Sennheiser sells its consumer audio business to hearing aid specialist Sonova

The partnership could see hearing and consumer audio tech come together.


Sennheiser has sold it's consumer electronics division to a Swiss company called Sonova that specializes in hearing care, Sennheiser has announced. Sonova said it made the 200 million euro ($241 million) deal to expand its aging demographic to younger customers, particularly in the wireless in-ear segment.

“Even if they don’t have hearing loss, most of them will gradually get hearing loss with age, and devices like Sennheiser’s allow us to have earlier consumer access to such people,” Sonova chief Arnd Kaldowski told Reuters. The company said it would build on Sennheiser's HiFi expertise and "combine it with its own technology expertise and strengths in the field of innovative hearing solutions."

Switzerland-based Sennheiser announced earlier this year that it planned to "to secure a partnership to strengthen its market position in consumer electronics." That in turn would allow it to focus on its pro audio, business and Neumann (high-end microphone) divisions. As part of what the company called a "partnership," Sennheiser will completely transfer its consumer business to Sonova. Sennheiser said it had 600 employees in its consumer division, but made no mention of possible layoffs.

Under the joint Sennheiser brand, we plan to work together permanently to provide Sennheiser customers with first-class audio solutions and premium products in the future.

Sennheiser's Co-CEOs, Andreas and Daniel Sennheiser, said Sonova "not only shares our passion for audio and a commitment to the highest product quality, but also very similar corporate values." Sonova will gain permanent licensing to the Sennheiser brand, giving it an entry into the consumer headphone segment. "Combining our audiological expertise with Sennheiser’s know-how in sound delivery, their great reputation as well as their high-quality products will allow us to expand our offering," Kaldowski said.

The acquisition is unusual in the industry, but it makes it makes a lot of sense. Hearing aid companies have incorporated modern wireless tech into recent products, improving the sound quality and look of hearing aids, as we've seen over the last few years at CES. That in turn is helping reduce the stigma of hearing loss. At the same time, Sennheiser could possibly incorporate hearing tech into its consumer products.

Sonova is one of the top hearing care companies, with sales of CHF 2.9 billion ($3.2 billion) in 2019-20. Sennheiser, meanwhile, saw 2019 sales of €756.7 million ($914 million). The latter is as well or better known for its professional microphones, headphones, studio and concert products as it is for its consumer headphones and soundbars.

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