The BKartA's decision to prohibit the intended acquisition
of Swiss firm GN ReSound's hearing device business by Danish
firm Phonak (now "Sonova") in early April 2007 had caused
the parties to abandon the transaction. The intended tie-up through
the US$ 2.6 billion deal would have created the world's largest
Despite competition clearance in the US and other EU countries,
the BKartA had blocked the merger due to serious concerns over the
creation of collective market dominance in the German hearing aid
market among Siemens, Sonova and William Demant Holding. The BKartA
said in a statement at the time that:
"[T]he merger would have further strengthened this
oligopoly by pushing the three groups' combined market share to
about 90 per cent."
Commitments offered by GN ReSound to reduce its presence in
Germany were rejected by the BKartA and consequently the deal did
not go ahead.
GN ReSound challenged the prohibition decision in the German
courts, from the higher regional court in Düsseldorf to the
BGH. Despite winning the case, GN ReSound says it will not proceed
with the merger. However, according to GN ReSound's counsel, it
is likely that GN ReSound will examine whether it can now claim
compensation in Germany. However, any such decision on the claim
will most likely only be made once the full decision of the BGH is
published. Community Week will return to the issues raised by this
case and provide more detail once the decision is made public.
To view Community Week, Issue 468 - 23 April 2010 in full,
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