EQT funds, owners of Sivantos Pte Ltd (Sivantos), and the Tøpholm and Westermann families, owners of Widex A/S (Widex), today announced the successful completion of the business combination between Sivantos and Widex. The newly created company will operate under the name WS Audiology and be headquartered in Lynge, Denmark, and Singapore. The merger was approved by the European Commission in mid-February after being delayed late last year.
The new company represents a strong top-3 player in the hearing healthcare industry, with combined revenues of more than EUR 1.7 billion (US$1.9 billion), over 10,000 employees, and one of the strongest R&D teams. The new combined company, WS Audiology, reports that it is driven by a passion to improve the quality of life for more than 700 million people with hearing needs. Together, the two industry pioneers have a combined experience of more than 170 years and will redefine the competitive landscape in the more than 125 countries they are present in, according to the company.
WS Audiology will be led by a highly experienced management team with a balanced representation from both Sivantos and Widex. Former Widex CEO Jørgen Jensen will head the new company as CEO. Before joining Widex in 2013, he spent 15 years at Nilfisk-Advance, the last eight of which as president and CEO. He previously worked for McKinsey.
Wolfgang Ollig, Sivantos’ current CFO, will continue in the same position at the new company. Prior to joining Sivantos in 2016, he held the role of CFO at Hella, one of the world’s leading automotive suppliers, for 10 years. Like Jensen, he started his career at McKinsey.
Thomas Ebeling, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Sivantos, has been appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of WS Audiology. Jan Tøpholm, up to now Chairman of Widex, will take on the role as Deputy Chairman. Ignacio Martinez, previously CEO of Sivantos, will join the Board of Directors, and Henrik Bender, until now CFO of Widex, will lead the integration process.
“Today marks the beginning of a great new journey,” said Jensen in a press statement. “Two pioneers joining forces with one clear ambition: to expand access to hearing aids and care to serve the millions of people with hearing needs across the world. This merger gives WS Audiology the scale and innovation capabilities to deliver on this goal. We are setting out to excel with best-in-class products and accelerate our shared growth across all our brands. The future holds great opportunities and together, as one team, we will be able to seize the momentum we have gained.”
“Both Widex and Sivantos have been at the forefront of innovation in the industry,” said Thomas Ebeling, Chairman of the Board of Directors of WS Audiology. “Together, WS Audiology has abundant resources to create excellent products and further accelerate innovation with creative, high-tech and easy-to-use products and services, broadening the choice for hearing aid users.”
Beyond the business elements, the formation of WS Audiology is a merging of two companies with rich histories of hearing industry innovation and success. Widex is known for its unique innovations, including the industry’s first digital ITEs (Senso in 1995), the use of longer attack/release times, the Sensogram, in-situ fittings, and tinnitus remediation programs. Formerly Siemens Hearing Instruments, Sivantos’ history goes all the way back to 1878, when Werner von Siemens built an improved telephone, and the company was probably the first to manufacture and commercially distribute electric hearing aids in 1913. It has since brought many innovations to the industry, including the first behind-the-ear hearing aid, numerous processing strategies, as well as unique form factors like the Styletto.
“As WS Audiology takes shape today, we are one big step closer to becoming the clear innovation leader, developing the best possible hearing aids to improve the life of those with hearing needs,” said engineer Jan Tøpholm, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of WS Audiology, and son of Christian Tøpholm who co-founded Widex in 1956 with Erik Westermann. “We are united by our proud heritage, our long history as ‘first movers’, and our insatiable curiosity that drives our innovation and technology.”
WS Audiology will offer a diverse portfolio of technologically advanced hearing aid products and services. With its brands Signia, Widex, Rexton, Audio Service, and others, the company says it will accelerate its growth, strengthen its market penetration, and enhance efficiencies to enable additional investments in R&D and the supply chain. This will allow the company to expand access to hearing healthcare via its dedicated salesforce, increasing the quality of life for millions of people and allowing them to experience the world of sound to the fullest.