Privately held Danish company Universal Robots – the successful producer of the UR line of collaborative robots – has sold to Massachusetts-based Teradyne, a provider ofÂ electronic testing equipment.
Universal Robots has had rapid growth since their startup in 2005. Their first products were sold in 2009.
- 2014 sales of $38M were 70% greater than 2013.
- The company recently moved into a larger factory in Odense, Denmark (100 miles east of Copenhagen).
- Their new 130,000 sq ft production facility was established to enable URÂ to keep up with sales for the next few years.
- They have grown their 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 lbs), 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 does use robots in their manufacturing process and their 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,” said Mark Jagiela, President and CEO of Teradyne. “This acquisition complements our System and Wireless Test businesses while adding a powerful, additional growth platform to Teradyne.â
The agreement calls for $285M in cash and an additional $65M 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 collaborative robotics 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.