GE Continues Shopping Spree With $495 Million Software Purchase

  • Meridium applications monitor equipment to prevent breakdowns
  • Deal furthers industrial giant’s goal to expand digital unit

General Electric Co. agreed to acquire software developer Meridium Inc. to help the industrial giant build its digital division.

Meridium’s focus on asset performance management will boost GE’s ability to monitor and maintain heavy-duty machinery, Boston-based GE said Wednesday in a statement. The deal, including a 26 percent stake GE took in 2014, is valued at $495 million.

“It enhances our asset performance-management capabilities, not only from a technical perspective, but from a footprint perspective across the globe,” Kate Johnson, chief commercial officer for GE Digital, said in a telephone interview. Meridium’s products are licensed for use at 1,200 locations in 80 countries, she said. “Meridium fits very nicely into the portfolio.”

The move is the latest in a string of small deals in recent weeks for GE, including the Aug. 30 purchase of supply-chain software provider ShipXpress Inc. and offers last week for two 3D printing companies. The Meridium agreement marks the first transaction by GE Digital, which was formed last year.

GE is looking to fill gaps and bolster operations as the company reorients around industrial manufacturing and complementary software. Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt has sold most of the finance and consumer-focused businesses while completing GE’s largest-ever acquisition, a $10 billion deal for Alstom SA’s energy unit, last year.

Chemicals, Mining

Closely held Meridium, based in Roanoke, Virginia, specializes in software that monitors equipment data to evaluate performance and prevent the assets from breaking down unexpectedly. The company, which has about 430 employees, serves industries such as chemicals, oil and gas, power and mining.

For more on GE’s digital makeover, click here.

GE Digital is the centerpiece of a push to develop an industry-leading software business. The company has developed its Predix operating system to help run industrial equipment more reliably and efficiently.

GE has said its digital sales could exceed $6 billion this year and it aims to increase that to $15 billion by 2020.

“We see a path to get there organically based on our industrial installed base, but we want to make acquisitions really carefully and intelligently,” Johnson said. “You will see more acquisitions, but they will be very thoughtful and it will be very easy to understand how they fit into our portfolio.”

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