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Stand still between ‘The Big Six’ in the hearing devices industry

Background: There are well-balanced profit-levels across the board in the hearing devices industry. Perhaps that is why share-holders seem to be patient enough to give their management teams the chance to become one of the winners. The companies expand in other areas.

Foto: William Demant/PR

After a couple of failed attempts at acquisitions and sales among the six dominant companies on the global market of the hearing devices industry – also known as ‘The Big Six’ – the last couple of years have been relatively calm in that area of the industry. At present the battle is fought for research, development and expansion within related industry areas and in the retail branch.

From the middle of the 1990s and through the following decade – particularly the period from 1999 to 2001 – a number of fusions and acquisitions were carried out globally. In 2006 Sonova tried to buy out GN Resound, but the attempt was curbed by German competition authorities and fell through. Some years later Siemens indicated – ultimately unsuccessfully - that it was for sale, but no one met their asking price - perhaps they had Sonova’s failed attempt in mind. So for some time there has been, according to one source within the business, a kind of stand still where most companies hope and believe in the possibility of remaining among the best. However, William Demant acquired Otix Global towards the end of 2010 – Otix owned, e.g., the small hearing device-brand Sonic, which today is a part of the company portfolio along with the somewhat larger brands Oticon and Bernafon.

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