The deal culminates an interesting growth trajectory for both companies over the past decade. Both emerged among the first affordable desktop extrusion 3D printing hardware manufacturers in the early 2010s. MakerBot was acquired for about $400 million by Stratasys, during the 3D printing stock bubble of 2013-14. The amount was later deemed exaggerated by stockholders, as MakerBot began experiencing difficulties and the consumer market target did not prove to be a viable initial audience. However, over the years, the company has rebuilt its appeal and built a significant installed base, especially in the US.
Ultimaker followed a more linear trajectory, closing important investments, expanding its senior management teams and growing its installed base around the world as a preferred choice for prosumer level systems. Now both companies are coming together to combine strengths and better face the increased pressure from dozens of competitors in the desktop filament extrusion segment around the world, especially from China, but also to exploit the enormous potential that still exists for market expansion.
The new combined company is intended to offer a comprehensive solution set of hardware, software and materials, creating a leading force in Desktop 3D printing. Under the terms of the agreement, NPM Capital plans to contribute Ultimaker’s assets, invest $15.4 million, and own 54.4% of the combined company, while Stratasys will contribute MakerBot’s assets, invest $47 million, and own 45.6% of the combined company (all subject to adjustments in the definitive documentation).
The combined $62.4 million of committed financial backing is intended to fuel ecosystem innovation and expand customer reach and applications. The new company will be led by Nadav Goshen, current MakerBot CEO, and Jürgen von Hollen, current Ultimaker CEO, who will act as Co-CEOs, with Nadav managing product, operations and R&D and Jürgen managing the commercial functions. The entity is expected to maintain its headquarters in both The Netherlands and New York City.
“By combining the strengths of MakerBot and Ultimaker, the new entity will have a broad technology offering, be sufficient in scale, well-capitalized and have a focused leadership team to better compete in the highly attractive Desktop 3D printing sector,” said Dr. Yoav Zeif, CEO of Stratasys. “Today’s announcement is consistent with our strategy to focus on industrial and production scale polymer-based additive manufacturing solutions. This transaction is designed to benefit our shareholders by enabling them to own two leading companies with best-in-class technology and focused management teams that will be able to successfully deliver solutions to customers in two highly attractive but different areas of the 3D printing market.”
Upon closing, the transaction is not expected to have a material impact on Stratasys’ revenue and is expected to be immediately accretive. As Stratasys will own less than 50% of the new entity, Stratasys will not consolidate it. The transaction is subject to consultation with appropriate employee representative bodies and the receipt of regulatory approvals, and satisfaction of other customary closing conditions, as a result of which a definitive time frame for closing is not yet available, with closing currently expected over the course of the second or third quarters of 2022.
Stifel Financial is acting as exclusive financial advisor and Meitar Law Offices and Cooley LLP as legal advisors to Stratasys. Lincoln International is acting as exclusive financial advisor and Allen & Overy as legal advisor to NPM Capital.