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GE Buys Concept Laser After Metal 3D Printing Deal Collapse

Concept Laser

In a fresh twist in this week’s metal 3D printing saga, GE scoops up Concept Laser after takeover deal for SLM collapses. 

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After a metal 3D printing deal worth $1.4 billion dollars was scuppered by activist investor Paul Singer, U.S. industrial giant General Electric (GE) has nimbly stepped around the setback byacquiring another company specializing in the same technology.

GE has agreed to buy Concept Laser, a privately held German 3D printing firm, for for $599 million. Unlike SLM Solutions, the company for whom GE’s takeover bid failed this week, Concept Laser doesn’t have any shareholders to satisfy.

GE, together with several other industry players, has begun to recognise the benefits of additive manufacturing and invest accordingly. Metal 3D printing offers the possibility to produce complex parts with less difficulty than traditional production methods. Plus, it generates less waste and expands design possibilities.

As a first step in the takeover, GE is initially buying 75% of Concept Laser, based in Lichtenfels, Germany. Their agreement allows GE to take full ownership in in several years time.

Plan B: Let’s Buy Concept Laser

GE officially abandoned its bid for SLM on Wednesday after investment firm Elliott Management, which is controlled by Singer and owns 20% shares in SLM, chose to reject the bid on the basis that it undervalued the company. This made it difficult for GE to reach its minimum acceptance threshold.

Contrary to expectations, however, the corresponding deal with Swedish metal 3D printing Arcam is still very much alive. GE has raised its bid and lowered its minimum acceptance conditions on Thursday — another company in which Elliott also owns a stake.

The Arcam offer has been raised to 300 Swedish kronor a share, up from 285 kronor, valuing the company at about $700 million. The minimum acceptance threshold has been lowered to 75% from 90%, and the acceptance period has been extended for a second time, to 10 November. GE said it would not raise its Arcam bid further.

Just like SLM Solutions, Concept Laser operates chiefly in the aerospace, medical and dental industries. It also has a customer base in the automotive and jewellery sectors, which is just icing on the cake for GE. The company has more than 200 staff, which also extends to operations in Texas and China.

GE, which has spent about $1.5 billion on additive technology research to date, has pledged to invest significantly in Lichtenfels, which would become a new German centre for the group. Co-founder Frank Herzog plans to stay on as chief executive.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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