It’s been a week and the Stratasys takeover news has been noticeably quiet. What does this mean?
This is all about a lengthy corporate battle over the ownership of Stratasys, the largest company in the space, and one of the two companies that first developed 3D printing. Stratasys was so early that the term “3D printing” wasn’t even a thing when they launched back in the 1980s.
Some months ago Nano Dimension, a smaller company that somehow came upon a large cash investment, decided they would buy Stratasys. They blasted Stratasys’s board of directors and shareholders with new ofer variations, but all were summarily rejected by Stratasys’ board.
Meanwhile, Stratasys inked a deal to merge with Desktop Metal, which would create a very large entity in the space with control over many 3D printing processes.
Finally, in the past month 3D Systems, the other long-time leader in the space, announced their own bid for Stratasys. After several raised offers, both parties indicated they were considering offers, and presumably negotiating behind the scenes.
After weeks of press releases, announcements, bizarre videos and more, things are suddenly very, very quiet.
Well, actually there was one bit of news: Nano Dimension, which actually owns a small piece of Stratasys already, proposed a new slate of candidates for the Stratasys board of directors. This was to be voted on at the company’s recent annual meeting. Curiously, virtually all of the proposed candidates were employees of Nano Dimension that reported directly to the Nano Dimension CEO, a truly massive conflict of interest. The implication was that, if the proposal were accepted by Stratasys shareholders at their AGM, this CEO would have complete and total control over Stratasys and all its resources.
The AGM took place, and the existing Stratasys directors were re-elected, leaving the outrageous Nano Dimension proposal on the sidelines. At the same time, Nano Dimension announced they are leaving the situation entirely, leaving Stratasys on their own.
Meanwhile, we have heard nothing much from either Stratasys or 3D Systems, who presumably are deep into secret talks to negotiate the details of a possible merger / acquisition proposal. There are significant business reasons to execute this arrangement, as there are apparently more than US$100M in annual savings to be had.
The combined entity would be by far the largest ever seen in 3D print history, with the resulting company controlling dozens of 3D printing processes for professional and industrial use.
My expectation was that there would have been an announcement by now — and maybe there has been one issued after this story was scheduled — but so far, nothing.
This can only mean that the parties are quite serious about getting the companies together and are working through final issues.
One thought I had related to the change in valuation for the companies. Fabbaloo tracks publicly traded 3D print company valuations in our weekly leaderboard. We’ve observed that as a result of all these takeover proposals, Stratasys has soared to the top of the leaderboard by a wide margin. They’re now valued significantly more than 3D Systems, which for a long while was at the top of the chart.
If that’s the case, then does it still make sense for 3D Systems to acquire Stratasys? Or perhaps a merger of some fashion might be more appropriate given the change in valuations? Perhaps that’s why things have been quiet.
That, or everyone is on summer vacation.