Oracle has agreed a $1.19 billion deal to acquire Australian construction industry cloud collaboration and management tool company Aconex.
Oracle claimed that the acquisition would help make the "world's most comprehensive cloud offering for managing all aspects of construction projects", combining the planning and scheduling tools already offered by Oracle with the project delivery tools of Aconex.
Leigh Jasper, Aconex co-founder and CEO described the deal as a "natural fit and highly complementary in terms of vision, product, people and geography".
Aconex claims that its tools have been used in more than $1 trillion in capital projects across 70,000 organisations in more than 70 countries. In particular, the company's web-based project management tools have been used on the Panama Canal Extension project. Big-name users include Aecom and Arup.
Jasper was keen to reassure customers. In a letter, he wrote that Oracle would protect and enhance their investments in Aconex's software. "We expect that Oracle's continued investment in Aconex will deliver more functionality and capabilities at a quicker pace, as well as provide better integration and alignment with Oracle's other product offerings," he added.
The transaction will close in the first half of 2018, subject to formal Aconex shareholder approval.
While the construction industry has traditionally been regarded as something of an IT backwater, developments such as building information management (BIM) systems and the internet of things, in which connected devices are built-in in order to feed back information to building managers, has increased the adoption of technology across the industry.
Aconex was founded in 2000 to provide collaboration and procurement management services to the construction industry, expanding into the UK market in 2004.
The company took private equity investment in 2008 and expanded into cloud and online services in 2011 with the launch of an online bidding network, BidContender. This was followed up with mobile applications for accessing the company's online collaboration platform.
Oracle, meanwhile, expanded into the cloud relatively late, but has made up for its tardiness with a series of acquisitions, most notably its $9.3 billion purchase of NetSuite in July 2016.
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