(Bloomberg) -- Schneider Electric SE and Emerson Electric Co. are among manufacturing companies considering multibillion-dollar offers for industrial software maker OSIsoft LLC, according to people familiar with the matter.
OSIsoft founder J. Patrick Kennedy and minority owner SoftBank Group Corp. are working with advisers on a potential sale of the whole company, which could fetch more than $4 billion, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.
Next-round bids are due in July and the business could attract interest from other industrial companies as well as technology firms, the people said. Deliberations may not lead to a transaction and Schneider and Emerson may decide against making formal offers, the people said.
The world’s biggest industrial companies, including France’s Schneider, Emerson of the U.S. and Germany’s Siemens AG, are competing to acquire technology companies as they shift their focus to software and automation from machinery. Schneider, for example, agreed to buy RIB Software SE earlier this year and U.K. industrial software business Aveva Group Plc in 2017, and said it could do further such deals.
Representatives for OSIsoft, Schneider, Emerson and SoftBank declined to comment. Kennedy declined to comment.
Last month, Bloomberg News reported SoftBank was looking to sell its stake in the company, which is held by its Vision Fund. The move is part of SoftBank’s new focus on raising cash, people familiar with the matter said. The potential stake sale ended up attracting offers for the entire company, the people added.
San Leandro, California-based OSIsoft was founded in 1980 by Chief Executive Officer Kennedy, a research engineer, and was formerly called Oil Systems, Inc. It sells software for use in sectors including oil and gas, utilities, manufacturing and pharmaceutical development, according to its website.
While Kennedy controls the company, SoftBank acquired a “significant minority stake” in 2017 from venture capital backers including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and TCV, according to a statement.
SoftBank’s investment was worth a bit less than $1 billion, a person familiar with the matter said at the time. Japan’s Mitsui & Co. is also a minority investor, according to PitchBook.
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