Is a surprising bit of news today, Hasselblad and DJI announced today that the drone manufacturer has acquired a strategic minority stake in Hasselblad.
The companies say that “The partnership will allow opportunities and new ways of combining the technical knowledge and inventive spirit of the two industry leaders in their respective fields.”
Hasselblad and DJI will each focus on their individual strategic directions and related growth opportunities, with marketing and branding platforms continuing to delineate the two companies. Hasselblad cameras and equipment will continue to be handmade in Sweden, and DJI will continue to make products in Shenzhen, China.
That’s all the official word about the “strategic partnership.” But what will this really mean for the companies and consumers?
Rumors of Hasselblad being in financial trouble have been circulating for years. Of course, you have the failed Hasselblad/Sony partnership with the Lunar, Stellar and other ridiculously overpriced rebrands over these past few years as well.
Hasselblad is a privately-owned company, so we know little for sure about its balance sheet. However, we do know that DJI is essentially printing money as the leader in the booming drone business. Based on the most recently announced investment rounds, DJI could be valued north of $10 billion (that’s with a “B”) today. (To date, DJI is still a privately-held company.) By comparison, GoPro’s market cap is currently $3.49 billion.
The drone business is estimated to be a $1.4 billion market this year but is expected to triple that by 2017 (barring stifling legislation in the US). GoPro is about to be a major competitor for DJI but the company that built the action camera industry has a whole lot of ground to make up.
Beyond making drones and little cameras and gimbals to attach the drones, DJI recently entered into the professional camera and lens manufacturing business. And maybe that’s where this “strategic partnership” comes in. If DJI can piggyback on Hasselblad’s extensive history in camera and optics development, perhaps that will help it fast forward its own camera and optics divisions.
Other than an influx of cash, I’m not sure what Hasselblad gets out of this partnership. I pray that we don’t ever see an overpriced Hasselblad drone.