A Deeper Look at the Acquisitions of Stratasys and 3D Systems

We previously examined the corporate acquisitions of 3D Systems and Stratasys; now we’ll take a look at what they bought and why they did so. 

As we explained in the previous story, the two 3D printing industry giants have grown their companies in quite different ways. 

3D Systems has made numerous acquisitions (more than fifty!) over the past fifteen years, particularly in the past six years, but the total investment they’ve made in them is in the USD$200M’s range. (We can’t determine an exact number as some of the acquisitions’ values were “undisclosed”). 

Stratasys, on the other hand, has made far fewer acquisitions (nine by our count), but their investment level has been far higher. We estimate their purchasing investment at well over USD$2B. That’s a really big number. Keep in mind, however, that a huge portion of their investment acquisition occurred when they joined up with Objet. 

But what did they buy? Here we have a breakdown of 3D Systems’ acquisition by company type.

You can see they’ve invested in a wide variety of areas, the majority being software. They’ve also invested in patents and some 3D printer manufacturers, too. 

Now let’s look at the equivalent chart from Stratasys. The difference is striking. This company has clearly focused on acquiring 3D printer manufacturers, with a portion on Custom Part Services. 

These charts differ because the two companies have undertaken different strategies.

Stratasys is focused on building up printer manufacturing power, while 3D Systems is building an all-around ecosystem. To be sure, 3D Systems has indeed purchased several part services, too, but their investment in them was relatively small. We believe they’ve been building them up. 

This is where we think the two companies’ strategies will collide: Custom 3D printed part services. Both companies have organically grown their part services into large operations. Even smaller part services they’ve both acquired have been growing and are now part of these larger networks. 

Acquisitions will no doubt continue without end, as changes in the technology and market will trigger each company to make acquisitions to further their strategy. 

Fabbaloo correspondent & 3D Printing enthusiast Mike Difronzo – Founder WiZE 3D 

Fabbaloo founder/editor Kerry Stevenson, a.k.a. “General Fabb” has been writing and exploring 3D printing with Fabbaloo since 2007. 

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