Luxury Optical Holdings Acquires Robert Marc Eyewear

By

Robert Marc.

LAS VEGAS—Last week, on Friday Sept. 12, 2014, Luxury Optical Holdings (LOH) acquired privately held, luxury eyewear company, Robert Marc Eyewear and its wholesale and retail subsidiaries. Luxury Optical Holdings is owned by the investment firms aPriori Capital Partners and Goode Partners, LLC. The terms of the deal were undisclosed.

When asked about future acquisitions by LOH, Ron Beegle, a director of LOH and a co-founder and operating partner at Goode Partners, told VMail, "We've had a busy two years on the acquisition front. We've added some wonderful stores and tremendous talent to our company. It will take some time to fully integrate the Robert Marc business into LOH. That said, we will continue to acquire small chains of stores as well as single store companies. We have a very strong operational platform and now, an even stronger management team. The key is we will remain very disciplined in our approach to new acquisitions."

Robert Marc Eyewear has distribution in more than 20 countries with 500 points of sale worldwide, in exclusive dealers throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. The company operates eight Robert Marc retail stores in New York City and is the exclusive North American distributor for Lunor, a prestigious German luxury eyewear brand.

This brings the total number of Luxury Optical Holdings’ retail stores throughout the U.S. to 58 and follows three other recent acquisitions of luxury optical locations— Specs Optical in January 2014, a single location that marked the company’s entry into the Minneapolis market; Opticians 3 in the upscale Boston suburb of Chestnut Hill in December 2013; and Leonard Opticians in September 2013; all previously reported by VMail. The company also acquired several other major luxury retailers in their earlier years, including Au Courant Opticians in 2008 and three other high-end retailers (Lunettes, Morgenthal Frederics and Optical Fashion Center) when the company formed in 2006.

Glenn Reisch, the president of LOH, said, “Since our inception, we have been focused on luxury retailing and developing our own Morgenthal Frederics brand of eyewear. The addition of Robert Marc gives us an unrivaled portfolio of luxury optical retail stores in New York City. Equally important, the Robert Marc acquisition will expand our reach into the branded global wholesale market.”

Robert Marc, founder of Robert Marc Eyewear, will join LOH as chief creative officer. "Robert Marc is an enormously talented eyewear designer and very disciplined business person,” said Beegle. “LOH's president, Glenn Reisch, and our head merchant and Morgenthal Frederics designer, Jeff Press, know Robert well, and they have great respect for him. Robert and his team will be a wonderful addition to, what I believe, is already one of the strongest management teams in the industry. As chief creative officer, I'm certain that Robert will make a substantial contribution to our company.”

“Robert Marc and Morgenthal Frederics are well-respected brands known for their long history of product excellence, quality and consumer loyalty,” said Robert Marc. “We are very enthusiastic about working with Luxury Optical Holdings and accelerating our growth plans. While our strategy will continue to focus on selective distribution and discreet branding that is fundamental to the desirability and exclusivity of Robert Marc products, Luxury Optical Holdings will help us to further develop the Robert Marc brand, expand our retail relationships, and strengthen our operational capabilities."

In 1981, Robert Marc opened his first shop, which was considered to be one of the very first high-end boutiques to bring eyeglasses to the forefront of fashion. Over the years, he has catered to a wide range of celebrity clients, and his designs have turned up everywhere from the most fashionable metropolitan streets and designer runway shows to major motion pictures and television productions. For the past 28 years, Morgenthal Frederics has been creating eyewear designs for the most recognizable faces in the world. Lunor eyewear is inspired by vintage eyewear and combines traditional and modern design elements to create timeless styles of superior quality.

Beegle told VMail, "As soon as we can build the necessary levels of inventory, we will begin to sell Robert Marc and Lunor product in most all of our non-Morgenthal Frederics stores throughout the country. We don't anticipate adding Morgenthal Frederics to Robert Marc stores’ product assortment, or Robert Marc eyewear in Morgenthal Frederics stores, as we plan to protect the exclusivity of both brands in New York City."

Susan Schnabel, co-head of aPriori Capital Partners, said, “The acquisition is very strategic because it enables Luxury Optical Holdings to expand into international markets and wholesale, and establishes a dominant retail presence in New York City, a key luxury market.”

Beegle added, "The acquisition of Robert Marc Eyewear is very strategic, and actually transformational for LOH. First, the addition of Robert Marc's eight stores in New York City give LOH a dominant presence there alongside our existing Morgenthal Frederics and Leonard Opticians stores. In addition, Robert Marc is a very strong brand, and they operate a global wholesale business. As soon as prudently possible, we intend to leverage Robert Marc's wholesale infrastructure to sell the Morgenthal Frederics brand throughout the world.”