November 21, 2011
By DE Editors
Abe Reichental, president and CEO of 3D Systems
3D Systems Corporation has announced it will acquire Z Corporation, a provider of multi-color inkjet 3D printing. The news is part of a wider announcement today in which the Contex Group, a subsidiary of Ratos AB, announced that it had signed an agreement to sell its subsidiaries, Z Corporation and VIDAR Systems, to 3D Systems Corporation for USD $137 million in cash.
Earlier this year, 3D Systems acquired Alibre, Inc., Quickparts, Kemo, Formero, Huntsman’s Stereolithography product line and Freedom of Creation, Print 3D, and SYCODE. Together, with its acquisition of Bits from Bytes and other companies last year, 3D Systems has acquired 22 companies in the last two years. But on a press conference call, Abe Reichental, president and CEO of 3D Systems, said the whirlwind of acquisitions is on pause for now.
“Given the importance of this acquisition, we decided to temporarily suspend the majority of our ongoing acquisition activities and focus exclusively on delivering the full benefit of the available customer and shareholder value,” he said. “This is the largest acquisition to date that we have made and want to give it our full attention. We don’t want to jeopardize the opportunity in front of us with lesser opportunities.”
“Our vision is to help designers create more ideas, more communication, and more innovation; and joining 3D Systems enables to us deliver on that promise even faster,” said Z Corporation CEO John Kawola in a press statement. “We intend to make multi-color 3D printing accessible to far more designers, provide a more complete customer experience, rapidly advance new applications, and build the foundation for a new generation of Z Corporation innovations.”
“We believe that the perfect strategic fit between these businesses, combined with expanded capabilities in product development, channel coverage, manufacturing and marketing, could present sizeable revenue and cost synergies that together offer significant long-term customer benefits and shareholder value,” Reichental stated.
On a press conference call, Reichental was asked how the company planned to differentiate themselves from HP and Stratasys, which partnered last year to begin selling 3D printers. The partnership was touted as a big step toward bringing 3D printers mainstream.
“I think the key differentiator is that we now double our reseller channel with resellers that are fully trained and are hungry to fill the gaps in their product portfolio,” he said. “We think we’ll emerge with the largest channel in this space, and with a complimentary portfolio as we try to displace traditional design to manufacturing solutions.”
He said he plans to allow resellers to sell the combined product line: both that of 3D Systems and that of Z Corp.
For more information, see Z Corporation’s open message to its customers and partners and listen to Kenneth Wong’s podcast interview with 3D Systems’ Reichental when it acquired Alibre.