Digital manufacturing company Protolabs has entered into an agreement to buy online 3D printing and advanced manufacturing network 3D Hubs for a total consideration of 280 million USD.

Expected to close in January, subject to conditions, the deal will give Protolabs access to 3D Hubs’ global network of approximately 240 manufacturing partners, resulting in what the manufacturing provider believes will be “the world’s most comprehensive digital manufacturing offer for custom parts.”

“The addition of 3D Hubs provides Protolabs a platform to evolve our service model to provide unprecedented manufacturing flexibility to our customers,” said Rob Bodor, Protolabs’ current VP and GM of the Americas and incoming President and Chief Executive Officer. “Our combined organisations will provide the market with an industry-leading digital manufacturing solution to serve their needs from idea to prototype to full end-use part production. Together we can fulfil nearly every custom manufacturing need across the product lifecycle.”

Since its founding in 2013, the Amsterdam headquartered 3D Hubs is said to have facilitated production of over 6 million custom parts and products through its instant quoting platform, growing from the world’s foremost 3D printing-focused network to a provider of industrial manufacturing services in over 20 countries. Last year, the company continued its expansion with the opening of its third location in Europe following the setup of a regional HQ in Chicago and investment from Future Shape led by leading tech inventor Tony Fadell in 2019.

Bram de Zwart, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at 3D Hubs, commented: “The entire 3D Hubs team is thrilled to join Protolabs and continue to revolutionise the manufacturing industry through innovation. At 3D Hubs, our goal is to empower companies to create revolutionary products through supply chain efficiency and reliability. We are confident that partnering with Protolabs will help us advance that mission.”

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According to a press release, under the terms of the agreement, closing consideration of 280 million USD will be funded with 130 million USD in cash and 150 million USD in Protolabs common stock. An additional 50 million USD of contingent consideration is payable subject to performance-based targets over two years after close, funded with 50% cash and 50% Protolabs common stock. Protolabs has also established an employee incentive fund payable to 3D Hubs employees based on achievement of both financial performance and employee retention targets. Protolabs anticipates the acquisition will accelerate its revenue growth rate and be marginally dilutive to non-GAAP earnings per share in 2021. 3D Hubs’ 2020 revenue is estimated to be $25 million and the company’s revenue has had a compound annual growth rate of over 200% since 2017.

“The acquisition of 3D Hubs is part of the continued evolution of Protolabs as the digital manufacturing leader, serving more and more of our customer’s needs,” said Vicki Holt, Protolabs’ Chief Executive Officer. “Protolabs’ leading in-house technology-enabled manufacturing services combined with 3D Hubs’ global network of premium manufacturing partners will yield the greatest value to our customers for years to come.”

It’s the second major 3D printing acquisition to happen in the last seven days following Desktop Metal’s acquisition of polymer additive manufacturing leader EnvisionTEC in a deal worth 300 million USD. It follows a year of significant mergers after AM pioneer Stratasys established a 100 million USD deal with Origin, and over in materials, polymer specialist Covestro agreed a 1.61 billion Euro acquisition of DSM’s Resins & Functional Materials business.

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