Siemens is sitting on a huge pile of cash — what’s it going to spend it on? According to a Bloomberg article that ran over the weekend, the German engineering and power giant’s acquisition targets could include big U.S. smart meter maker Itron, among other potential smart grid buys. According to Bloomberg’s calculations, Siemens has the second-biggest cash reserves of any major corporation, with 18.5 billion euros ($27 billion), double its stash from three years ago. Siemens has made some smaller acquisitions, such as air conditioning automation company Site Controls. But it hasn’t participated yet in some of the billion-dollar acquisitions coming from its competitors in the smart grid space. France’s Schneider Electric has been buying tons of smart grid companies, most recently pledging to spend $2 billion to pick up smart grid software player Telvent — a move that tracks fellow grid giant ABB’s $1 billion pickup of grid software vendor Ventyx last year. General Electric has agreed to spend $3.2 billion to buy power conversion and automation company Converteam, and has been strategically investing in data center management and building automation companies. As for smart meters, Toshiba’s $2.3 billion purchase of Swiss metering giant Landis+Gyr has given the staid world of meter-making a new boost. Itron is publicly traded, so a move to buy Itron would be much more public than the behind-the-scenes bidding for the privately-held L+G. I’m curious to see what develops.
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