The audiology and hearing aid industry remains a hot sector for acquisitions, fueled by two forces: continued corporate appetite for expansion, and the recent increase in young Au.D.’s seeking ownership opportunities. At Caber Hill, we work across all levels of the industry, but we spend most of our time working with private practice owners as they prepare for their exit. The following describes our perspective on the climate for buying and selling a private practice in the United States today.

2014 was another strong year for transaction activity, and total transaction value (e.g. dollars spent acquiring practices) has remained fairly consistent over the past several years. 2012 was a very active year in terms of both total transaction value and total volume (e.g. number of completed transactions), as the impending change in capital gains tax rates spurred practice owners to sell prior to an anticipated tax hike, and several corporate buyers were readily available to facilitate a sale. In 2013, overall buyer activity slowed and transaction volume fell, but two very large transactions (AccuQuest and Hear Better Centers) inflated total deal value. In 2014, the opposite occurred, with transaction volume increasing but total transaction value slipping to below $100M for the first time in recent years. Sonus led the charge in 2014. As Amplifon elected to abandon its franchise program, it called in the notes of several franchisees who were left with a choice between selling and declaring bankruptcy. Most sold, capitalizing on interest from numerous corporate buyers. Overall, 2014 was another relatively strong year for sellers, and we enter 2015 with considerable momentum.

Now for the standard disclaimer: Our estimates consider only the acquisition of privately owned audiology or hearing aid dispensing practices in the United States and do not measure transactions involving other entities within the industry (e.g. Siemens, which is discussed later in this report but excluded from the value estimate)....

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