Dassault Systemes Offers $750 Million to Acquire Accelrys

Dassault Systemes SA, a French developer of 3D design software, agreed to buy U.S. competitor Accelrys Inc. for about $750 million to expand its offering in molecular chemistry and life sciences.

Dassault Systemes will make a tender offer for all of Accelrys shares at $12.50 apiece in cash and plans to complete the acquisition in the second quarter, subject to approval by a majority of Accelrys shareholders, the Paris-based company said in a statement today. That’s 29 percent higher than Accelrys’s closing price yesterday of $9.72.

Software makers are trying to better tailor their products to individual industries to grab a larger share of the expanding market for business applications. The merger will strengthen Dassault Systemes’ offering of scientific product-life cycle management in areas such as molecular chemistry, packaged consumer goods and energy, Chief Executive Officer Bernard Charles said in the statement.

Accelrys, which is based in San Diego, serves about 2,000 customers including Sanofi, Pfizer Inc., BASF SE, Unilever NV and L’Oreal SA. Dassault Systemes works with 170,000 customers in 140 countries, including Benetton Group SpA.

Dassault Systems rose as much as 2.3 percent to 90.35 euros, the highest intraday price since Jan. 6, and was trading up 0.9 percent at 89.12 euros as of 10:17 a.m. in Paris, valuing the manufacturer at 11.3 billion euros ($15.4 billion).

In 2010, the French company paid about $600 million for part of International Business Machines Corp.’s sales and customer support unit. It’s scheduled this month to complete a full takeover of Munich-based Realtime Technology AG.