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Autodesk to buy Softdesk

Autodesk plans to acquire Softdesk, one of its largest independent software developers, in a $72 million stock transaction.

Autodesk (ADSK) today announced plans to acquire Softdesk (SDSK) in a $72 million stock transaction.

Softdesk, one of Autodesk's largest independent software developers, produces architecture, engineering, and construction application software. Its operations will be added to Autodesk's AEC market group and remain in New Hampshire, and the division will be managed by former Softdesk chief executive David Arnold.

The merger is designed to accelerate Autodesk's software delivery and bring more technology development in-house, said Carol Bartz, chairwomman and chief executive of the multimedia tools and design software supplier

"This merger is the right move at the right time," Bartz said in a statement. "We are acquiring foundation technology to facilitate development of more products sooner for our customers and [independent software developers], and at the same time positioning ourselves for long-term growth."

The move may bode well for Autodesk's financial performance. The company reported a 69.4 percent drop in third-quarter profits to $5.9 million for the period ending October 31, compared with last year. Profits fell as the company's revenues dropped 9.2 percent to $116.6 million for the quarter over last year.

Under the merger agreement, Autodesk will issue 0.44 shares of common stock for each outstanding share of Softdesk. The transaction is valued at $12 a share for Softdesk shareholders.

Softdesk, which announced the news after the market's close, finished the day at 9-3/4, up 1/2 a point. Autodesk shares fell to 26-5/8, down 5/8 of a point.

The merger is expected to close during the first quarter of Autodesk's fiscal year, resulting in a one-time charge between $10 million to $12 million.