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Stratasys acquires MakerBot in $403 million deal

The acquisition gives Stratasys a leading consumer 3D printing platform, and gives MakerBot the deep pockets it needs to grow and compete.

MakerBot founder Bre Pettis was the opening keynote speaker at SXSW this year.
James Martin/CNET

MakerBot, one of the most well-known desktop 3D printing companies, has been acquired by Stratasys, the companies said Wednesday.

In a release, the companies said it was a stock-for-stock transaction worth about $403 million, based on Stratasys' stock price as of Wednesday. Stratasys will exchange 4.76 million shares of its stock for 100 percent of MakerBot's outstanding stock. By agreeing to be acquired, MakerBot becomes part of one of the leading industrial 3D printing companies. The deal also allows the publicly-traded Stratasys to compete more directly at the consumer level with 3D Systems and that company's Cube line of printers.

Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that MakerBot was in acquisition talks but did not identify the company's potential suitor.

MakerBot, founded by Bre Pettis in 2009, has become synonymous in many people's eyes with the 3D printing industry. Its $2,200 Replicator 2 is one of the most advanced low-cost 3D printers on the market today. And with its service, the company has also created one of the leading marketplaces for 3D printable digital models. To date, the service hosts more than 90,000 files, which are downloaded about a million times each month. MakerBot also recently opened its first MakerBot store in New York, likely the world's first 3D printing retail store.

MakerBot's Replicator 2 3D printer. MakerBot

Pettis was the opening keynote speaker at this year's South by Southwest Interactive festival, and he used the opportunity to unveil a 3D digital scanner MakerBot is working on. That product is known as the MakerBot Digitizer desktop 3D scanner.

According to a release about the merger, MakerBot will operate as a subsidiary of Stratasys and will maintain its well-known identity. It will continue to manufacture and market its existing product line. It will also maintain its ongoing partnerships with companies like Autodesk, Adafruit Industries, Ouya, Nokia, MoMa, and Amazon.

The companies said that during the first quarter of 2013, MakerBot brought in $11.5 million of revenue, compared with $15.7 million during all of 2012. But they didn't reveal MakerBot's profit numbers.

In their release, Stratasys and MakerBot said that between 35,000 and 40,000 3D printers were sold worldwide in 2012, a number they expect to double in 2013. That number includes all levels of the machines, from printers in the four-figure range to those that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Correction 2:05 p.m. PT: This story originally reported that financial terms of the merger were not announced.