Schneider's $268M Acquisition of Summit Energy Tightens EECA Market

[Editor's Note: This page was updated on April 1, 2011, to correct the reference to Oracle's recent acquisition of select intellectual property assets of Ndevr environmental reporting. Oracle did not purchase the entire company.]

Such standing made Summit, and other firms like it, attractive to larger companies, such as Schneider. Transactions, like the ones announced this week, are expected to become a growing pattern.

Baier pointed to other notable acquisitions in the past six months of smaller, nimble and relatively young firms -- or some of their key assets -- by larger, well-established, big-name organizations. They include, he said, EnerNOC's purchase of M2M Communications, a wireless technology provider of energy management systems, and Global Energy Partners, a leader in designing energy demand response programs; Seimens' acquisition of Site Controls, an energy management software company; Johnson Controls' purchase of demand response specialist, EnergyConnect; and Oracle’s purchase of intellectual property assets from Ndevr for environmental reporting software.

"Look for these large companies -- as well as others like Honeywell, Ingersoll Rand and Rockwell -- to make more acquisitions," Baier said. "Smaller firms that could be acquisition targets include Pace Global, Entech, ENXSuite, Hara and World Energy. With energy prices beginning to rise and senior management teams much more aware of the energy savings opportunity in their organizations, large corporations are demanding broader and more sophisticated energy management solutions."

Interestingly, the transaction announced yesterday echoes transformation strategy pursued by Schneider Electric executives across the company's 170-year history. Brothers Adolphe and Eugne Schneider started their business in 1836 by acquiring mines, forges and foundries, positioning their firm as a force in armaments as well as the Industrial Revolution.

The company was quick to explore possibilites of electricity and by the second decade of the last century, the company was shedding its interest in the weapons industry and focusing on construction, iron, steel and electricity. Now in the second decade of the 21st century, Schneider is working to solidify a position as a power player in end-to-end energy and sustainability solutions for the built environment.

Schneider execs talked to editors about the latest permutations in the company's transformation strategy last fall. And in presentations at the State of Green Business forum in Chicago and Washington, D.C., company executives joined others in invitation-only discussions on how to ratchet up the efficiency, intelligence and connectivity of buildings and the energy that powers them.

Thus far, strategic partnerships -- such as Schneider's collaboration with IBM and others on specific projects -- have had a more prominent role in Schneider's business moves than acquisitions. In January 2010, Schneider announced that it and power generation and infrastructure firm Alstom would jointly acquire the transmissions and distribution business of Areva, the French multinational industrial conglomerate Areva, which is chiefly known for its work in nuclear power. That transaction closed in June.

Image courtesy of Schneider Electric.

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