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Siemens to drop hearing aid unit sale plan

German industrial conglomerate Siemens has decided to scrap plans to sell its hearing aid unit because bids were too low, two sources familiar with the matter said.

The formal decision will be made in the next few days, most likely on Tuesday or Wednesday, they told Reuters on Monday, adding Siemens Healthcare chief executive Herman Requardt will inform staff in the course of the week.

Company sources have previously said Siemens was not willing to consider any bid below €2 billion ($2.75 billion).

The move means Siemens will now invest on its own in the hearing aid business over the next few years, the sources said.

A source had told Reuters this month that if the sale was called off, Siemens would have to invest around €600 million to grow its own dealership network and compete with rival Sonova.

Financial sources said private equity firms Cinven and Bain Capital as well as two consortiums were interested in the hearing aid unit.

One consortium consisted of private equity firm Permira, Nordic Capital, and German hearing aid maker Hansaton. The other group comprised KKR, Hellman & Friedman and Australian hearing aid producer Cochlear, the sources said. (Reuters)