NORTH READING, Mass. – Teradyne and AutoGuide Mobile Robots today announced a definitive agreement where Teradyne will acquire privately owned AutoGuide for $165 million. The deal is for $58 million in cash, plus $107 million if certain performance targets are met, extending potentially through 2022. The companies said the acquisition is expected to close in Q4 2019, subject to closing conditions and regulatory approval.
“The combined strength of Teradyne’s industrial automation businesses and AutoGuide’s product lines offer new opportunities to create end-to-end automation solutions for customers seeking the safest and most productive material-handling operations from a single source,” said Rob Sullivan, president and CEO of AutoGuide Mobile Robots. “Teradyne’s financial strength and global reach will help support AutoGuide’s growth, enabling us to maintain our agile approach to the development and deployment of high-value automation systems that bring industry leading value to our customers.”
Complementing other AMRs
For Teradyne, the acquisition means another robotics company in the mix – the company owns Universal Robots, Energid, and Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR). Teradyne said the AutoGuide autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), which can autonomously transport materials of payloads up to 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg), would complement the MiR offerings.
“The high-payload AMR market is an emerging, fast-growing segment of the global forklift market,” said Mark Jagiela, president and CEO of Teradyne. “AutoGuide’s modular architecture and innovative technologies provide safe, easy-to-deploy products that naturally complement our MiR low- to mid-payload AMRs, extending Teradyne’s reach in this attractive market. AutoGuide, like Universal Robots and MiR, is using emerging smart, cost-effective technologies in industrial robotics to improve workflows and reduce operating costs in a broad spectrum of industries. We look forward to helping AutoGuide grow by developing their global sales and support capabilities, while continuing to strengthen and expand their innovative product lineup.”
Ash Sharma, research director at Interact Analysis, agreed that the AutoGuide and MiR systems are complementary, but that it also may cause some overlap and lack synergies between the two companies. “However, the tendencies for Teradyne to continue to operate its acquisitions as separate and independent business units, whilst leveraging any cross-company competencies and cost savings, should mitigate this,” said Sharma.
In June, Transparency Market Research estimated that the automated guided vehicle market would reach $2.3 billion by 2024, as companies are “pouring millions of dollars in research and development of cutting-edge robotics technologies” that aim to take the automation of warehouses to the next level. “Most manufacturers are focusing on flexibility and safety aspects of robots to get a better foothold in the automated guided vehicle market,” the research firm said.
AutoGuide, which includes customers such as Pactiv, Ford, and Husqvarna, said it was expected to more than double its revenue in 2019, from about $4 million in 2018. The company’s products include the Max N10 Tugger, Max N10 Pallet Stacker, along with SurePath fleet management software.
- The Max N10 Pallet Stacker autonomously identifies and lifts pallets, transporting them to a specified destination and then stacking them.
- The Max N10 Tugger autonomously pulls trailers or carts of materials from point to point, including indexing for easy loading and unloading.
- The SurePath software provides users with a way to specify routes, coordinating the autonomous lifting and transport of pallets, and managing Max N10 traffic to optimize the materials transport.
AutoGuide has a mobile robot research and development center located in Chelmsford, Mass., and a manufacturing facility in Georgetown, Ky. Teradyne, which had revenues of $2.1 billion in 2018, employs 5,300 people worldwide.
Sharma said the acquisition was another indication of the mobile robotics industry remaining a hot market, and it’s possible that more are on the way. “Acquisitions in the mobile robot industry are heating up, with peers such as 6 River being acquired,” he said. “Anecdotally we hear that most of the private vendors we’re tracking have been approached with offers to buy their business.”