In a widely anticipated move Stratasys has acquired MakerBot in a stock deal worth around $403 million based on the current share value of Stratasys.
This deal brings together one of the leaders in industrial 3D printing with the emerging leader in pro-sumer desktop 3D printing. MakerBot has agreed to merge with a subsidiary of Stratasys in a stock-for-stock transaction and will continue to operate as a separate company. Stratasys will complete the deal in the third quarter of this year and they expect this deal to drive faster adoption of 3D printing across many industries. It will also enable them to move into the small business market as these customers have been buying pro-sumer level machines like the Makerbot Replicator 2 rather than the larger and more expensive professional machines that they produce.
MakerBot was founded in 2009 and has helped push acceptance of 3D printing into consumer’s homes and small businesses. They have sold over 22,000 3D printers since 2009 and in the last nine months their new Replicator 2 desktop 3D printer has accounted for 11,000 of those sales.
Stratasys have been aggressive in their expansion of their industrial level machines into an increasing number of commercial applications. They merged with Objet Ltd in 2012 to form one large company that has headquarters in both Minneapolis and Rehovot, Israel. With the MakerBot acquisition they will be able to pass on their industry experience and expertise down to the desktop machines. This will allow MakerBot to improve their 3D printer offerings and better compete against the growing competition in the crowded desktop market.
MakerBot have just opened their new factory in New York and the deal also includes Thingiverse.com, the largest collection of downloadable digital designs for making 3D printed things. Also included in the “MakerBot 3D Ecosystem” is MakerWare software, the MakerBot 3D Photo Booth, MakerCare service, the MakerBot Retail Store, MakerBot Filament, and strategic partnerships with Autodesk, Adafruit, Nokia, OUYA, MoMA and Amazon. MakerBot recently also demonstrated the MakerBot Digitizer desktop 3D scanner.
All in all this deal is good for both parties, it enables Stratasys to move into the predicted-to-be highly profitable desktop 3D printer market and MakerBot will be able to glean expertise from Stratasys to improve its Replicator printers to better compete against the plethora of 3D printer startups.