Global Investment firm Carlyle (NASDAQ: CG) announced that it has agreed to acquire AutoForm AG (“AutoForm”), the global leader in engineering software for sheet metal forming simulation, primarily used in the automotive industry, from global private equity firm Astorg. Details of the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals, are not being disclosed.
Founded in 1995 and headquartered in Pfäffikon, Switzerland, AutoForm provides software solutions for sheet metal forming simulation and Body in White (BiW) assembly simulation, mainly for the automotive industry. With its innovations for rapid and reliable validation of the BiW design, engineering, manufacturing, and assembly processes, AutoForm is setting the standards in end-to-end software solutions for the automotive industry. Its market-leading product suite is highly valued by its longstanding blue-chip customer base which includes the leading automotive original equipment manufacturer (OEMs) and suppliers. The company employs approximately 400 people – of which 140 in R&D – and is present in more than 50 countries, across EMEA, Asia and the Americas.
Under Astorg’s ownership, the company has transitioned from a founder-led organization to an institutionalized company, with an enlarged focus now covering all critical steps from design to assembly of an automobile’s BiW.
Leveraging its significant experience in scaling technology companies and investing in assets that cater to the automotive industry, Carlyle will support AutoForm in accelerating its growth plan through the development of its existing software platform and through acquisitions, as well as investing in the company’s innovative product suite and commercial operations.
Olivier Leteurtre, CEO of AutoForm, said: “We thank Astorg for the successful partnership and their outstanding involvement in Autoform’s transformation. We are excited to welcome Carlyle as our new partner. Their extensive understanding of the automotive industry and a breadth of experience in scaling vertical software companies will provide significant support to AutoForm’s growth plan, driving the business to consolidate its leading position in sheet metal forming and BiW assembly, globally.”
Benjamin Deshayes, Managing Director leading Technology for the Carlyle Europe Partners advisory team, said: “We have long been attracted to AutoForm’s highly differentiated solutions and continuous performance track record. We believe its deeply rooted culture of innovation through sustained R&D investments is a distinctive attribute that positions the Company very well for future growth. This acquisition underpins our strategic commitment to the European technology sector, and we look forward to partnering with Olivier and the AutoForm team, leveraging our significant expertise and global network.”
Dr. Waldemar Kubli, Founder of AutoForm, said: “Carlyle will be a great partner to support AutoForm in the next phase of its development. I am thankful for the support provided by Astorg and for the role they played in organizing the management transition I wanted for the business and for which I chose them 5 years ago.”
Joël Lacourte, Managing Partner at Astorg and Benoit Ficheur, Partner concluded: “We are proud to have partnered with the AutoForm team, supporting the development and launch of the new BiW assembly solution through a meaningful acceleration of the company’s R&D expenditure, reflecting our long-term shareholder perspective. AutoForm is uniquely positioned to support the automotive industry in the light-weighting and electrification of future cars. Given the quality of the team in place and the clear strategy, we are confident that AutoForm will continue on its strong growth trajectory with the support of their new shareholders”.
Carlyle was advised by Rothschild & Co (M&A) and Linklaters, Lenz & Staehelin and Latham & Watkins (Legal). The sellers were advised by Evercore and Jefferies (M&A) and Paul Hastings (Legal).