General Electric’s bid to purchase Germany-based SLM Solutions fell through - but GE evidently had a backup plan.
As we reported a few weeks ago, GE made simultaneous bids for not one, but two 3D metal printer manufacturers, Arcam of Sweden and SLM Solutions. While the Arcam deal is still pending, there was a problem with the SLM proposal.
One of SLM’s key shareholders objected to the proposal, appeared to demand a higher price. Unfortunately, the deal fell through and was officially abandoned this week, leaving the SLM Solutions shareholders who DID agree to the proposal no deal at all.
Now today we find that GE has instead agreed to buy another German 3D metal printer manufacturer, Concept Laser!
The terms of the deal propose a price of USD$599M for 75% of the company, which for all intent and purposes, means they have full control. Further, the deal proposes full ownership at a later date, with the remaining Concept Laser shareholders to be bought out.
For GE, this means they can continue to pursue their original agenda, which I suspect is start to cornering the market for metal 3D printing for aerospace.
For the shareholders of Concept Laser: sudden windfall! I imagine they may have felt out of money flow when observing the previous deal with SLM Solutions.
For the shareholders of SLM Solutions, this is not actually a bad thing, because they now become one of the very few remaining “free agents” in the 3D metal printer business. If there are other larger players wishing to counter GE’s moves in the space, they may be able to demand a high premium.
For all these companies it is good news. The 3D metal printer companies have the attention of the market due to rapid increase in practical uses for the technology, particularly in aerospace applications. There are now major financial backers in play that could provide ways for these companies to expand and develop new, enhanced technologies.