3D Systems bids for Stratasys

With suitors popping up like moths to a flame, Stratasys has just written to its shareholders to urge them not to tender shares for the latest offer from Nano Dimension, calling this “an opportunistic, coercive, highly conditional partial tender offer”.

The letter suggests that shareholders should “file their notice of objection in order to reduce the risk of becoming a minority shareholder” and points out that anyone who has already tendered their shares can still withdraw them. 

This follows a round of increasingly aggressive takeover attempts from Nano Dimension, which I’ve already detailed. At the same time, Stratasys itself is planning a merger with Desktop Metal and last week 3D Systems threw its hat in the ring with its own offer to buy Stratasys. 

To this end, 3D Systems has suggested a cash and stock merger that would convert each Stratasys share into $7.50 in cash and 1.2507 newly issued shares of 3D Systems common stock. This would leave Stratasys shareholders owning 40 percent of the combined company and receiving approximately $540 million in cash. 

3D Systems assumes that the combined company will be able to save roughly $100 million in run-rate cost synergies and suggests that the combined company will deliver at least $1,840 million to Stratasys shareholders.

Dr Jeffrey Graves, president and CEO of 3D Systems, explained: “We feel strongly that now is the time for all parties to recognize the overwhelming logic of our two businesses coming together. We are in a unique position to move with confidence and speed and we encourage the Stratasys Board of Directors to engage with our proposal and make this combination a reality for the benefit of the shareholders, employees and customers of both companies.”

I think that its worth pointing out that these arguments are quite similar to the other proposals from Desktop Metal and Nano Dimension. 

Dr. Graves added: “We are at an inflection point in our industry, and we see significant upside for our shareholders and all stakeholders by capturing the benefits of scale, enhancing investment in innovation and delivering long-term profitable growth. We know and respect the Stratasys business and the people who make it a success around the world. We are committed to creating a combined platform that enables these two great companies to serve our global customers and lead the industry with innovative technology offerings.”

Personally, I’m not sure which of these companies to admire most; Nano Dimension for its sheer persistence, bordering on stalking; 3D Systems for its cynical opportunistic power grab; or Desktop Metal for quietly aligning itself with a bigger player just as its own ambitions slowed down; not to mention Stratasys, which has already gobbled up dozens of smaller companies. However, I doubt that any of this is good news for the further development of additive manufacturing technologies since it is never good to have one vendor in charge of so many varied technologies, particularly given that 3D printing has the potential to transform almost every type of manufacturing industry on the planet. This potential is the reason that there is so much money involved in each of these bids, and may yet lead to further interest from other companies.

You can find further details on all these various players from stratasys.com, desktopmetal.com, nano-di.com and 3dsystems.com.


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