The next M&A target in industrial robotics could be in grippers, e-commerce picking, floor cleaning, or cobots in manufacturing.
Amazon’s historic $775M acquisition of Kiva Systems is said to have set off an arms race among robotics makers. Riding the e-commerce wave and the industry-wide pressure to deliver orders on time, we’ve witnessed an explosion of robotics startups focused on making fulfillment more efficient. Lately, other Kiva-like companies, including Fetch Robotics and GreyOrange, are focusing on other areas of warehouse automation, such as picking and palletizing. Some startups such as Ready Robotics and Locus have applied the classic robotic arm to package e-commerce orders, though their collaborative nature makes them suited for a number of industrial tasks.
Using CB Insights data, we looked at past acquisitions in robotics to determine where the next M&A deal could be. We’ve identified 10 industrial robotics M&A deals since 2012, but they’re all fairly recent phemonena; all of the M&A deals happened in 2015 or later.
Major M&A deals include Teradyne acquiring Universal Robots, a maker of “cobots” — sensor-laden collaborative robots that are safe for human proximity — that boasts an average 195 days to pay for themselves. Another notable deal includes the merger of German industrial robot maker KUKA, which merged in a $4B+ deal with Chinese appliance maker Midea Group. These M&A deals give us an idea of the industry’s next potential targets.