The European Union imposes conditions on EssilorLuxottica's acquisition of Grandvision (the parent company of Pearle and Eye Wish): the merged company will have to divest stores in Italy and in the Netherlands and/or France.
Fear of abuse of power
Last summer, Dutch investment group HAL accepted a 7.2 billion euro bid for Grandvision, a transaction that was immediately criticised. According to the EU, the takeover would create a too dominant player on the European eyewear market: EssilorLuxottica already has strong brands such as Ray-Ban and Varilux in its portfolio.
Moreover, the company owns almost the entire production and distribution chain, from the production of glasses and frames, over eye measuring devices to the shops. This could lead to reduced competition and even abuse of power, it is feared. Competitors had also expressed concerns about this.
That is why Europe now requires the merged group to sell stores in Italy and in another European country - France or the Netherlands, the Financial Times reports on the basis of well-informed sources: "This transaction cannot be cleared without concessions." EssilorLuxottica did not wish to respond officially, but the eyewear giant reportedly argues that a sale during this period would be far too difficult, due to the corona pandemic. But time is running out: by 20 August at the latest, the EU must decide whether the deal can take place.