What you need to know about the merger between DENTSPLY and SIRONA

September 16, 2015

Of course, Dr. Flucke wasn’t the only DPR Editorial Advisory Board member interested in yesterday’s news. Before leaving to attend the CEREC 30 conference in Las Vegas, where Sirona is sure to discuss the merger at length, Tija Hunter, CDA, EFDA, CDIA, MADAA, admitted she was “shocked” when she heard the news but quickly added that she was very intrigued by the possibilities that lie ahead.

From Wall Street to our Editorial Advisory Board, a big announcement shook the dental industry on Tuesday. Here are the facts and what it means to you.

Dr. John Flucke, Dental Products Report’s Chief Dental Editor and Technology Editor, summed it up quite nicely in a message to me after a news flash bolted across our computers yesterday afternoon, “The dental industry was just rocked by the announcement of a merger between DENTSPLY and SIRONA.”

In a move that surprised many in the dental industry, the boards of directors for both DENTSPLY International, Inc., and Sirona Dental Systems, Inc., unanimously approved a definitive merger which the companies claim will result in the world’s largest manufacturer of professional dental products and technologies with roughly 15,000 employees globally. It’s expected the transaction will be completed early next year.

The combined company will be called DENTSPLY SIRONA and trade on the NASDAQ under the symbol XRAY. DENTSPLY SIRONA’s Global headquarters will be located in York, Pa., the location of DENTSPLY’s current headquarters, while the international headquarters will be located in Salzburg, Austria.

“We are excited about bringing together two industry leaders,” said Bret W. Wise, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DENTSPLY. “DENTSPLY SIRONA will offer a comprehensive line of solutions to more effectively meet the needs of dental professionals all over the world and advance patient care.

You can read the full news release by clicking here.

So what will this mean for dental professionals? We asked Dr. Flucke for his take.

“Like any good marriage or partnership, each company makes up for the weaknesses of the other,” Dr. Flucke explained. “Dentsply has outstanding materials with products spread across multiple corporate divisions and encompassing multiple aspects of clinical dentistry. Sirona brings a strong hardware knowledge base with devices that span the gamut from radiography to CAD/CAM to lab equipment.

“There is minimal overlap of technologies between the two companies meaning that their synergies should be much greater than their similarities. This means that the new company has tons to offer doctors with very little repetition or redundancy of products and services.

“It also means that two companies known for their R&D have now joined forces. The combined abilities of the scientists they employ should ensure tremendous growth and development of their product lines for years to come.”

Dental Lab Products (DLP) editorial advisory board member Carol Pilmer notes that previous business moves at DENTSPLY didn't make much of a difference for the lab world. "It seems that DENTSPLY's acquisitions haven't really affected the way any of the companies they have acquired conduct business," Pilmer said. "They seem to still work independently providing the services they provided before the mergers. For example, if we need an Atlantis implant, we call the same rep we have had for years and things seem to proceed the same as they always have with no noticeable changes."

The news was not only shocking for Dr. Flucke, but also represented a ray of hope for him in what has been a constant battle for him as one of dental technology’s leading voices.

“Overall, I’m impressed with this news,” he said. “I’m also hoping that it means Sirona will begin to embrace open architecture in their products as they are one of the only dental tech companies to still be embracing a ‘walled garden’ approach to their products.”

That's a hope echoed by Dental Lab Products editorial advisory board member Elizabeth Curran. "Hopefully [the merger] will mean open architecture for the CEREC and a bigger selection of implants and icat scans from other systems," she said.

More from Dr. Flucke:
How to ensure your entire team is on board with technology

Read more and watch a video on the next page...

 

Of course, Dr. Flucke wasn’t the only DPR Editorial Advisory Board member interested in yesterday’s news. Before leaving to attend the CEREC 30 conference in Las Vegas, where Sirona is sure to discuss the merger at length, Tija Hunter, CDA, EFDA, CDIA, MADAA, admitted she was “shocked” when she heard the news but quickly added that she was very intrigued by the possibilities that lie ahead.

“Wow, this is big news for dentistry,” she said. “You have two huge dental companies who, on their own, bring innovation, amazing technology, and quality products to dentistry. Together, I believe the possibilities are endless. I'm excited to see where they will go from here.”

More from Tija Hunter and other dental assistants:
Products that are worth their weight in gold

From our vantage point, here are the three key takeaways from the announcement…

1. A new “total solutions provider” is born. Much in the same way that the KaVo Kerr Group burst on the scene in recent years offering multiple brands under one entity, DENTSPLY SIRONA has put together materials and technology in the hopes of providing a “one-stop shop” for dental professionals. Some of the nation’s leading brands, from CEREC to Aquasil to Cavitron, are now under one umbrella. It's unclear how this might impact Sirona's partner relationship with companies like Patterson Dental. "Sirona has had a pretty strong relationship with Patterson Dental in the past, [and I'm] uncertain what that will look like after the merger," noted Pilmer. 

The merger also has the potential to affect day-to-day workflows. In the dental laboratory world, for instance, the combined forces of CEREC and DENTSPLY could change how those cases are handled. "The CEREC Connect helps to direct work from CEREC docs back to small- and medium-size labs; [now] maybe the work will be redirected to a DENTSPLY milling center," Curran said. "I think technicians with CAD/CAM skills will continue to be a hot commodity, [but] where they work might change. CEREC technicians are valued in operatories, and labs of all sizes."

2. R&D will be key. Both companies pride themselves on not only being leaders in the industry, but leaders behind the scenes as well. The group estimates that 600 scientists and R&D personnel will now be working for the new giant. Combining the two companies’ R&D efforts could result in some very interesting product announcements in the near future.

3. They’ll also have the numbers on the streets as well. In addition to folks working behind the scenes on new products, DENTSPLY SIRONA is also saying they will now have “the industry’s largest sales and service infrastructure, supported by leading distributors.”

How did Wall Street react to the news? Watch the video below...

How exactly this will affect dental practices and dental laboratories around the country remains to be seen. However, one thing is certain … there will be a new resource for all dental professionals to examine whether a workflow using products and technologies from this singular company makes sense for them and their patients.