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3D printers now emitting merged manufacturers

Stratasys to buy MakerBot for $US403m

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The 3D printer market is starting to carve itself into a new shape after Stratasys, purveyor of the consumer-friendly Mojo and the industry-focussed devices like the bar-fridge-sized uPrint will hand over $US403m worth of stock to acquire MakerBot and its rather more prosumer-friendly Replicator range.

Stratasys will operate MakerBot as a stand-alone entity, which makes sense given the canned statement about the transaction sees Stratasys CEO David Reis declare it has “the strongest brand in the desktop 3D printer category.”

The statement also says the merger will“allow Stratasys to offer more accessible desktop 3D printers to meet customer demand and accelerate that growth.”

The deal's not all about tapping growth at the low-end, as the two companies expect to explore cross-pollination of their differing approaches to 3D printing. That Stratasys is a largely a business-to-business company and MakerBot has done well selling direct to consumers and small businesses also means there's some expertise to be shared among new colleagues.

However the merger fares, that $430m is on the table is a sign of confidence in the emerging 3D printer industry. Stratasys is a listed entity, so diluting its stock by issuing enough to acquire MakerBot is a sign its leaders think there's plenty of upside in a bigger, more diverse, 3D printing concern. The markets aren't so sure: the company's share price has wobbled rather than surged since the announcement. ®

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