Positive Future for Freedom Innovations set
Transaction with Proteor approved by U.S. Federal Trade Commission and closed today
Ottobock, the internationally operating medical technology company, welcomes the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) final decision on the future of Ottobock’s prior acquisition of Freedom Innovations (FI). Today, Ottobock has formally closed a transaction with French orthopaedic technology specialist Proteor SAS, which has acquired significant assets of Freedom Innovations. The corresponding purchase agreements were previously signed in September, but subject to FTC approval.
"For all parties involved and especially for the employees of Freedom Innovations, the final solution is good news after several years of uncertainty and sets the future for Freedom Innovations under the roof of both Proteor and Ottobock,” says Philipp Schulte-Noelle, CEO of Ottobock. "I am especially grateful for the very constructive dialogue with the FTC in recent months and the engagement of Proteor."
“I would like to thank all Freedom Innovations employees for their continued dedication, focus, hard work, and professionalism during this unpredictable time. We look forward to coming together as one family,” says Edouard Archambeaud, member of the Board of Directors of Proteor. “I would also like to thank Ottobock for working diligently towards a successful outcome and the FTC for their vote of confidence in our acquisition.”
The transaction allows Ottobock to strengthen its product portfolio in the field of prosthetic feet as it will retain certain Freedom Innovations foot products. Specifically, the transaction contemplates Ottobock keeping the Kintrol K2 hydraulic foot-ankle prosthesis, the Maverick fiberglass product family and other carbon feet expanding the company’s product portfolio.
Proteor will acquire the microprocessor-controlled knee Plié3, the Kinnex and Kinterra ankles, certain prosthetic feet and other infrastructure from FI. Proteor will also receive the intellectual property rights related to these transferred products and the Freedom Innovations brand and take over the R&D activities of FI.
With this transaction, Ottobock satisfies FTC’s order to divest certain assets from Freedom Innovations. As background: Ottobock acquired FI in September 2017 with the goal of strengthening the prosthetic product choices and technology for the benefit of amputees and clinicians. The FTC filed a complaint against the acquisition and prohibited the integration of FI by Ottobock. An application for a final approval was filed with the FTC on 9 October 2020. This was followed by a 30-day public comment period. This period ended without any significant objections. The final decision was made by the FTC's highest body, the FTC Commissioners on 30 November 2020.