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Is 3D Systems Plotting a Buyout?

Shares of the largest 3-D printing company were halted earlier today after the company announced plans to sell $250 million of new stock tomorrow. The mysterious trading pause has fueled speculation that 3D Systems (NASDAQ: DDD) may be preparing to buy out some of its competitors.

Some, including William Blair analyst Brian Drab, think that Swedish company Arcam (OTC: AMAVF) could be 3D’s primary buyout target. Arcam uses electric bean melting technology to create metal parts – something that could enhance 3D Systems’ technological capabilities.

It seems investors are buying into the Arcam speculation. Shares of the micro-cap stock shot up 10% in morning trading.

With a market cap of just $163 million, Arcam seems like the ideal buyout prospect for 3D Systems. Drab estimates that an Arcam takeover would cost 3-D between $180 million and $200 million. 3-D’s impending $250 million stock sale would thus cover the tab.

3D Systems has been on quite a tear of late. Shares have risen 35% in the past month, pushing the stock close to its all-time high of $46.44 established in late January. As a result, the company’s market cap has risen to $3.85 billion.

However, today’s stock-sale news has slowed the company’s momentum. Since putting its stock back on the market at 11:28 a.m. ET, shares have fallen 3.5%.

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