Just a few months ago, Sennheiser announced it was looking for somebody to buy its Consumer product business—including its popular audiophile-grade headphones. It didn't take long for it to find one, either, as the company has announced that Sonova, a Swiss hearing aid company, will take over the reins later this year.
The €200 million ($243m) deal will earn Sonova ownership of the Sennheiser brand and product lineup, subject to a successful transfer by the end of 2021. Sennheiser will use this opportunity to focus primarily on its pro lineup.
It's unlikely you'll see a Sonova HD 800 S replacing the flagship Sennheiser HD 800 S on the shelves, though. The deal includes a license for future use of the Sennheiser brand, which means the Sennheiser branding is sure to stick around as the face of the consumer headphone biz.
Furthermore, the two have agreed on a permanent cooperation clause as a part of the deal. What that means for the design of future products is unclear, but if it can keep future Sennheiser consumer products close to the Sennheiser heritage that'll be to everyone's benefit. Sennheiser's pristine reputation in the audiophile market has been earned with consistently decent high-end headphones over the years, and it would be a huge shame to see that slip at all.
Sennheiser also employs roughly 600 people in its consumer division. A complete transfer of operations is intended as a part of the new deal, so that should mean all of these employees make the switch to Sonova.
You can read what co-CEOs Andreas and Daniel Sennheiser, third-generation family owners of the audio company, think about the move in this message on the Sennheiser website.
"We couldn't have asked for a better partner than Sonova for our Consumer Electronics business," Daniel Sennheiser, co-CEO at Sennheiser, says. "Sonova is a strong, well-positioned company. Not only do we share a passion for unique audio experiences, we also share very similar corporate values. This gives us an excellent foundation for a successful future together."
This isn't the first time that Sennheiser has licensed its brand to another. In fact, its gaming headsets, notably the GSP lineup, were made and manufactured under a joint venture between Sennheiser and Demant, then known as Sennheiser Communications. This was dissolved in 2020, and led to the formation of EPOS as a standalone headset brand offering both new EPOS-branded headphones and co-branded legacy Sennheiser ones.