Luxottica and Essilor to Announce Merger Tomorrow in Deal Valued at €50 Billion Euros, According to Reports

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PARIS and MILAN—Two optical giants, Luxottica (NYSE:LUX) and Essilor (Reuters: ESSI.PA), have agreed to merge in a mega deal that would reshape the international eyewear industry, according to reports published tonight in the Financial Times, Reuters and other financial sites. The two companies are expected to announce the proposed merger before the European stock markets open tomorrow.

The deal would create a company valued at €50 billion, combined sales of about €14 billion and 130,000 employees. That company would be a global powerhouse with involvement in virtually every sector of the optical industry, from retail and wholesale to frames, spectacle lenses and managed vision care. The deal would combine Luxottica, the world's leading consumer eyewear group and owner of Ray-Ban, Oakley, LensCrafters and Sunglass Hut, with Essilor, the top manufacturer of spectacle lenses whose brands include Varilux and Transitions Optical. Leonardo Del Vecchio, Luxottica’s 81-year-old billionaire founder and Italy’s richest man, the Financial Times reports, citing a source informed about the deal, will become the largest single shareholder in the merged group and will control 31 per cent of voting rights.

Del Vecchio and Essilor’s chairman and chief executive Hubert Sagnieres, 60, will equally share executive powers. Del Vecchio will become executive chairman of the merged group and Sagnieres will become executive vice chairman. The merged group will be listed in Paris, a banker familiar with the matter also told the Financial Times.

VMail will report more details of the deal as soon as they become available.