From the Editor: A Time of Convergence
Forces working to reshape the business of dentistry that were in play last year promise to continue throughout 2015, as companies grapple for market share or form strategic alliances to gain access to new markets. Consider the consolidation dynamics among large companies looking to gain a stronger position in the global implant market—a flurry of activity no doubt spurred by projections that it will double in value by 2025 to $6 billion. Most notable was the acquisition of Nobel Biocare by US healthcare group Danaher Corporation for an agreed-upon $2.2 billion in September. This acquisition has now made Danaher one of the largest players in the implant market after the corporation’s Sybron Implant Solutions purchased low-cost manufacturer Implant Direct 4 years ago.
Earlier in 2014, other manufacturers in this market also went shopping. In April Zimmer Holdings agreed to buy Biomet 3i for a reported $13+ billion, changing the name of the new company to Zimmer Biomet to best reflect the strengths of both entities. And in late 2013, Henry Schein secured a deal to buy a 60% stake in Biohorizons to bolster its position in the implant market, after gaining entry with the purchase of Camlog Biotechnologies AG back in 2004. No doubt this segment will continue to remain volatile with consolidators pursuing small- and medium-sized players in what is still a fragmented market.
Activity, however, was not restricted to the implant market and the biggest players. Medium-sized companies also joined the fray, forming synergistic partnerships and/or buying smaller companies to give them stronger positions in specialty markets. Among the new partnerships that were formed, the one forged between Amann Girrbach (AG) and Custom Automated Prosthetics (CAP) is the most recent (see page 10 for an exclusive interview with the principals). As announced December 8, CAP is now the distributor of the entire Amann Girrbach line of products in the US.
Another major distribution agreement was announced by Zahn Dental at the IDT | Collaboration 2014 event. Zahn is now the exclusive distributor of Glidewell’s BruxZir and Obsidian milling materials. This agreement further strengthens Zahn Dental’s North American distribution dominance, along with the acquisition of Lincoln Dental earlier in the year by Zahn’s parent company, Henry Schein Inc. Finally, in the fall of 2014, a partnership was cast between Bego and Ivoclar Vivadent for providing customers of its Wieland Precision Technologies production center with access to digital alloy options through Bego’s selective laser-melting technology.
These are only the major, publicly announced acquisitions and partnership agreements among manufacturers forged last year. Many others took place in all sectors of the dental industry, and new acquisitions, mergers, and strategic partnerships are being positioned for 2015 and beyond as the dental industry, like so many others, undergoes structural changes.