There were some rumors floating around earlier this month that 3D printer company MakerBot was interested in selling. Those rumors came to fruition Wednesday afternoon when Stratasys announced that it had acquired the company.
Stratasys announced that it will merge with MakerBot in a deal worth $403 million dollars, or 4.76 million shares. It's not your usual acquisition, however, as MakerBot will be allowed to retain its identity. Bre Pettis will also stay on as CEO.
“The last couple of years have been incredibly inspiring and exciting for us,” said Pettis. “We have an aggressive model for growth, and partnering with Stratasys will allow us to supercharge our mission to empower individuals to make things using a MakerBot, and allow us to bring 3D technology to more people. I am excited about the opportunities this combination will bring to our current and future customers.”
Stratasys' acquisition of MakerBot means that it will be able to better target the growing consumer market segment for 3D printers. MakerBot's Replicator and Replicator 2 are incredibly popular among consumers, entrepreneurs, small businesses and designers looking for a powerful 3D printer that's not going to break the bank.
“MakerBot’s 3D printers are rapidly being adopted by CAD-trained designers and engineers,” said David Reis, Stratasys CEO. “Bre Pettis and his team at MakerBot have built the strongest brand in the desktop 3D printer category by delivering an exceptional user experience. MakerBot has impressive products, and we believe that the company’s strategy of making 3D printing accessible and affordable will continue to drive adoption."
Of course, we can't forget that Stratasys also gets MakerBot's Thingiverse as part of the acquisition. Thingiverse is a platform for creators to upload their designs and share them with other makers. It's one of the largest maker communities on the Internet, and Stratasys will undoubtedly benefit from it.
Some fans of MakerBot might worry that the company will end up like Objet, but that doesn't appear to be the case. Stratasys is not going to change how things are done at MakerBot so we're still going to get great 3D printers alongside the company's excellent outreach programs that inspire young and old to take up 3D printing.