• Hearing Aid Sales Rise by 8.5% in 2009; 4.9% for Private Practices
  • Hansaton Launches Brand in United States; Names Bob Eastman CEO
  • Siemens Hearing Instruments Names Brian Kinnerk CEO in the Americas
  • Ear Technology Debuts Clik High Performance Hearing Aid
  • Jerry Yanz Joins Hansaton
  • Gordon Walker Elected President of BHI
  • Hearing Aid Tax Credit Attracts Record 113th Cosponsor
  • Audigy Group Releases New Digital Assets
  • Study Casts Doubt on Caffeine Link to Tinnitus
  • Researchers Identify Protein Needed to Develop Auditory Neurons
  • Research Lays the Foundation for Improving Human Speech
  • Frye Electronics Introduces FONIX 8000 Hearing Aid Test System
  • Tommie L. Robinson Jr Becomes ASHA President

  • Siemens AG reportedly considers sale of hearing aid division. A flurry of news reports in January indicate that Siemens AG is considering several potential buyers for its hearing aid unit, which could potentially be valued at more than $2.89 billion, according to Reuters. Siemens is one of the world’s largets hearing aid manufacturers, by unit volume, accounting for about one in five of all hearing aids sold worldwide. Siemens Hearing Instruments Inc, a division of Siemens Healthcare, is headquartered in Piscataway, NJ, and Erlangen, Germany; Siemens AG is based in Munich. The company is projected to have 2010 pre-EBITDA earnings of about 170 million euros ($237 million) in 2010, and according to reports, Siemens AG put the unit up for sale in October. Said to be in the running for purchasing the division are the private equity firms of Bain Capital, Cinven, Hellman & Friedman, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), and Permira. Other reports have speculated that Australian implant maker Cochlear is part of a joint $2.8 billion bid with Hellman & Friedman and KKR for the division. Reuters and the Italian weekly Il Mondo reported that a three-way deal involving an investment partner, Italian retailer Amplifon, and German retailer Geers has been proposed that would combine the three hearing care companies, creating a globally integrated hearing aid manufacturer/distributor generating about $2.11 billion in annual sales, according to Il Mondo.
  • Sonova acquires InSound Medical for $75 million. Sonova Holding AG, Stafa, Switzerland, has acquired InSound Medical Inc, Newark, Calif, developer of the Lyric extended-wear hearing aid, for an up-front cash consideration of $75 million and earn-out payments, which depend on the company’s financial success going forward. “The growth potential in this segment is immense,” says Sonova Group CEO Valentin Chapero. “In the United States alone, there are around 36 million people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss who do not yet wear a hearing system— many are potential new customers to whom we can now offer a solution, thanks to Lyric.” InSound Medical will be an independent business unit of Sonova, which is also the parent group of Phonak, Unitron, and recently acquired Advanced Bionics Corp. The acquisition will reportedly allow Sonova to penetrate the mild-to-moderate hearing loss population with an extended wear, invisible device while providing InSound’s future products with Sonova’s hearing technologies. The Lyric device is placed by hearing professionals deep inside the ear canal, near the eardrum, which means it is invisible from the outside and is said to provide a natural hearing experience (see Tanya Arbogast and Susan Whichard’s article in the April 2009 HR). The system can be used for a period of up to 4 months, after which it is removed and replaced by the hearing professional with a new system. The product is reportedly used by more than 3,000 customers and the company posted sales of around $5 million in 2009.

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