Maple Plain-based Protolabs expands 3-D printing enterprise with $280M acquisition

Protolabs is buying a Netherlands-based 3-D printing company in a $280 million deal.

3D Hubs, with U.S. headquarters in Chicago, connects engineers with contract manufacturers to provide custom products or prototypes.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the month.

“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, current general manager of Protolabs Americas division who will take over as chief executive on March 1. “Together we can fulfill nearly every custom manufacturing need across the product life cycle.”

The deal includes $130 million in cash and $150 million in Protolabs common stock. Another $50 million would be paid based on how the 3D Hubs business performs over the next two years.

Protolabs also will pay 3D Hubs workers incentives based on both financial performance and employee retention goals.

“3D Hubs’ company culture lives and breathes engineering and fast-paced innovation; our team is very excited to partner with Protolabs to build the best on-demand manufacturing solution imaginable,” said Brian Garret, 3D Hubs’ co-founder and chief product officer.

3D Hubs was founded in 2013 and has raised over $30 million in funding from sources including Balderton Capital, EQT Ventures, Endeit Capital, Hearst Ventures, DOEN, Future Shape and Rockstart.

3D Hubs allows users to upload their designs and then get quotes from over 200 vetted manufacturing partners around the world. The users can then accept one of the offers on the site.

Protolabs said the acquisition is expected to accelerate the company’s revenue growth rate but be slightly dilutive of earnings in 2021.

3D Hubs’ 2020 revenue is estimated to be $25 million, and the company’s revenue has tripled 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 customers’ needs,” said Protolabs CEO Vicki Holt. “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.”

Protolabs’ shares were up nearly 4% in morning trading.

Catherine Roberts • 612-673-4292

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