May 13, 2015      

With an eye to Asian manufacturing markets, Teradyne Inc. is buying collaborative robot maker Universal Robots for $285 million in cash, plus another $65 million if certain performance goals are met through 2018.

Odense, Denmark-based Universal Robots was founded in 2005 and makes relatively low-cost, easy-to-deploy robots that work alongside humans in manufacturing. The co-robot market is a $100 million segment of the industrial robotics market and is growing at more than 50 percent per year, according to a press release.

Last year, privately owned Universal Robots’ revenue increased 70 percent to $38 million. The company has more than 150 employees around the world. Its products include the UR3, UR5, and UR10 robot arms, which are named after their payloads in kilograms. Universal Robots has shipped more than 4,000 co-robots to date.

“The combination will boost our ability to innovate and recruit even more and thus will extend our lead within collaborative robotics and be of benefit to all our end users and partners,” said Enrico Krog Iversen, CEO of Universal Robots. “Our operations have been profitable since late 2010. Teradyne’s world-class engineering and support capabilities and strong financial position will help accelerate the growth of our collaborative robots in new and existing markets, especially in Asia, where Teradyne holds a very strong position.”

The acquisition “will strengthen Universal Robots’ position in Denmark and be a great benefit for the Danish high-tech industry going forward,” said Ulrik JOrring, vice chairman of the board of Universal Robots and senior vice president of the Danish Growth Fund. Vaekstfonden, the Danish Growth Fund, has been the main investor in Universal Robots since 2008.

North Reading, Mass.-based Teradyne develops and sells automatic test equipment for testing semiconductors, wireless products, and electronic systems. In 2014, it had revenue of $1.65 billion, and it has about 3,800 employees worldwide.

“This acquisition complements our system and wireless test businesses while adding a powerful, additional growth platform to Teradyne,” said Mark Jagiela, president and CEO of Teradyne.

The deal has been approved by the boards of both companies, is subject to regulatory approval, and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2015.