Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Maker of CREATOR Metal 3D Printer to Be Bought by Lumentum for $5.7B

ST Medical Devices

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There have been several important acquisitions in the 3D printing industry, including that of EnvisionTEC by Desktop Metal, Origin by Stratasys, and 3D Hubs by Proto Labs, leading us to speculate on some more to come. Now, It has been confirmed that Lumentum (NASDAQ: LITE), a manufacturer of optical components and subsystems, has entered into an agreement to purchase photonics maker Coherent, Inc. (NASDAQ: COHR), which manufactures the well-received CREATOR 3D printer. The cash-and-stock deal is valued at $5.7 billion and sent Lumentum’s stock up roughly $2/share on Monday, January 25.

Coherent stock had already been trading at a high value since January 19, when the deal was first announced. Stockholder rights law firm Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C., as well as WeissLaw LLP, are investigating the merger for what they believe may have been an “unfair process and ultimately agreed to an inadequate merger agreement.”

Coherent joined the 3D printing industry in 2018, when it acquired German company OR Laser. Two years prior, OR Laser had released a comparatively inexpensive, yet rapid powder bed fusion metal 3D printer, the CREATOR. This was followed by a hybrid version that could perform milling every five to 10 layers.

The Coherent Creator. Image courtesy of Coherent.

The system was very well received for its low price and the ability to 3D print 30 percent more quickly than comparable machines. However, Coherent no longer has a page for the machine and its YouTube channel has been nearly scrubbed of its Creator content, indicating definite changes in its additive manufacturing plans. It also appointed a new CEO, former McKinsey & Co. senior adviser and Diebold Nixdorf AG chief Andreas Mattes, in April 2020. Perhaps, as its merger with Lumentum approached, the businesses decided to ditch 3D printing in favor of a pure focus on lasers and other optics.

An older version of the OR Laser twitter account was active up until September 2020, so perhaps all is not lost. Maybe we’re in store for a revamping of its additive division with more printers or a simple rebranding of its existing machines. We’ve reached out to the company for comment.

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