Sonova acquires InSound Medical Inc. and adds a revolutionary new hearing system to its portfolio

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Sonova Holding AG, the world's leading provider of hearing systems, announced today that it has successfully completed its acquisition of InSound Medical Inc., Newark, USA. InSound Medical developed the first extended wear hearing system which is placed deep in the ear canal and totally invisible from the outside, and markets it under the Lyric® brand. The total transaction price is made up of two components: an upfront cash consideration of USD 75 million and earnout payments which depend on the company's financial success going forward. The regulatory approvals needed for the transaction have been obtained.

Significant growth potential

With Lyric in its portfolio, Sonova wants to reach people with mild to moderate hearing loss who have decided not to use a conventional hearing system to date, mainly for esthetic reasons. "The growth potential in this segment is immense," said Valentin Chapero, CEO of the Sonova Group. "In the US 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." Lyric is the first product developed in the history of hearing technology which addresses the traditional barriers to widespread acceptance of hearing systems. It is not visible outside the ear canal and the wearer can simply forget that he or she is wearing a hearing system at all for months at a time.

Lyric - the totally "invisible" hearing system

Unlike conventional hearing systems, hearing professionals place Lyric deep inside the ear canal, near the eardrum, which means it is totally invisible from the outside and provides a natural hearing experience. The system can be used for a period of up to 120 days, after which it is removed and replaced by the hearing professional with a new system. The psychological burden of being reminded daily of one's own hearing problems, when inserting and removing a hearing system, is dispelled; likewise the often tiresome need to change the batteries.

InSound Medical has commercially marketed Lyric in the US since 2008 and the product is now used by more than 3,000 customers. The privately owned American company based in Newark, California, was founded as a startup in 1998 and posted sales of around USD 5 million in 2009.

Sustainable value creation

Sonova's distribution network and marketing and sales expertise, combined with Lyric's unique selling points, will allow for rapid expansion into international markets.

The attractiveness of the product will draw many of those who would not otherwise have addressed their hearing loss. That said, not everyone interested in Lyric will be a suitable candidate, due to the anatomy of their ear canal, for example. However, such people are potential customers for Sonova's conventional hearing systems, which means Lyric will provide an additional boost for this business too.

Apart from the significant sales potential, Sonova also sees considerable opportunities to further develop the Lyric product concept and improve the operational cost structure.

Sonova - the world's leading provider of hearing healthcare solutions

This transaction strengthens Sonova's position as the world's leading provider of cuttingedge hearing healthcare solutions. "Lyric enables us to address a highly underdeveloped market segment and to add a unique new hearing system to our product offering," said Valentin Chapero.

About InSound Medical

In Sound Medical, Inc., a medical device company based in Newark, California, develops and manufactures nextgeneration hearing solutions.

The company's introductory product, Lyric®, is the first and only 100% invisible extended wear hearing solution that is placed deep in the ear canal to provide outstanding and continuous hearing for months at a time. Lyric became available through select US audiologists in 2008.

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