By Shawn Wasserman
Engineers using both Ansys and Synopsys tools can expect big changes, but when?
Disclaimer: Shawn Wasserman is a former employee of Ansys and holds minor stocks in the organization. He has no inside knowledge of the Ansys/Synopsys acquisition. All statements not in line with public knowledge are speculation or opinion.
Frequent followers of Ansys will know that the simulation giant tends to expand its portfolio by acquiring companies to fill its technology gaps. At least once a year since 2000, Ansys has acquired and/or announced a major technology-sharing partnership with another company.
Today, however, the script has been flipped. Ansys has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Synopsys, the well-known provider of electric design automation (EDA) software.
Though predicted last week by Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance, not much has been said about how the acquisition will affect the daily lives of engineers. By reading between the lines of the release and investor presentation, here is what I have learned.
A payday for engineers with a sense for investing
Engineers are practical people, so when it’s time to invest many will naturally put money into technologies that impress them—including the ones they use day to day. So, it’s fair to say that many in the engineering community, like me, own Ansys stock. These individuals will be happy to know that the current agreement promises $197 in cash and 0.3450 shares of Synopsys common stock for each share of Ansys—a total compensation of about $390 per Ansys share. This represents a total sale price of about $35 billion to absorb Ansys into Synopsys.
Why is this deal happening now?
No one pays that much money unless they have some plans in the works. So, besides a payday, how can engineers expect to benefit from this deal? By better understanding why the acquisition is happening, engineers can better answer this question. The trends towards electrification, smart devices, AI, and larger computational resources, are all cited as major factors bringing Ansys and Synopsys together. All these trends will lead to more complex products and complicated development. In essence, everything will become more complex as mechanical and electrical tools combine in more innovative ways.
“The megatrends of AI, silicon proliferation, and software-defined systems are requiring more compute performance and efficiency in the face of growing, systemic complexity,” said Sassine Ghazi, President and CEO of Synopsys in a release. “Bringing together Synopsys’ industry-leading EDA solutions with Ansys’ world-class simulation and analysis capabilities will enable us to deliver a holistic, powerful, and seamlessly integrated silicon-to-systems approach to innovation to help maximize the capabilities of technology R&D teams across a broad range of industries. This is the logical next step for our successful, seven-year partnership with Ansys and I look forward to working closely with Ajei and the talented Ansys team to realize the benefits of this combination for our customers, shareholders, and employees.”
In other words, to optimize the mechanical and electrical systems of future products and designs, engineers need tools that can assess these systems holistically and simultaneously. By bringing their technologies together, Ansys and Synopsys can better produce these tools.
What engineers should expect from the Ansys Synopsys deal
Things won’t change immediately, so engineers will have time to adjust. First off, the deal isn’t even expected to be finalized until H1 of 2025. So, users of both Ansys and Synopsys shouldn’t expect software or licensing changes until late 2025 at the absolute earliest. This is because any significant changes to the companies’ offerings will require substantial planning and development—despite the current partnership between the companies.
Hence, from a user perspective, it should be business as usual for the near future. This is further evidenced by that fact that Ansys’ president and CEO, Ajei Gopal, is implied to continue in his role based on the above comment by Ghazi, and Gopal’s participation in the acquisition.
“For more than 50 years, Ansys has enabled customers to design, develop, and deliver cutting-edge products that are limited only by imagination,” said Gopal. “By joining forces with Synopsys, we will amplify our joint efforts to drive new levels of customer innovation. This transformative combination brings together each company’s highly complementary capabilities to meet the evolving needs of today’s engineers and give them unprecedented insight into the performance of their products.”
If any part of the offerings of Ansys and Synopsys were to change soon, however, then it would likely be those that sprung up from the partnership between the companies. Currently, the duo offers engineers multiphysics design tools for the development of products from chips and systems via Ansys RedHawk-SC and Synopsys’ Fusion Compiler, 3DIC Compiler, and PrimeTime signoff Platforms. The linking of these tools helps engineers find design weaknesses early, perform in-design analysis, optimize voltage timing, ensure thermal reliability, and perform final sign-off on advanced SoCs, 2.5D, and 3DIC. The partnership has also enabled the addition of AI-powered EDA functionality to produce results and develop designs faster.
For a use case example, an engineer can use Ansys RedHawk-SC Electrothermal analysis to assess the electrical and thermal interactions of a 2.5D or 3DIC system. Synopsys’ 3DIC Compiler can then assess system integrations and end-to-end heterogeneous implementations for 2.5 or 3DIC multi-die and multi-node designs. In other words, engineers can perform multiphysics signoff all the way down to the transistor level and all the way up to a full system analysis.
“Power and thermal analysis of an individual die in isolation is no longer sufficient in a multi-die environment,” said John Lee, vice president, and general manager at Ansys, on the partnership webpage. “Through our integration with Synopsys’ 3DIC Complier, designers can better optimize their overall system solution for signal integrity, power integrity as well as thermal integrity, while achieving faster convergence during signoff.”
What the future holds for engineers using Ansys and Synopsys technologies
In the documentation shared with engineering.com, it is mentioned that “the vast majority of Synopsys Fusion Compiler users incorporate Ansys technology.” So, if engineers can, and already do, use Ansys and Synopsys tools to assess a design from transistor to system then why go through the acquisition? Wasn’t that the stated goal of bringing the companies together?
Linking software together is one thing; marrying them into a cohesive, unified workflow and experience is another thing entirely. And doing so opens big opportunities for both Ansys, Synopsys, and their users.
To really link these technologies together, developers need to get deep into the weeds of how the tools, user interfaces, and systems operate. This isn’t a job for simple API’s between two companies to promote cross-pollination of customers. It’s about getting into the heart of the code and IP to ensure that when a user uses Synopsys Fusion Compiler, they are guaranteed to move onto Ansys Mechanical as the transition becomes almost automatic. This requires the companies to work as one.
By bringing enough of these tools together in this fashion, design teams may start to drop legacy systems for one cohesive, set-it-up-and-forget-it workflow. If this sounds familiar, it should, as it’s the direction that Autodesk, Siemens, and Dassault Systèmes have been taking with their cloud-based, PLM, CAD, Simulation (and more) platforms-as-a-service methodology. Though many of these tools are compatible with legacy systems, the simplicity they provide leads to more users choosing in-platform tools. And given that Synopsys and Ansys already have some of these platform-as-a-service technologies with their silicon lifecycle management (SLM), cloud, and AI offerings, this seems like a natural fit for the merged companies.
Filed Under: Awards • acquisitions