Zebra Fetches Robotics Firm for $290M

Deal to accelerate warehouse automation for partnering retailers
Photograph courtesy Zebra Technologies

Zebra Technologies said that it would acquire Fetch Robotics in a deal it said will accelerate its partnering companies’ moves into warehouse and fulfillment center automation.

Zebra, a technologies provider for retailers based in Lincolnshire, Ill., said July 1 it would pay $290 million to acquire the 95% of Fetch it does not already own.

Fetch, based in San Jose, Calif., is a leader in autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for use in the distribution, fulfillment and material handling space.

Fetch features the largest portfolio of AMRs in the industry and offers seamless integration with warehouse and manufacturing systems without the need for changes to facilities or infrastructure, Zebra said. Workflow Builder, Fetch’s drag-and-drop workflow development studio, enables out-of-the-box automation so that customers and partners can deploy automated material handling workflows in hours instead of months. The AMRs can help reduce the impact of labor shortages by improving throughput, efficiency and productivity while working alongside people in fulfillment, distribution and manufacturing environments.

“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, said 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. We are excited to welcome the Fetch team to the Zebra family.”

In addition to its portfolio of AMRs, Fetch offers cloud-based enterprise software, FetchCore, as a foundational platform for deploying and 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 customers 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. This will provide an innovative offering that drives greater efficiencies and higher ROI through better orchestration of technology and people, the companies said.

“The Fetch team is excited to join Zebra and accelerate the adoption of flexible automation through AMRs and our cloud-based robotics platform. Together we have the right team with the right technology to provide end-to-end solutions that solve real customer problems,” said Melonee Wise, CEO of Fetch Robotics. “By helping customers dynamically optimize and holistically orchestrate their fulfillment, distribution and manufacturing operations, together we help enable their ability to stay ahead of growing demand, minimize delivery times and address shrinking labor pools.”

Fetch has made strong progress as a Zebra Ventures portfolio company, generating annualized run-rate sales of approximately $10 million. Zebra’s go-to-market footprint and vertical market expertise is expected to drive synergies as it integrates and invests in the business.

“Our goal is to give robots and people the opportunity to do their very best work,” said Bill Burns, chief product and solutions officer, Zebra Technologies. “This acquisition is a continuation of what we expect to be a series of innovations that reflect our commitment to creating solutions that help our customers improve their operations through robotics.”

Zebra said it expects to fund the $290 million purchase price with cash on hand. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approval, and is expected to close in the third quarter.

Vedder Price is serving as legal counsel to Zebra. Fenwick & West is acting as legal counsel and Evercore is acting as financial adviser to Fetch.


More from our partners