Zebra Technologies, a provider of various supply chain visibility technologies, has announced it intends to acquire Fetch Robotics, a developer of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), in a transaction valued at $290 million. Fetch’s AMRs are used for optimized picking in fulfillment centers and distribution centers, just-in-time material delivery in manufacturing facilities, and automating manual material movement in any facility.
Workflow Builder, Fetch’s drag and drop workflow development studio, enables out-of-the-box automation so that users can deploy automated material handling workflows more quickly.
“The acquisition of Fetch Robotics will accelerate our Enterprise Asset Intelligence vision and growth in intelligent industrial automation by embracing new modes of empowering workflows and helping our customers operate more efficiently in increasingly automated, data-powered environments,” said Anders Gustafsson, CEO of Zebra Technologies, in a statement. “This move will also extend our ongoing commitment to optimize the supply chain from the point of production to the point of consumption.”
According to Ash Sharma, senior research director and warehouse automation lead for market research firm Interact Analysis, “The AMR industry was worth over $1 billion in 2020 and is forecast to grow to close to $10 billion in 2024.”
Fetch Robotics also offers cloud-based enterprise software, FetchCore, as the foundational platform for deploying and fully integrating a broad range of automated workflows into manufacturing and warehouse operations and providing unique insights into facilities through machine learning on AMR sensor data. The planned acquisition furthers Zebra’s vision to bring advanced robotics solutions to users who have labor-intensive operations.
Zebra’s focus on robotics automation combines workflow solutions for human workers, including current Zebra offerings such as FulfillmentEdge and SmartSight, with Fetch Robotics’ solutions.
Fetch is said to have made “strong progress” as a Zebra Ventures portfolio company, having generated annualized run-rate sales of approximately $10 million. Zebra expects to fund the $290 million purchase price—for the 95% of the business it does not already own—with cash on hand. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval, and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021.