Milwaukee Tool surprised everyone today, announcing that they have acquired Imperial Blades, a USA-based oscillating multi-tool blade and accessory manufacturer.
From Imperial Blades’ website, with their emphasis:
Imperial Blades is an American manufacturer who provides high quality, innovative products and seeks to serve customers with industry-leading service and a passion to meet their needs. We aspire to accomplish this by fostering a “people first” culture, dedicated to high values and integrity.
In my experience, Imperial Blades makes solid-performing multi-tool accessories at fair pricing. You can find their products online, and at independent hardware stores and supply houses. Imperial Blade also has a line of reciprocating saw blades.
One thing I didn’t realize is that Imperial Blades recently came out with a whole line of Bosch and Fein Starlock-compatible accessories. Their other offerings include universal-shank oscillating tool accessories that work with a multitude of brands and models of multi-tools.
I had a brief chat with a Milwaukee Tool representative today – thank you Heather! – who shared additional insights as to what this acquisition will mean for both companies.
First, Imperial Blades will remain at their present Sun Prairie, Wisconsin location, and they will remain an independent brand, similar to how Empire Level still maintains their independent identity after also being acquired by Milwaukee Tool.
Milwaukee Tool will invest in Imperial Tool, as they have done with Empire, and plans to increase the reach and breadth of their product lines.
Additionally, they will jointly develop new products.
Imperial Blades’ products will continue to be made in the USA, and current plans call for jointly developed products to also be made in the USA.
When I asked about what other possibilities this could provide for, I was told that Milwaukee Tool will continue to evaluate and pursue product plan extensions that complement core Imperial Products.
That part was in response to my questioning (it was more thinking aloud) as to whether this means we will see new Milwaukee M18 Fuel and M12 Fuel oscillating multi-tools. Milwaukee currently offers an M18 oscillating multi-tool, which earned a Best Value badge from me in a 2013 comparison, but readers have been asking about the potential for brushless M18 and M12 models for some time.
With Milwaukee Tool having acquired Imperial Blades, and now able to tap into a revenue stream from oscillating multi-tool users, I am convinced that we will see new M18 cordless multi-tools, likely brushless with M18 Fuel designation, in addition to new high-performance oscillating tool accessories.
And, to remind you, Milwaukee Tool last year promised to add USA jobs, including to “accommodate cordless power tool manufacturing.”
This new acquisition makes perfect sense for Milwaukee Tool, and will presumably increase Imperial Blades’ market presence, and prospectively, both brands’ product offerings.