- Published on 03 February 2023
GN Group's announcement that the board's chairman, Per Wold-Olsen, will not seek re-election at the approaching March AGM has further fuelled persistent January speculation that the Denmark-based hearing concern is an imminent acquisition story.
The GN Board will propose Deputy Chair Jukka Pekka Pertola as its new Chair. Wold-Olsen has held the position for the past 15 years, and retires despite large shareholders requesting him to stay on, said GN in its announcement.
Continued speculation lately naming Demant as possible merger party
In mid-January the Danish weekly economics publication Økonomisk Ugebrev reported that Danske Bank, the largest bank in Denmark, had issued an analysis identifying GN as a potential acquisition target. This was based on a view of great price potential in the share in GN Store Nord.
But it is the intensity of recent speculation by the leading Danish health market observer MedWatch that tickles expectations that the market will see merger activity involving GN in the near future. Repeated rumour stories running from this health medium have based speculation around another hearing aid giant, Demant, being the party interested in GN.
Some of this speculation arises from MedWatch noting that a proposed GN board member, Klaus Holse, has ties to William Demant Invest GEO. GN dismissed the connection.
But, in a separate analysis piece, it was then argued by MedWatch that the GN board shake-up and disappearance of Wold-Olsen, would pave the way for this large consolidation within Denmark.
Nordea Bank adds to speculation
Meanwhile, February has opened with no let-up of the acquisition rumour. Another Nordic financial services group, Nordea, has estimated the chance of acquisition of GN Group "within a foreseeable future is very high."
For its part, GN has stated to Audiology Worldnews that it "cannot confirm" any moves related to acquisition of the group, and that it does not comment on rumours.
GN's long history in communications
The GN Group is proud of its 150+ year history as an innovator in communications, which began in 1869 when C.F.Tietgen set up the Denmark HQ of the Great Northern Telegraph Company, quickly establishing the first telegraphic connection between China and the rest of the world.
In 1943, the group established Danavox, a Danish hearing aid development pioneer. The years 2000 to 2005 saw ReSound, Beltone, Interton, and Jabra join GN. Most recently, GN Hearing was ready at the start-line for over-the-counter hearing aids through its Jabra Enhance Plus, and in October 2022 GN rebranded Lively, an online teleaudiology purchase it made in 2021, giving it the name Jabra Enhance. So there is a lot of business and heritage on the table in any merger deal.
Source: Globenewswire/MedWatch/Økonomisk Ugebrev