PARIS (AFP) – Ray-Ban sunglasses maker EssilorLuxottica said on Tuesday it would go forward with its purchase of Dutch optical retailer GrandVision.
The closing of the deal today will bring to an end a nearly two-year saga including demands from regulators and arbitration between the companies.
“After assessing all our options, we have made the decision to proceed with the completion of the deal without further delay,” Chief Executive Officer Francesco Milleri said in a statement.
“The strategic rationale of the transaction remains strong and unchanged,” he added. But the purchase price of EUR28.42 per share is considerably above Tuesday’s EUR24.70 closing price for GrandVision shares.
French lens-manufacturer Essilor and Italy’s Luxottica, which owns Ray-Ban and Oakley sunglasses, merged in 2018 to create a new global giant in the sector.
In the summer of 2019 the newly merged company announced its intention to acquire GrandVision, giving it a much bigger retail presence. However, European Union (EU) competition regulators worried that by acquiring a greater retail footprint, EssilorLuxottica could have limited the access of rival opticians to its branded eyewear products.
They only approved the purchase on condition 350 shops in Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands were sold off.
The coronavirus pandemic also delayed the deal as EssilorLuxottica felt GrandVision had not provided it sufficient information on how it was affecting its business.
The matter was taken to arbitration, which just ruled in EssilorLuxotica’s favour.