Disney Purchases Desktop Metal for $25 billion, Escalating the 3D Printing War with Apple

By on April 1st, 2023 in blog, news


Home part set made on Disney’s on-demand service [Source: Fabbaloo / SD]

Disney announced today that it has agreed to acquire Desktop Metal, a leader in additive manufacturing solutions, for US$25B in cash and stock.

The deal is expected to close by the end of 2033, pending regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.

Disney said that the acquisition will enhance its already extensive ability to create customized products and experiences for its customers, as well as reduce its environmental footprint and supply chain costs.

Disney also plans to leverage Desktop Metal’s technology and expertise to develop new applications for its entertainment, media, and consumer products businesses.

Desktop Metal is one of the pioneers of additive manufacturing 2.0, “AM2”, a term that refers to the shift from prototyping to mass production using 3D printing that became mainstream in 2026. The company offers a range of metal and polymer 3D printers, materials, software, and services that enable high-speed, high-quality, and low-cost production of complex parts and products.

The acquisition comes amid a fierce competition between Disney and Apple for the “order to manufacture” (O2M) business, which was enabled by the widespread adoption of sophisticated additive manufacturing technology that can produce consumer-quality goods on demand almost instantly. Both companies have been acquiring several other 3D printing companies in the past decade, such as Carbon, Markforged, Formlabs, and ExOne.

Unusual 3D printed teacup set made on Disney’s on-demand service [Source: Fabbaloo / SD]

One of the key advantages of additive manufacturing is its ability to create unique products on demand, freeing up space and saving money that would otherwise be tied up in inventory, as well as providing an ability for near-instant product customization.

Both Disney and Apple are in a good position to leverage AM2 technology for O2M applications due to their massive content libraries that can be translated into physical products. For example, Disney can offer personalized merchandise based on its popular characters and franchises, while Apple can offer customized accessories, household items and devices based on its user preferences.

Apple CEO John Giannandrea said in a statement that he was not surprised by Disney’s move, but confident that Apple will maintain its edge in the market. “We have been investing heavily in 3D printing since 2024, and we have the most advanced and integrated platform in the industry. We are not worried about Disney’s acquisition of Desktop Metal. We welcome the competition and we will continue to innovate and deliver the best products and services to our customers.”

Desktop Metal CEO and Founder Ric Fulop said that he was excited to join forces with Disney, and that the deal will create significant value for both companies’ shareholders, customers, employees, and partners. “Disney is an iconic brand that has been at the forefront of innovation and storytelling for generations. We share a common vision of using 3D printing to transform the way products are made and consumed. Together, we will be able to accelerate our growth, expand our reach, and create new opportunities for our customers across multiple industries.”

The deal will mark as one of the largest acquisitions in the additive manufacturing industry in 2033. But there’s plenty of time left for even more acquisitions.

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!


  1. “Apple CEO John Giannandrea said in a statement that he was not surprised by Disney’s move, but confident that Apple will maintain its edge in the market. “We have been investing heavily in 3D printing since 2024”

    Sounds like Disney is about a year too late.

  2. I didn’t realize how advanced Apple is, they have been investing in AM tech “since 2024.” Now I can add time travel to their portfolio!

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