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With SLM Acquisition, Will Nikon Become the Next GE in 3D Printing?

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Maturation of the additive manufacturing (AM) market in the post-pandemic era continued last month with Nikon announcing its intent to make a third acquisition in the space—this time a premiere, A-list player in the market’s biggest segment: SLM Solutions (ETR: AM3D). A little more than a month now from the original announcement, the deal seems to be all but ensured, with SLM’s board recommending shareholders accept the takeover option. The deal isn’t actually expected to close until early next year, so there won’t be a lot of comments from either side until then. Nikon, however, very clearly laid out the plans and motivation behind the acquisition back in September, so speculation on that front is minimal. There is a very clear objective and initial path to integration based on the public presentations Nikon held after the announcement.

What speculation is left now relates mainly to how the two companies will ultimately influence one another, and how that will translate to potential future growth and success for both.

There is some very comparable activity in the additive industry’s recent past that we can look to for some precedent. The 2016 industry shifting acquisition of Concept Laser and Arcam by GE, while not exactly the same as the current deal, is a prior example to look to with regards to a multinational corporate giant buying into AM as part of a long-term strategy. Now, five years later, we see something akin to the GE deal happening with Nikon and SLM. What can we unpack from all of this to set a basis of expectation for the future of the metal additive industry, with regard to how Nikon might fair going forward?

Feature image courtesy of Toshihiro Gamo PRO logo

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