Aug 26, 2020 - Economy

Desktop Metal to go public via reverse merger

Collage illustration of the Wall Street street sign and IPO filing papers.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Desktop Metal, a Burlington, Massachussetts-based maker of 3D metal printing systems, agreed to go public via a reverse merger with Trine Acquisition, a SPAC formed last year by veteran telecom investor Leo Hindery. It would give Desktop Metal an initial market value of around $2.5 billion.

Why it matters: This was the result of a formal, bank-led auction among SPACs, CEO Ric Fulop tells Axios, without Desktop Metal also running a parallel IPO or private equity process. That's unusual, but likely to become more common as SPACs proliferate.

  • Trine will contribute $300 million via the merger, while Desktop Metal also secured $275 million via a $10 per share PIPE from Miller Value Partners, XN, Baron Capital Group, Chamath Palihapitiya, JB Straubel, and HPS Investment Partners.
  • Desktop Metal raised around $450 million in VC funding, most recently in early 2019 at a $1.5 billion valuation. Backers include Lux Capital, Ford, NEA, Kleiner Perkins, Koch Disruptive Technologies, GV, and GE Ventures.

The bottom line: "While the earlier boom in 3D printing focused on consumer printers that could spew out trinkets, today’s focus is industrial uses like automotive and aerospace where designs that could only be produced on such printers create more efficient parts with less weight," per Forbes.

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