Swiss Phonak Buys Canada\'s Unitron

In step with the rapidly consolidating global hearing systems industry, Kitchener, Ontario-based Unitron Industries Ltd. has agreed to combine with the Phonak Group, headquartered in Stafa, Switzerland, to form the world’s second largest hearing instrument manufacturer. The acquisition, which involves an initial payment of C$140 million in cash and Phonak stock, and an earnout over a two-year period, is expected to close early in 2001.

Prior to the deal, Phonak was the world’s fifth-largest hearing instrument manufacturer, while privately held Unitron ranked seventh. The new Phonak Group will have a 12 per cent share of the world market and will help Phonak in closing the gap to market leader Siemens AG.

Canadian counsel for Phonak was a team from Aird & Berlis comprised of Albert Milstein, Lisa Marcuzzi, with Jack Bernstein providing tax advice. US advice was provided to Phonak by Ivy Bernhardson and Tom Jensen of Leonard, Street and Deinard. Gaudenz Domenig and Matthias Bebi of Prager Dreifuss of Zurich represented Phonak in Switzerland. Rory Keilty, Dennis Metzler, Robert Auld and Steven Chan of Arthur Andersen LLP provided tax advice to Phonak.

Unitron was represented by David Petras, John Hiscock and Carolyn Musselman of the Waterloo, Ontario office of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, together with Thomas Lustenberger of BBLP Meyer Lustenberger in Zurich, and Scott Dongoske and Norm Jones of Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. in Minneapolis. Steve Landau and David Van Voorst of Ernst & Young LLP provided tax advice to Unitron.