc. of Folsom, Calif. in an all cash transaction. Meridian Systems provides enterprise project management and lifecycle software for optimizing the plan, build and operate lifecycle for real estate, construction and other physical infrastructure projects. 2) privately-held XYZ Solutions, Inc., of Alpharetta, Georgia, in an all-cash transaction. XYZ Solutions provides real-time, interactive 3D intelligence software to manage the spatial aspects of a construction project. Read about the Meridian acquisition in
this week’s Industry News.


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Industry News


Trimble Acquires Meridian for their Construction Site Strategy

by Susan Smith


In the past two weeks, publicly-held Trimble has entered into two separate agreements to acquire two companies 1) privately held Meridian Project Systems, Inc. of Folsom, Calif. in an all cash transaction. Meridian Systems provides enterprise project management and lifecycle software for optimizing the plan, build and operate lifecycle for real estate, construction and other physical infrastructure projects. 2) privately-held XYZ Solutions, Inc., of Alpharetta, Georgia, in an all-cash transaction. XYZ Solutions provides real-time, interactive 3D intelligence software to manage the spatial aspects of a construction project.


In this article we will focus on the acquisition of Meridian, but the acquisition of both companies shows Trimble’s commitment to the construction industry in a big way. Is this something new? Jim Veneziano, general manager of the Construction Division at Trimble said it’s not. “We’ve been talking about construction site strategy for over 10 years. Over the last six or seven years you can see a lot of the pieces from our acquisitions supporting that. Some were for technology, or domain experience, but all of them support this connected site strategy we've been working on for awhile.


Trimble’s Dimensions Conference is going on this week, and Veneziano said that the conference is dedicated to the connected site.


Prolog, Meridian’s industry leader for project management for the contractor, fits nicely with what Trimble has been doing in construction. “One thing Meridian has not been able to do is get a strong international reach,” noted Veneziano. “Trimble can give them that. They also have Proliance, an enterprise wide solution that allows owners to manage their infrastructure all the way from the design phase to operate phase, so it acts as a glue to manage the entire lifecycle of a construction phase, whether building or highway projects. Right now they focus primarily on buildings, but when we bring that technology in to the highway, we can apply it to all infrastructure.


There are many synergies between the two organizations. As Trimble is very prominent in the heavy highway market, Meridian will be able to sell into that customer base. Trimble’s product offerings include data, devices and positioning field technology which could integrate with Meridian’s products in the future. Approximately 44 percent of Trimble’s revenues come from outside North America, whereas 95 percent of Meridian’s revenues are generated in North America.


Meridian’s president and co/founder John Bodrozic helped start Meridian in 1993. During the span between 1993 and 2000, they launched Prolog Manager for the AEC market. From 2000-2006 were the investment years, and with that capital, Meridian launched the ASP model ProjectTalk and the enterprise application Proliance. Sales and marketing focus increased beyond AEC to include selling directly to owners.


“Now, we really look at the Trimble acquisition as the next phase of Meridian’s lifecycle, trying to take all the assets we’ve developed and grow it on a much bigger, faster scale,” explained Bodrozic.


Will all the staff remain with Meridian throughout this acquisition? “Pretty much,” said Bodrozic. “Trimble’s acquisition model with Meridian is that Meridian will be a fully owned subsidiary of Trimble and we’ll continue to operate under the Meridian systems brand. We’re going to still keep our corporate offices in Folsom, Calif. where we do our sales and marketing, and primary development in Vancouver, British Columbia. All the employees will make the transition. We get the financial backing of a big, publicly held company that is global in nature, we’re going to be reporting up through their engineering and construction group, and we get to
continue to operate under the Meridian brand and move forward with the same vision we had prior to the acquisition."


Sometimes when software companies get acquired, especially if they’re acquired by another software company, there is product overlap between the acquiring company products and the acquired company’s products. “That usually creates some measure of uncertainty for those customers because they’re wondering which product is going to live and what is the acquiring company going to do when they merge these products together? PeopleSoft buys JD Edwards and Oracle buys PeopleSoft, and everyone is wondering what’s going to happen to their investment in products?” Bodrozic said.


Although Meridian and Trimble share some existing customers, there aren’t many. “We don’t have to go through that level of morphing of products,” said Bodrozic. “Under the Trimble umbrella, there is no overlap between Meridian’s products and their products, so the product vision continues for our two key products, Prolog and Proliance, and Trimble wants the vision of both those products to continue as it was prior to the acquisition."


Trimble’s planning and analysis software could ultimately get leveraged with Meridian’s downstream project management software.


Acquisitions/Agreements/Alliances


Sage Software and iLumen announced an agreement to make the iLumen Financial Information Network available to Sage Timberline Office and Sage Master Builder clients. The iLumen Network is the nation's largest online financial benchmarking community for privately-held companies.


Deltek, provider of enterprise management software for project-focused organizations, announced that TRC Companies, Inc., an environmental, engineering and consulting firm providing technical, financial, risk management and construction services nationwide to many industries, has licensed Deltek Vision(R), an enterprise software solution designed specifically to accommodate project-based firms of all sizes. The initial multi-year agreement is valued at nearly $2 million in software and services.


Trimble announced that it has acquired privately-held XYZ Solutions, Inc., of Alpharetta, Georgia, in an all-cash transaction. XYZ Solutions provides real-time, interactive 3D intelligence software to manage the spatial aspects of a construction project. The software transforms data from various sources into actionable information that can be used in the decision making process to reduce rework and improve productivity for engineering and construction professionals. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


Cyon Research announced the sale of two of its highly successful publishing outlets to Tangra Solutions, LLC. CADwire.net, a widely read online resource of news and analysis of CAD technologies and business, and the Targeted Advertising Consortium (TAC), will now be operated by Tangra Solutions, a company founded by Rick Stavanja, CADwire.net’s editor-in-chief and former VP and CTO of Cyon Research.


LaborLogix, the Enterprise Project, Portfolio, and Performance Management enablement software company, announced that it has earned certified technology partner status with Primavera Systems, Inc., the leader in project, resource and portfolio management. This certification assures customers that the extended solution provided by LaborLogix will easily integrate with Primavera solutions to improve business process automation and deliver better results.


Announcements


The BE Careers Network launched the 2007 BE Awards of Excellence student competition. Four winners will receive BE Awards and scholarships during BE Conference 2007, taking place April 29-May 3 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in California. The competition is broken into two categories: college/university and middle school/high school.


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