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CHARENTON-LE-PONT, France and SCHIPOL, The Netherlands—EssilorLuxottica (ISIN: FR0000121667) announced on Saturday morning in Europe that it started legal proceedings in the Netherlands to obtain information from takeover target GrandVision NV (Euronext: GVNV) on how it performed during the coronavirus crisis. In its July 18 statement, EssilorLuxottica said, "This is to assess the way GrandVision has managed the course of its business during the COVID-19 crisis, as well as the extent to which GrandVision has breached its obligations under the support agreement. Despite repeated requests, GrandVision has not provided this information on a voluntary basis, leaving EssilorLuxottica with no other option but to resort to legal proceedings."

GrandVision stated Saturday, "GrandVision strongly disagrees with EssilorLuxottica's demands and has full confidence that these claims will be rejected in court. GrandVision has also received notice from EssilorLuxottica claiming that GrandVision, in relation to the aforementioned COVID-19 actions, is in material breach of its obligations under the Support Agreement concluded in connection with the envisaged sale by HAL Optical Investments B.V. of its 76.72 percent ownership interest in GrandVision to EssilorLuxottica. GrandVision strongly disagrees with these claims and has responded accordingly. GrandVision continues to support EssilorLuxottica with the shared objective to obtain regulatory approval for the closure of the transaction within 12 to 24 months from the announcement date of July 31, 2019."

In its own statement issued on Sunday, July 19, HAL Holding said it "has been informed of the allegations by EssilorLuxottica that GrandVision would have materially breached obligations under the support agreement in relation to GrandVision’s actions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on its business and of the commencement of summary legal proceedings against GrandVision and HAL to gain access to additional information in respect thereof and HAL believes that these claims of EssilorLuxottica are without merit."

The deal between the two global companies was originally announced in July 2019, as VMAIL reported. The global coronavirus pandemic's impact on GrandVision's sales was part of that company's business update issued on June 18. And on June 23, GrandVision announced it had secured additional funding and an amendment to its credit facility

EssilorLuxottica’s €7.3 billion ($8.3 billion) takeover offer for the Dutch eyewear company is still facing a European antitrust review that may result in a call for concessions from both companies, as was previously reported. Separately, on Saturday, Reuters News reported that the European Commission's antitrust authorities have extended their investigation by a week to Aug. 27. This is the third extension since the Commission launched a full-scale investigation on concerns that the deal could harm competition. "The (European) Commission extended the deadline in agreement with the parties," the EU competition enforcer said in a statement to Reuters.