Last month the European Commission announced that they were pushing back the deadline for their review of the $54 billion merger of French lens manufacturer Essilor and the Italian eyewear brand Luxottica.
In September 2016, the European Commission opened an investigation into the proposed merger, citing concerns around the impact it would have on competition in ophthalmic lenses and eyewear. Initially they had set a deadline for their review of the end of the year, but this has now been pushed back to February 26th, 2018.
Many brands in both the lenses and eyewear markets have expressed serious concerns over the proposed merger, saying it would give the brands far too much power, particularly over pricing and retailer leverage. Both Essilor and Luxottica have played down these concerns however, suggesting they are confident the merger will go ahead as planned.
The Luxottica Group is the largest eyewear company in the world, and is based in Milan, Italy. They are what is known as a vertically integrated company, meaning they design, manufacture, distribute and retails their portfolio of brands and products. Currently it owns retail brands including Sunglasses Hut, LensCrafters, Sears Optical, Pearle Vision and Glasses.com. Their brand portfolio includes numerous high profile and popular names, producing the likes of Ray Ban glasses and Oakley prescription sunglasses. They also make sunglasses and prescription frames for designer brands including Chanel, Prada, Burberry, Versace, DKNY and numerous others.
Essilor is a French company that produces optical equipment and ophthalmic lenses. It is also behind the Varilux brand, the world’s first progressive lens. Currently, they operate in over 100 countries on five different continents and is the world’s largest manufacturer of lenses.