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Autodesk buying Norway’s Spacemaker construction AI firm for $240M

Autodesk Inc. (Nasdaq: ADSK) said it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Spacemaker for $240 million net of cash.

The acquisition will provide the San Rafael-based design and manufacturing software maker with a powerful platform to drive modern, user-centric automation — powered by artificial intelligence — and accelerate outcome-based design capabilities for architects, according to the company.

Based in Oslo, Norway, Spacemaker uses cloud-based AI and generative design to help architects, urban designers, and real estate developers make more informed early-stage design decisions faster and enables improved opportunities for sustainability from the start. By evaluating the best options from the outset, Spacemaker is said to help architects maximize their clients’ long-term property investments.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close during Autodesk’s fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, ending Jan. 31, 2021.

"Spacemaker is a lesson in the power of insights and automation, giving designers the ability to create and test urban design ideas in minutes," said Andrew Anagnost, CEO and president of Autodesk, in the announcement Tuesday. "With 2 billion more people expected to call our planet home by 2050, speed of design and sustainability in urban planning must be priorities. Spacemaker technology offers a fundamental shift in how we imagine and build cities to keep people and the planet healthy."

With Spacemaker, design professionals can rapidly create and evaluate options for a building or urban development. With AI as a partner to the architect, the Spacemaker platform enables users to quickly generate, optimize, and iterate on design alternatives, all while considering design criteria and data like terrain, maps, wind, lighting, traffic, zoning, etc. Spacemaker quickly returns design alternatives optimized for the full potential of the site. This leads to better outcomes from the start and allows designers to focus on the creative part of their professional work.

"Four years ago, we set out on a mission to help design, engineering and project teams reinvent the development of more sustainable cities and neighborhoods worldwide while maximizing the investment," said Havard Haukeland, CEO and co-founder of Spacemaker. "Autodesk shares our goal to create a healthier planet for everyone and is uniquely positioned to more rapidly place our product in the hands of planning teams everywhere. This is a proud milestone for our team and those who supported us from the start."

Real estate developers in Norway are at the forefront of the digital transformation in the building sector, said Daniel Kjørberg Siraj, CEO of OBOS, Norway’s largest homebuilder, in the news release on the deal. That results in increased project profitability, and critically, improving the ability to combat climate change with more sustainable real estate developments, he said.

"Game-changers such as Spacemaker are part of the solution, and it is critical to give them the scale that they need in order to be impactful,“ Siraj said. ”As an early investor and adopter, I am incredibly pleased to see Spacemaker joining Autodesk and am looking forward to seeing Norwegian-born technology transform the industry at a global scale."

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