ETH-spin-off Autoform sold for CHF 1.8 billion

Originally founded in 1995 as an ETH spin-off, Autoform has developed into one of the leading software providers in the automotive industry. An American investment company has now acquired the Swiss company for a record price.
With the help of Autoform's software products, large car manufacturers simulate the forming of sheet metal parts. (Symbolic picture: Shutterstock)

Last Wednesday, Swiss industrial software specialist Autoform AG announced it had been bought by the Carlyle Group, a US investment company. Mechanical engineer Waldemar Kubli founded the company as an ETH spin-off in 1995 on the basis of his doctoral thesis; he is still a member of the Executive Board.

Autoform was most recently owned by the French private equity firm Astorg Partners, which bought a majority stake in 2016. Carlyle has not disclosed the acquisition price, but according to the US media, it likely amounts to USD 2 billion, which is around CHF 1.8 billion.

Autoform describes itself as “the global leader in software for the automotive industry”. The company sells software solutions for the entire production chain. Computer programs help to ensure product manufacturability, calculate equipment and material costs, and simulate production steps such as sheet metal forming and tool design.

Its customers include major car manufacturers such as BMW, VW, GM and Tesla, as well as their suppliers. Around 26 years after it was founded at ETH, Autoform now employs about 400 people in more than 50 countries in Europe, North America and Asia.