Market Data | Karl’s Blog, May 2018

A quick unscientific summary of the number of mergers and acquisitions in this list by year. Red bars are years in which there were 8 or more M&As in the year, orange bars 6-7 M&As, and blue bars 4 or fewer. The yellow bar for 2018 represents HR reported M&As from Jan-May of this year.

[Click on chart to enlarge.] A quick unscientific summary of mergers and acquisitions in this list by year. Red bars are years in which there were 8 or more M&As, orange bars 6-7 M&As, and blue bars 4 or fewer. The yellow bar for 2018 represents HR-reported M&As from Jan-May of this year.

Widex and Sivantos recently announced plans to merge their companies, prompting speculation that 2018 may be a year with greater merger-and-acquisition (M&A) activity. Below is a list of select M&As in the hearing healthcare field during the past 20 years, as detailed in The Hearing Review magazine’s news and/or online news. Note that Hearing Review tends to concentrate on hearing-related news in North America. Additionally, many hearing industry M&As can go largely unreported by the companies or press. Thus, there are likely to be several important omissions in this list (please alert the editor to these cases).

Bonus! The HR Merge-o-Meter chart shown here summarizes this data into a completely unscientific and disparately sampled graphic, resulting in one fun but mostly-useless graphic. However, it might allow you to quickly find general trends and more intense periods of M&A activity. As mentioned in the recent article by Robert Traynor about industry consolidation, the period from 1999-2002 featured an exceptional number of important M&As.

Select M&As in Last 25 Years

1994

  • Siemens purchases Rexton Danplex
  • Phonak becomes a public company.

1995

  • Oticon acquires Maico, Bernafon, Phox, and Ascom Star
  • Cabot Safety purchases Eastern Safety.
  • William Demant Holding (WDH) becomes public company.

1996

  • ReSound purchases 3M Hearing Health.
  • Cabot Safety purchases Peltor.

1997

  • Phonak purchases E Stephensen AS (Norway).
  • Philips purchases Antwerp Bionic Systems (LAURA).
  • WDH purchases Phonic Ear.

1998

  • A&M Ltd (UK) purchases Electone.
  • Telex and Philips announce a strategic partnership.

1999

  • Starkey purchases Qualitone.
  • Amplifon purchases Viennatone from ReSound.
  • GN purchases ReSound to become GN ReSound.
  • Beltone purchases Philips Electronics’ hearing aid division.
  • Audio ‘D’ purchases Finetone.
  • Maico purchases American Electromedics.
  • Siemens Hearing Instruments purchases A&M and Electone.
  • Amplifon purchases Dahlberg/Miracle Ear.
  • Doughty Hanson purchases Knowles Electronics.
  • Unitron and Lori Medical merge to form Lori/Unitron.
  • GN ReSound purchases Danplex A/S.
  • Maico Diagnostics purchases Beltone Audiometer Div.

2000

  • WDH purchases Dahlberg Canada & Hidden Hearing.
  • Lori/Unitron purchases Argosy Electronics.
  • Starkey Laboratories purchases Micro-Tech.
  • Sonic files for IPO.
  • GN purchases Beltone.
  • Phonak purchases the Lori/Unitron/Argosy Group.
  • WDH purchases AVADA.

2001

  • GN purchases ICS Medical.
  • Amplifon announces IPO on Italian stock exchange.
  • Phonak purchases Hansaton.
  • Madsen, Danplex, Hortmann, and ICS become GN Otometrics.
  • Hearx and Helix announce merger with funding from Siemens.
  • Quest Technologies integrates Metrosonics Inc.
  • WDH becomes minority owner of AHAA.
  • GN purchases 25% of Ultravox Holdings in UK (Ultratone/Sietech).
  • GN purchases Dana Japan.
  • Interton purchases Authorized Hearing Systems (AHS).

2002

  • WDH purchases Tremetrics.
  • Phonak purchases Telex CROS technology.
  • Plantronics purchases Ameriphone.
  • Gennum & DSP Factory form strategic merger.
  • Amplifon purchases Sonus (1300 offices).
  • Sonic acquires Sentech and Orsonique.
  • Symphonix folds; Med-El purchases Soundbridge in 2003.

2003

  • Amplifon purchases National Hearing Centers (54 offices).

2004

  • Amplifon purchases Horen Nederland (The Netherlands).
  • Natus purchases Fischer-Zoth (OAE instruments).

2005

  • Sonic purchases Tympany and forms Hearing Health Network.
  • Cochlear Corp purchases Entific (BAHA).
  • Dover Corp purchases Knowles Electronics.
  • Sonova purchases CAS.
  • Amplifon/Sonus purchases Sounds of Life and 22 HearUSA offices.
  • Amplifon purchases Axt-Wendton GmbH.
  • GN purchases Interton.

2006

  • Sonova announces purchase of GN ReSound, but pulls out of deal in 2007 after being blocked by German anti-trust court (a ruling that was reversed in 2010).
  • Sonova purchases Island Hearing and Metro Hearing.
  • Sonova purchases Omerods (25%).
  • Widex purchases marjority interest in Otovation.
  • Amplifon purchases Ultravox from GN.
  • Natus purchases Bio-logic Systems.

2007

  • Sonic sells Tympany to Tympany Holdings LLC.
  • IntriCon purchases Tibbetts.
  • ON Semiconductor purchases AMI Semiconductor.
  • Gennum purchased by Sound Design.

2008

  • Sonion purchased by Technitrol.
  • Natus purchases SonaMed.
  • Sonova purchases TRE SA (Luxembourg).

2009

  • Altar Acquires Pulse (Sonion) from Technitrol.
  • Amplifon purchases Dialogue.
  • Sonova purchases Advanced Bionics (AB).
  • Sonova purchases Newport Audiology.
  • WDH purchases GSI.

2010

  • Siemens AG shops its hearing aid division but does not receive $2.7 billion asking price.
  • Sonova purchases InSound Medical (Lyric).
  • AudioNova purchases Geers.
  • WDH wins bidding process for Otix Global (Sonic and HearingLife), probably the 7th largest global hearing aid manufacturer at time.
  • WDH purchases ListenUp!
  • Amplifon purchases Auditon (Luxembourg) and NHC Group.
  • Widex purchases Widex Hearing Aid Co (US distributor).

2011

  • HearUSA locks horns over payments to, and is eventually purchased by, Siemens.
  • IntriCon and UnitedHealth’s hi HealthInnovations form distribution agreement.
  • WDH purchases MedRx.
  • WDH purchases Northeastern Technologies Group, Mid-lantic Technologies Group, and Gordon N. Stowe and Associates.

2012

  • Westone purchased by CID Capital.

2013

(No major A&M’s reported in 2013 by Hearing Review.)

2014

  • Sonova purchases Comfort Audio.
  • Sophono and Nurotron (China) form SophonoTron.
  • Siemens Audiology purchased by EQT and Strüngmann family, renamed Sivantos.

2015

  • IntriCon purchases PC Werth.
  • GN Otometrics purchases Amplifon’s Biomedica.
  • WDH purchases Audika.
  • Sonova group integrates Hansaton.
  • Medtronic purchases Sophono.
  • Sivantos purchases audibene.
  • IntriCon and ADA partner to form EarVenture
  • AuditData purchases Otovation.

2016

  • Sonova purchases AudioNova (Europe’s 2nd largest HA retailer).
  • GN purchases Audigy Group.
  • Natus purchases GN Otometrics.

2017

  • IntriCon purchases Hearing Help Express.
  • Cochlear Ltd purchases Sycle.net.
  • GV (formerly Google Ventures) invests in Decibel Therapeutics.
  • Auditdata purchases Simply Hearing Software.

2018

  • Energizer purchases Rayovac (Spectrum Brands Batteries).
  • Marcon and AuDNet merge to form AUDNET Hearing Group.
  • Sivantos purchases TruHearing.
  • Lucid Technologies purchases Etymotic Research.
  • Sivantos and Widex announce plans to merge.

What did we miss or get incorrect? Please send your comments to [email protected] or [email protected]

Karl Strom is editor in chief of The Hearing Review and has been reporting on hearing healthcare issues for 25 years.