3D printing service Staples, a $1,100-per-hour printer and software provider for businesses, said Tuesday it plans to buy 3D-printing company Zebra.
The Staples unit will use Zebra technology, and Staples will be a licensee of Zebra’s business model.
Staples will have “exclusive” license rights to Zebra, the company said.
Staples CEO Ken Sood said in a statement the Staples Zebra platform “provides the most flexible and cost-effective path to build printers and software applications for businesses.”
Staples is also a partner in the Zebra project.
Zebra is best known for its printing software for small businesses and home goods.
Staples said it plans “to expand our relationship with Zebra to include other Staples business areas and services.”
Staples was founded in 2004.
The deal is the second-largest acquisition by a software company this year, following the $2 billion acquisition of MakerBot.
Staples has long been a major player in 3D printers, which have become the backbone of businesses.
The online retailer has sold hundreds of millions of printers to customers around the world, including businesses like the U.S. military, hospitals and retailers.
Staples and other online retailers, including Amazon.com Inc., have seen growth in 3G printers.
Staples, which was founded by Steve Ballmer and his wife, Susan, said it expects to bring in about $2.6 billion in revenue this year from the deal.
Staples already sells printers to consumers at Staples.com.
It said the deal will give Staples a foothold in the printing market that is growing at more than 10 times annual growth rates, and it expects the technology to be a part of the Staples e-commerce platform.