French lensmaker Essilor International agreed to buy Luxottica Group, the maker of Ray-Ban sunglasses, for about 22.8 billion euros in stock, combining the largest manufacturer and retailer in eyewear.
Leonardo Del Vecchio, who created Luxottica in 1961 and controls 62 percent of its stock, will be executive chairman and chief executive officer of the combined business, which will be named EssilorLuxottica, the companies said Monday in a statement. Essilor CEO Hubert Sagnieres, 61, will be executive vice chairman and deputy CEO with powers equal to Del Vecchio’s. Essilor shares gained as much as 19 percent while Luxottica rose as much as 15 percent.Four years after talks began, the 81-year-old Italian billionaire said he’s achieving his dream of combining the two businesses, creating one company that’s strong in lenses, frames and eyeglass retailing. The deal also solves a protracted succession puzzle for Luxottica, which has had difficulty retaining top management, with two CEOs resigning in 2014. Del Vecchio has said he didn’t want to bring any of his six children into the company.
“This operation would be a perfect fit on paper as both groups are leading their respective categories,” said Cedric Rossi, an analyst at Bryan Garnier “Nevertheless, two main question marks remain at this stage: Essilor Luxottica might face antitrust barriers, and management appointments in newcos are quite complicated.”
Full Content: Bloomberg
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