Share

Freedom Innovations bought

by foreign competitor

 

By Robert Stevens

Managing editor

Jan. 25, 2018

 

GUNNISON—Freedom Innovations, a prosthetics company based in California with facilities all over the world including Gunnison City, has been purchased by one of its foreign competitors.

However, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is delaying the total acquisition with an antitrust investigation.

Freedom Innovations employs more than 150 people around the world.

Although the company’s headquarters is in Irvine, Calif., Gunnison City is home to its manufacturing and research facility. Its European headquarters are based in Enschede, Netherlands.

The acquisition was initiated in September 2017 states a Jan. 10 press release from Freedom Innovations.

The buyer is Otto Bock HealthCare GmbH, a German global market leader in technical orthopedics. (GmbH means it is a German close equivalent to a private limited liability company.)

The firm was founded by Otto Bock, and the company is commonly referred to as Otto Bock and as Ottobock or OttoBock.

According to the press release, at the time of the acquisition, antitrust clearance from the FTC was not required.

But an antitrust investigation is now underway, and, in accordance with a three-way agreement between Freedom Innovations, Ottobock and the FTC, the companies will continue to operate independently until the matter is resolved.

“Leaders at Freedom and Ottobock are continuing to seek resolution directly with the FTC to settle this matter,” said Freedom Innovations Chairman Maynard Carkhuff in the release.

Freedom Innovations was, up until now, owned by private equity company Health Evolution Partners.

The two prosthetic manufacturing giants signed a binding purchase agreement on Sept. 22 in Irvine, Calif.

“Unique opportunities simply have to be taken,” said Hans Georg Näder, president of Ottobock. “Together, Ottobock and Freedom Innovations—the No. 1 and the No. 3 on the American market—will benefit from their combined sales power and portfolios.”

He added, “Integrating the company into the global Ottobock family offers significant advantages; we will be able to generate synergies and take Freedom Innovations to the next level thanks to the strength of our global sales network. Users will benefit from an even broader spectrum of innovative systems in prosthetics and a full pipeline of new products, thanks to our combined development expertise. Employees at Freedom Innovations will become part of a large, successful company. And our growth strategy will be bolstered by a great brand that will also further strengthen our presence in North America.”

Freedom Innovations is No. 3 in the field of prosthetics in the U.S.

Sales in North America account for three quarters of the California company’s turnover.

More information is available at the Freedom Innovations website at www.freedom-innovations.com.