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German court blocks hearing aid manufacturer takeover bid

Swiss hearing aid manufacturer Sonova may give up on its bid for a Danish competitor after a German court ruled that it would not dismiss a regulator's decision to block the deal

Swiss hearing aid manufacturer Sonova may give up on its bid for a Danish competitor after a German court ruled that it would not dismiss a regulator's decision to block the deal.

The Duesseldorf regional court refused to issue an injunction against a decision by Germany's anti-cartel agency blocking Sonova's CHF 3.3bn (USD 2.8bn) bid for Denmark-headquartered GN Store Nord ReSound Group.

The German Federal Cartel Office previously blocked the deal in April 2007 saying it was concerned it would lead to a monopoly in the German market.

GN said the decision was a departure from previous case law and, in a statement, said that the ruling would effectively give the German Federal Cartel Office unfettered power to prohibit mergers without effective judicial review as transactions could not be kept in limbo for years awaiting the outcome of main proceedings.

GN added that if the deal was abandoned, it would look at all options including, but not limited, to a listing of GN Store Nord into two separate listed entities.

8th August 2007

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