Large-format 3D Printer Maker BigRep Acquires HAGE3D

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BigRep GmbH, the German original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of industrial-scale extrusion 3D printers, has acquired HAGE3D, an Austria-based company that also manufactures large-platform, fused filament fabrication (FFF) systems. According to BigRep, the rationale behind the merger entails the shared strengths of the two companies’ product portfolios, combined with BigRep’s ability to bring HAGE3D’s products to a much larger market.

Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Berlin, BigRep also maintains technical facilities and offices in Shanghai, Singapore, and Boston, meaning HAGE3D now has access to a truly global customer base. HAGE3D was also founded in 2014, although it is a subsidiary of HAGE Sondermaschinenbau GmbH, an engineering firm with over 40 years of experience.

Image courtesy of BigRep

In a press release about BigRep’s acquisition of HAGE3D, Dr.-Ing Sven Thate, managing director of BigRep, said, “We are excited about the merger with HAGE3D. For our worldwide customers this makes us their local provider of open industrial AM solutions across all temperature levels unlocking almost limitless material options. We expect the AM market to continue its dynamic growth for the foreseeable future, driven by strong megatrends such as digitalization and decentralization of manufacturing.”

Managing director of HAGE3D Thomas Janics said, “While our focus was previously on the German-speaking markets, we now can provide our products globally through BigRep’s sales network…Complementing its current low-temperature and energy-conscious large-format AM platforms, we will expand BigRep’s portfolio with a range of high-temperature 3D printers that open a broad spectrum of new applications and markets.”

Image courtesy of HAGE3D

As I wrote in a post about Nexa3D’s recent announcement of its acquisition of Essentium, although none of the hypothetical additive manufacturing (AM) mega-mergers that have consumed so much of the industry’s attention in 2023 have happened, mergers on a smaller scale have nonetheless kept up a modest pace. BigRep’s acquisition of HAGE3D fits within the same model of the Nexa3D/Essentium deal, with the name of the game here being portfolio synergy.

Thus, in addition to being signs of life for merger & acquisition (M&A) activity in the AM sector, the Nexa3D/Essentium and BigRep/HAGE3D deals are also likely signs of what successful M&A activity will look like in 2024. Concerning the Nexa3D/Essentium merger, Essentium’s CEO, Blake Teipel, told me that for a merger to happen, the companies involved should be at the point where they’re asking themselves, “Why shouldn’t we join the businesses?”

This exact sentiment also applies equally well to BigRep and HAGE3D: BigRep has increased the ways in which it can serve its existing customer base, while HAGE3D has greatly expanded its potential customer base. It is noteworthy that in the case of both mergers, the business case is quite easy to wrap your head around.

This isn’t to say that all potential mergers in the AM sector will have to be this straightforward in order for the deals to get done, as portfolio synergy comes in many forms. But it does suggest that in instances where the synergy isn’t as clear-cut as it is regarding BigRep/HAGE3D and Nexa3D/Essentium, the top priority for parties angling for M&A’s should be the ability to effectively make the case for synergy to shareholders, board members, etc.

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