Mostly when I write about hearing aids it's about how the products work and what kind of benefits they offer consumers. Or, I try to explain how changes in the retail distribution of hearing aids will affect consumer satisfaction. Ultimately this story may have a similar outcome but it's about high finance, initially.
Siemens, one of the big 5 hearing aid manufacturers has decided to call it a day. Usually when a hearing aid manufacturer exits, it means further industry consolidation, future layoffs and a hold on product development until the purchaser gets a firm grip on the true value of their purchase. If GN ReSound, who is in the running for this purchase, were to complete the transaction, this is most likely what would happen.
In this case, though, the front runner is a private equity firm based in Stockholm that is not currently a player in hearing aids. EQT Partners AB is known for taking an active role in the management of its acquisitions and for adding value through application of shrewd operational expertise. This is an intriguing play to be sure, one that may benefit the hearing industry. I suspect that EQT will take a hard look at how Siemens has been distributing hearing aids and make some changes. For consumers, this could mean slightly lower prices and/or the institution of new, measurable customer service goals.
We will have to wait until the winner emerges to see which way the weather blows for consumers.