French tech giant Dassault is nearing deal to buy health software company Medidata

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Bernard Charles, chief executive officer of Dassault Systemes SA.

Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

French technology company Dassault Systèmes is nearing a deal to acquire Medidata Solutions, according to people familiar with the matter.

The likely agreement was reported earlier by Bloomberg, which also published a story in April saying the companies were in talks. Neither company responded to CNBC’s request for comment.

Medidata’s software is used to help clinics manage their back office operations and their data, and it provides analytics tools so they can make sense of massive amounts of information. Medical device companies also use it to track the process of their clinical trials.

“Medidata has always been an extremely well run company and a juggernaut in their space,” said Bijan Salehizadeh, a medical technology investor at NaviMed Capital. “It’s an A-plus asset.”

The expected deal comes as the M&A market picks up for fast-growth software companies. Google acquired data analytics company Looker last week for $2.6 billion, and Salesforce followed on Monday with its biggest deal ever — the $15.3 billion purchase of Tableau Software.

Medidata, which competes with health software from vendors like IBM, Oracle and Veeva, was founded in 1999 and went public ten years later. Revenue increased 17% last year to $635.7 million and the company reported net income of $51.9 million. It currently has a market value of $5.9 billion, and the stock has climbed 17% in the past year. It gained an additional 6% after hours on the deal news.

Dassault sells software to transportation, aerospace and life sciences companies to help them digitize their businesses. Its 3D design tools help businesses with virtual product designs and enable digital simulation in product development. With Medidata, Dassault can add growth without sacrificing profitability while also expanding in the lucrative medical market.

“It’s about the diversification of their business,” said Matthew Holt, managing director at private equity firm New Mountain Capital. “They understand regulated markets already, so life sciences wouldn’t spook them.”

— Ari Levy contributed to this report