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All eyes on Luxottica, Essilor merger

Italy's Luxottica, maker of the Ray-Ban spectacles, and French ophthalmic lenses producer Essilor have agreed to merge. It's one of Europe's largest cross-border tie-ups, shaking up the eyewear industry.

Luxottica and Essilor said Monday they had agreed to a 46-billion-euro ($49-billion) merger with a view to creating a global powerhouse in the eyewear industry.

The deal brings together the world's top spectacles maker with brands such as Ray-Ban and Oakley, and the world's leading manufacturer of ophthalmic lenses.

Luxottica and Essilor, which have a market value of around 24 billion euros and 22 billion euros respectively, had been exploring a tie-up for years.

Lucrative markets

The merged entity is expected to log annual revenues of 15 billion euros and will have a combined workforce of 140,000 employees in 150 countries.

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Under the terms of the merger, Luxottica's 81-year-old founder, Leonardo Del Vecchio, will take a stake of between 31 and 38 percent in the merged group through his family holding Delfin. He'll be the CEO and executive chairman of the group.

The French lens maker will launch a mandatory exchange offer on all remaining Luxottica shares, with the aim of delisting the Luxottica's shares.

The fast-growing eyewear market is expected to keep expanding at a strong pace in the years ahead because of an aging population and increasing awareness of eye care and vision problems, with Latin America and Asia seen by analysts as key markets for growth.

hg/jd (Reuters, dpa)

 

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