Another day, another tech merger. Admittedly, Brooklyn-based start-up MakerBot is the last company I thought would be involved in a merger. MakerBot agreed to sell itself to 3D printing rival Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS) in a deal valued at $403 million. This all-stock mega deal is just another example of how 3D printing or content-to-print has gone mainstream. MakerBot will become a subsidiary of Stratasys, keeping the existing MakerBot board and management team in place.
You can make it
MakerBot, started in 2009, helped to popularize 3D printing with engineers, designers and hobbyists worldwide. MakerBot generated $11.5 million in revenue in the booming 3D printing market in the first quarter of 2013. MakerBot’s revenue in 2012 was $15.7 million — that is amazing growth for such a small company. This merger and acquisition deal is a great “get” for Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS) and should spur growth for the entire content-to-print sector. This deal give MakerBot the money developed higher-quality hardware and software to gain market share and create a premium brand within Stratasys. Access to engineering and better resources such as marketing and distribution will help MakerBot printers become the “must have” devices for 3D printer aficionados.
We can make it
For Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS), this deal gives the company additional credibility within the content-to-print community and a massive presence in the consumer 3D print arena. But for this to work, Stratasys has to allow MakerBot to innovate. MakerBot has stiff competition from more than a few great companies capitalizing on consumer acceptance of 3D printing — acceptance that MakerBot created. This deal gives Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS) the upper hand in the 3D printing space, but there are other companies who have vast potential in this current 3D print craze.
3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD), the maker of Geomagic, has been beefing up its content-to-print offerings. 3D Systems has a nice entry level $1,299 Cube 3D Printer that will give the MakerBot Replicator 2X a run for its money. The 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) 3D printer lineup is particularly strong, so Stratasys must not stifle the momentum and brand loyalty that MakerBot has built since its founding in 2009. 3D Systems has truly strong content-to-print devices for consumers, education and professionals, while Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS) and MakerBot’s product lines are not as deep.