GN CEO Says Company “Not Looking” to Acquire Retail Chains; Announces Sale of Otometrics to Natus (UPDATE)

BALLERUP, DENMARK — According to a September 26 Reuters’ article, GN ReSound CEO Anders Hedegaard was quoted saying that, unlike its competitors, the company is “not looking” to purchase retail businesses. Instead, GN will continue to focus on strengthening partnerships with retail customers. 

While Sonova and William Demant battle over various global retail acquisitions opportunities, such as recent purchases of European retail heavyweight AudioNova and large French retailer Audika, GN says that it will not pursue this type of vertical integration strategy as a strategy for future growth.

 

“We have stayed away from acquisitions of retail-businesses and actually performed better than our competitors and done well by focusing on what we are good at… We provide an alternative – we can cooperate with the independent retailers and help them improve their businesses.”  –CEO Anders Hedegaard

 

Interestingly, one of the biggest acquisitions in the US hearing aid industry this year was Audigy Group, acquired by GN ReSound for $151 million in May 2016. 

While technically a purchasing group and not a retail chain, Audigy Group has a network of over 250 member practices. According to Reuters, the company would not rule out the option of acquiring other purchasing groups similar to Audigy in the future.

 

Natus Acquires Otometrics from GN

 

natus buys otometricsOn September 25, GN Hearing announced that it has entered into an agreement to transfer ownership of GN Otometrics to Natus

As part of the transfer of ownership of GN Otometrics, GN Hearing and Natus agreed to enter into “a strategic partnership to collaborate on future technology, product development and commercialization.”  

In addition, Natus will provide future royalties to GN Hearing following the commercialization of OTOSCAN, a new digital ear scanning solution.

 

“The combination of Natus and Otometrics creates a global leader in hearing assessment, hearing screening and balance assessment. The Otometrics brand will complement our current portfolio and will further increase our combined growth potential.” –Jim Hawkins, President and CEO of Natus

 

The agreement will require Natus to pay $145 million (USD). Subject to regulatory approval, the parties hope to close the transaction by end of 2016. 

 

Post Publication Addendum, 1/4/17

 

GN Hearing announced today that all necessary conditions for the $145 million transaction, including regulatory approvals, have been met to complete the company’s divestment of its Otometrics division to Natus.

 

“We are excited about becoming a part of Natus. With Natus as our owner and strategic partner, we gain a new freedom to operate on a global scale, independently from all hearing aid manufacturers. Collectively our product offerings and market presence will provide us with an even stronger platform for growth within all our customer segments: ENT, fitting, screening and neurology; and throughout all markets globally.” –Kim Lehmann, President and CEO of Otometrics

According to the announcement, Otometrics customers should “expect no interruption in service and business continues as usual.”