Marcolin SpA and Affiliates, Backed by PAI Partners, Signs Agreement With HVHC for Purchase of Viva International Group

Giovanni Zoppas, CEO of Marcolin.
MILAN, ITALY and SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS— Marcolin SpA and its affiliates, backed by leading European private equity firm PAI Partners together with HVHC Inc., the holding company for Visionworks of America, Inc., Davis Vision, Inc. and Viva Optique, Inc. ( Viva International), today announced the signing of a stock purchase agreement under which Marcolin agrees to acquire Viva International.

The acquisition, which is subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions (including required domestic and international governmental approvals) is expected to become effective in the next few months, a joint statement said. The purchase price was undisclosed.

Marcolin “brings a rich history and a strong financial background to Viva International,” the statement noted. Marcolin was founded in 1961, and had approximately $282 million in sales in 2012. It is backed by PAI Partners, which acquired a majority shareholding in the company in a deal that closed in December 2012, and which has extensive experience in the consumer sector. “Following the acquisition, the combined businesses will be well positioned to offer customers differentiated value in the industry,” the statement added.

Giovanni Zoppas, CEO of Marcolin said, “We are very pleased to announce the acquisition of Viva International. The combination of the two companies will deliver significant extra value for our customers and brands, creating a truly global player in the industry as we look to expand our footprint with the support of PAI Partners.”

David Holmberg, HVHC’s president and CEO.
David Holmberg, HVHC’s president and CEO stated, “We are very excited about the possibilities that this acquisition will bring to Viva’s customers and we look forward to developing a strong, strategic business relationship with Marcolin.”

Separately, Holmberg told VMail, “In the near future, Marcolin and Viva will file the necessary government forms regarding the acquisition to gain the required approvals. In the meantime, we will operate Viva as we always have. During this interim period, I have asked Sherry Lay to step back in as interim president of Viva. Antonio Bortuzzo [who joined the company earlier this year] will be leaving the company. We thank Antonio for his time here and wish he and his family nothing but the best in their future endeavors.”

Viva’s Somerville, N.J. operation will remain with the new organization. Marcolin and Viva plan to continue to use their respective facilities.

HVHC was advised in this transaction by Sonenshine Partners; Marcolin was advised by Lazard and Goldman Sachs.

HVHC Inc. is a privately-held, for-profit holding company and the vertically integrated organization is the third largest provider of managed vision care products and services, and the third largest operator of specialty optical retail stores, in the U.S.

Marcolin, is a leading global designer, manufacturer and distributor of branded sunglasses and prescription frames. The world’s fourth largest eyewear wholesale payer by revenue, Marcolin has a broad portfolio of 21 premium licensed brands that appeal to different demographics across all five continents. In 2012, the company sold about 5.5 million eyeglasses with over 700 models. The portfolio of brands under license includes: 55DSL, Balenciaga, Cover Girl Eyewear, Diesel Shades, DSquared2 Eyewear, Hogan Eyewear, Just Cavelli Eyewear, Kenneth Cole New York, Kenneth Cole Reaction, Montblanc Eyewear, Roberto Cavelli Eyewear, Swarovski, Timberland, Tod’s Eyewear and Tom Ford Eyewear. The Groups own brands include Marcolin and W Eyewear.

Viva International Group is a global leader in high-quality, fashion eyewear. Its portfolio consists of a full spectrum of fashion and lifestyle brands including Bongo, Candie’s, Catherine Deneuve, Gant, Guess, Harley-Davidson, Marciano, Rampage, Skechers and William Rast, as well as value names Viva, Magic Clip and Savvy. The company has five direct sales offices in the United Kingdom, France, Brazil, Canada and Hong Kong. Joint ventures and direct sales forces are also maintained in Australia, Austria, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands and Switzerland.