Widex, Sivantos win EU approval for $8.3 billion hearing aid merger

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COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danish hearing aid maker Widex expects its merger with Germany's Sivantos to complete next month after getting European approval, creating the third-largest player in the industry.

The companies plan to invest more in digital devices as a combined group and to step up their challenge on market leaders Sonova and William Demant.

Sivantos, formerly known as Siemens Audiology, and Denmark's Widex said in May that they had agreed to form a company worth more than 7 billion euros (6.14 billion pounds), including 3 billion euros in debt.

Widex said on Thursday that the European Commission had found no issue in competition law with the merger, which has now been approved by all relevant authorities and is expected to be concluded in early March.

The merger creates a company with a presence in more than 125 markets with more than 10,000 employees and a total revenue of more than 1.7 billion euros, it added.

"The merger between Widex and Sivantos will give us new and unique opportunities to create innovative devices," Marcus Brenneckem, Global Co-Head of EQT Private Equity, said.

EQT bought Sivantos from Siemens in 2015 for more than 2 billion euros.

Denmark's Topholm and Westermann families, who own Widex, will retain large stakes in the merged company.

(Reporting by Andreas Mortensen; editing by Jason Neely and Alexander Smith)

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