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Desktop Metal plans to go public in a complex merger

The deal will value the Burlington maker of 3-D printing technology at $2.5b.

Ric Fulop is the CEO of Desktop Metal in Burlington.
Ric Fulop is the CEO of Desktop Metal in Burlington.Timothy Pumphrey

Desktop Metal, the Burlington-based maker of 3-D printing technology for metallic products, said Wednesday it is planning to go public as part of a complicated merger that will value the company at $2.5 billion.

The company has agreed to merge with Trine Acquisition Corp., which is known as a “special purpose acquisition company.” Trine has already listed its shares on the New York Stock Exchange with the express goal of using investors’ money to take another company public without a traditional initial public offering.

The deal is expected to close during the final three months of this year, pending regulatory review and shareholder approvals by both companies. The company would be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “DM.”

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The deal will provide the Desktop Metal with $575 million, which it intends to use to “accelerate our go-to-market efforts and enhance our relentless efforts in R&D,” according to chief executive Ric Fulop.

“We are at a major inflection point in the adoption of additive manufacturing, and Desktop Metal is leading the way in this transformation,” Fulop said in a statement. “Our solutions are designed for both massive throughput and ease of use, enabling organizations of all sizes to make parts faster, more cost effectively, and with higher levels of complexity and sustainability than ever before.”

Fulop is expected to remain at the helm of the company following the deal.

The company will be the latest high-profile technology startup to take an unorthodox approach to its public listing. Boston-based DraftKings this spring went public through a similar deal involving a special purpose acquisition company.

Desktop Metal makes printing products that can create metal components without what it describes as the waste and inefficiency of traditional processes such as casting and machining.

The company’s first product was a relatively small system that fits in an office and can be used to make smaller batches of replacement parts, prototypes, or small-scale productions. But it has been moving into larger systems that can be used for more extensive manufacturing processes in shops and factories.

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Desktop Metal has raised $438 million in private investment since its founding in 2015. Backers included several big names in venture capital such as NEA, Kleiner Perkins, and Google Ventures. The company employs about 200 people.

The company has not yet achieved profitability, according to documents distributed as part of the announcement of the deal. Desktop Metal reported a loss of 24.4 million in 2019 as it continues to spend money on developing its business. But it says it is on the road to profit by 2021 as revenue increases. It intends to ramp up sales of several key products starting late this year.

Public market investors looked favorably on the deal in early trading. Shares of Trine’s stock closed up 10.75 percent Wednesday.




Andy Rosen can be reached at andrew.rosen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @andyrosen.