3D printer companies MakerBot and Ultimaker to merge

3D printer companies MakerBot and Ultimaker to merge

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MakerBot Industries LLC, a major supplier of desktop 3D printers, today announced plans to merge with rival Ultimaker BV.

The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter. Afterwards, MakerBot Chief Executive Nadav Goshen and Ultimaker CEO Jürgen von Hollen will lead the combined companies as co-CEOs.

“This merger marks an important milestone for Ultimaker and MakerBot,” von Hollen said in a statement. “Innovation and growth are both critical to bringing desktop 3D printing from a specialty technology into mainstream business adoption. The new company will leverage and expand its combined global footprint with sales and operations in the Americas, EMEA and APAC.”

New York-based MakerBot sells a line of 3D printers that can be used to make items such as product prototypes, car parts and industrial equipment components. The company also provides an array of related offerings. MakerBot supplies manufacturing materials for 3D printers, as well as design software that customers can use to manage production.

MakerBot’s 3D printers are popular among hobbyists and educational institutions. The systems also have commercial applications. A consumer electronics maker, for example, could use a 3D printer from MakerBot to quickly create prototypes of an upcoming device. MakerBot’s 3D printers also enable companies to manufacture replacement parts for their industrial equipment, as well as produce custom components to power new hardware products.

Netherlands-based Ultimaker competes in the same market as MakerBot. Ultimaker offers a line of 3D printers, along with software tools and manufacturing materials. The company’s flagship 3D printer, the Ultimaker S5, can manufacture items using more than 200 materials.

MakerBot and Ultimaker launched in 2009 and 2011, respectively. MakerBot was acquired for $604 million a few years after its launch by Stratasys Ltd., a Nasdaq-listed maker of 3D printers. Ultimaker, for its part, raised an undisclosed amount of funding in 2017 from investment firm NPM Capital.

NPM Capital will have a 54.4% stake in the company that is set to emerge from the merger of MakerBot and Ultimaker. Stratasys will receive a 45.6% stake. The firms plan to invest $62.4 million in the combined company to help it enhance its product portfolio, as well as expand into new markets. 

“Technological innovation is paramount in growing the availability of easy-to-use professional 3D printing solutions,” said Goshen. “By combining our teams and leveraging the additional funding, we can accelerate the development of advanced solutions to provide our customers with a broad portfolio of hardware and software solutions to serve a wide spectrum of customers and applications.”

Photo: MakerBot

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