Privately held Danish company Universal Robots — the successful producer of the UR line of collaborative robots — has sold to Massachusetts-based Teradyne, a provider of electronic testing equipment.
Universal Robots has had rapid growth since it started up in 2005. The company’s first products were sold in 2009.
- 2014 sales of $38 million were 70% greater than 2013.
- The company recently moved into a larger factory in Odense, Denmark, 100 miles east of Copenhagen.
- UR’s new 130,000-sq.-ft. production facility was established to enable URÂ to keep up with sales for the next few years.
- The company has grown its network of integrator/distributors to almost 200 worldwide.
- Collaborative robotics is currently a $100 million segment of the industrial robotics market, growing at more than 50% per year.
Universal recently launched their new line of smaller UR3 robots. The UR3 can handle payloads of up to 3 kg (6.6 lb.), enabling close work in scientific, pharmaceutical, agriculture, and electronics and technology facilities for tasks such as mounting of small objects, gluing, screwing, operating tools, soldering and painting.
Teradyne, a publicly-traded supplier of test equipment, with over 3,900 employees and a product line which doesn’t include anything robotic, has a market value of $4.37 billion. Teradyne uses robots in its manufacturing process, and its customers are good prospects for Universal’s robots.
“Universal Robots is the technology and sales leader in the fast-growing collaborative robot market, and we are excited to have them join Teradyne. This acquisition complements our system and wireless test businesses while adding a powerful, additional growth platform to Teradyne.” — Mark Jagiela, President and CEO of Teradyne.
The agreement calls for $285 million in cash and an additional $65 million if certain performance targets are met through 2018, thereby bringing the overall sales price to $350 million.
Bottom line: Many manufacturers are looking to shore up their market share in the robotics and automation space and acquisitions such as this one — even at high multiples — such as this one — are win-win transactions for all involved: Teradyne becomes a player in the cobot space, and the inventors and entrepreneurs of Universal get a serious strategic partner and, after a few years, the ability to move on and invent the next big thing.