GE announced it had this week met its minimum requirement to go ahead with the acquisition of Arcam, beginning a new phase in metal printing.
Background: earlier this year GE suddenly announced a bid (or bids) to acquire not one but TWO leading 3D metal printer companies, Arcam and SLM Solutions. The acquisition plan didn’t go quite as expected, as SLM Solutions investors balked at the proposed share price offered by GE and demanded a higher price. GE voted with their feet and abruptly dropped their offer for SLM and instead swiftly sealed a deal with Concept Laser, another leading 3D metal printer manufacturer, leaving SLM Solutions alone.
Meanwhile, the deal with Arcam was pending. The proposed arrangement was that GE was willing to offer a set price per share, only if at least 75% of Arcam shareholders agreed. If they did not receive at least 75% of the company, the deal was off.
Now it appears they’ve hit 76.15% in shares agreed to by Arcam shareholders, and thus the deal will proceed, according to a report on Reuters today.
What this means is that going forward, GE will control two leading manufacturers of 3D printing – and their associated metal powder production facilities, in the case of Arcam. That’s a tremendous power in the 3D metal printing space, particularly because GE can back the two operations with massive financial might that no other 3D metal printer manufacturer can match.
I speculated on some of the effects of this arrangement earlier, in which it’s possible GE’s competitors in other industries may suddenly find their 3D metal printing options limited, delayed, expensive or otherwise constrained.
It’s a very powerful position for GE that just became real.