Fri, Jun 21, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Leading 3D printer makers to merge in US$403m deal

AP, MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota

Stratasys Ltd, a leading maker of 3D printers, is buying another 3D printer manufacturer, MakerBot Industries, for US$403 million in stock.

Stratasys said on Wednesday the acquisition will enable it to offer affordable desktop 3D printers. MakerBot, whose machines are priced between US$2,000 and US$3,000 and are aimed at the “prosumer” market, sells direct to buyers through its Web site.

By contrast, Stratasys makes machines priced US$10,000 to US$600,000, mostly to industrial clients through resellers.

MakerBot’s owners will receive 4.76 million newly issued Stratasys shares and are eligible for another 2.38 million through the end of next year if certain performance targets are met. That could raise the purchase price by about US$201 million based on Wednesday’s closing stock price.

The merger is expected to be completed in the third quarter of this year.

Stratasys is based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and Rehovot, Israel. Its shares rose US$2.40, or 2.8 percent, to US$87 in after-hours trading. New York-based MakerBot is privately held.

MakerBot will keep its name, products and strategy as a unit of Stratasys.

Analysts of the 3D printing market have said the industry has the potential to revolutionize manufacturing, since the printers are able to make everything from chocolate molds and mouth braces to gun parts by laying down layer upon layer of plastic, metal or other materials.

The market is expected to double by 2016 from a base of about US$3 billion this year, Stratasys CEO David Reis said. Both companies are posting strong revenue gains that should outpace the overall industry, he said.

“The potential in this market is huge,” Reis said.

“Even though both of our companies have had a lot of aggressive growth, we’re still at the beginning,” MakerBot CEO Bre Pettis said.

Both companies plan to hire more employees later this year to boost their expansions, Reis said.

In the first quarter through March, Stratasys’ revenue more than doubled to US$97.2 million from US$45 million a year ago. MakerBot had first-quarter revenue of US$11.5 million, compared with US$15.7 million for all of last year.

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