The additive manufacturing industry took a major step forward along its long road to mainstream acceptance this week with the announcement that two of the world's most dominant manufacturers of 3D printers -- Stratasys Inc. and Objet Ltd. -- are merging to form a new company worth an estimated $1.4 billion.

Today marks a significant milestone for Stratasys and an important development for the 3D printing and direct digital manufacturing industry, said Scott Crump, chief executive officer and chairman of Stratasys. We are bringing together two of the most innovative and respected players in the field to create a global leader in a high-growth industry.

If all goes as planned, the transaction will come through in the third quarter of 2012 when Minn.-based Stratasys officially merges with a subsidiary of Israel-based Objet to create a combined company named Stratasys Ltd.

Once this goes through, David Reis, current Objet CEO, will take over as CEO of the combined company and Crump will come in as a full-time chairman.

We are excited to be joining forces with Stratasys, said Reis. This transaction creates an organization that will provide a broad range of rapid prototyping and direct digital manufacturing applications to our customers, and the ability to bring exciting new products to the market."

"Together," added Crump, "we will have a broader and more comprehensive product and technology portfolio, and the resources, team and financial strength to achieve our goals."

One of these goals is to combine the already expansive (and expanding) global reach of each company to help increase their market penetration to capture the momentum and growth potential of booming global industry awareness.

According to a statement by the companies, their combined sales and marketing teams will create a pool of 260 resellers and selling agents stationed around the world, which will provide both the Israel and U.S. parts of the company to serve a much greater customer base while also proving them with new access to new and innovative solutions.

With the merger, Stratasys Ltd. will have more capabilities to develop new consumables and systems than either Stratasys or Objet could alone, said the companies. They have set a targeted goal of at least a 20% increase in annual growth after the merge.

To the deal, Stratasys offers its patented Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process, invented by Crump, which helped it capture a 41% market share 2010. According to its preliminary first quarter financial results, which were released in conjunction with the merger release, Stratasys is bringing an estimated value of $45 million to the deal, up 31% from last year.

For its part, Objet is providing its PolyJet technology -- an innovative process that allows two different materials to be used simultaneously to achieve one of their industry's highest resolutions.

In combination, the merger promises to allow the company to become an absolutely dominated player in the expanding industry, helping to bring the technology even further into the mainstream.


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