AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – In May it was reported that Abano Healthcare Group had received an unsolicited offer to purchase the company’s 50% stake in Bay International, a retail network of audiology clinics across Australia and southeast Asia, from an undisclosed “international hearing device manufacturer”. The offer, approximately $32 million NZ (approximately $22.7 million US), is nearly three times the previously estimated value of the business.
Rather than sell to the unnamed hearing aid manufacturer, however, Abano has agreed to sell its stake in the business to interests associated with Peter Hutson.
Abano Completes Exit from Retail Audiology
Shares of Bay International’s audiology business are held on a 50:50 basis between Abano and interests associated with Peter Huston. Hutson, who had previously attempted a failed hostile-takeover bid for Abano in 2013 with Archer Capital, holds pre-emptive rights under the company’s shareholder agreement which allow him to acquire the shares at the same price offered by an outside party.
Since selling its stake in a large New Zealand-based retail network of clinics in 2010 to major global hearing retailer Amplifon, Abano has focused on growing its remaining audiology businesses in Australia and across southeast Asia. Once the sale is complete, the company will no longer hold business interests in retail audiology.
Abano CEO, Richard Keys, said the sale will help generate a surplus for the company and allow it to put more focus into expansion of its dental business.
The sale is expected to be finalized by the end of the summer.
Hearing Aid Retail Acquisitions Will Continue
Despite the “unnamed global hearing aid manufacturer” not purchasing Bay International, the fact that the company received an unsolicited offer at three times market value highlights the aggressive pursuit by hearing aid companies to help control distribution of their products.
Recent focus on retail by global hearing aid manufacturers has been particularly prevalent thus far in 2016. Major acquisitions — some of the biggest in the history of the hearing industry — have taken place in recent months.
Signs from industry continue to suggest that even further consolidation is looming, with more acquisitions likely to continue unabated for the foreseeable future.
Source: National Business Review