Safilo Group Announces Acquisition of 70 Percent of Blenders Eyewear

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PADUA, Italy and SAN DIEGO, Calif.—Safilo Group has announced the acquisition of a 70 percent stake in the equity of Blenders Eyewear, a California-based digitally native eyewear brand that has built an advanced e-commerce platform through social media. Currently, Blenders Eyewear generates approximately 95 percent of its business through its proprietary direct-to-consumer e-commerce platform. The brand has also recently opened its first flagship store in San Diego. Safilo Group purchased this stake from the company’s founding entrepreneur and full owner Chase Fisher.

Blenders Eyewear is inspired by California’s active lifestyle and focuses on Millennial and Gen Z customers, both male and female. The company has fueled its rapid growth through social media marketing strategies, partnering with influencers, athletes and product collaborations.

In a press release, Safilo Group said that in 2019 Blenders Eyewear expects to reach profitable net sales of approximately USD 42 million, all generated in the U.S. and sales are up around 40 percent compared to the previous year and with a 3-year CAGR of 175 percent.


Safilo acquired the 70 percent controlling interest in the company, based on a total value on a cash-and- debt free basis (Enterprise Value for 100 percent of the company) equal to USD 90 million. The cash consideration to be paid at closing is subject to customary price adjustments. The closing of the transaction is subject to conditions precedent including some related to the activities of Blenders Eyewear.

Chase Fisher will retain full ownership of 30 percent of the shares and, pursuant to the share purchase agreement, these remaining equity interests are subject to customary reciprocal put and call options which can be exercised starting from 2023. Chase Fisher will remain CEO of Blenders Eyewear which will continue to run out of its San Diego home.

The acquisition will be financed through available cash and credit facilities, and through a loan provided by Safilo’s reference shareholder, Multibrands Italy B.V., controlled by HAL Holding N.V, for an amount of €30 million which the company aims to draw for the closing of the transaction. The transaction executed with Multibrands Italy B.V. represents a “transaction with a related party of greater importance” as the equivalent-value relevance ratio (i.e. the ratio between the counter value of the loan and the consolidated shareholders’ equity as at June 30, 2019) is above the threshold of 5 percent, Safilo Group said in an announcment.





 
The execution of the loan was approved by Safilo’s board of directors on Dec. 1, 2019. The effects of the acquisition will be reflected in the new business plan that Safilo will disclose to the market on Dec. 11, 2019.

Safilo CEO Angelo Trocchia said: “We are thrilled to welcome to Safilo an inspiring brand like Blenders Eyewear, a fast-growing e-commerce-powered business at the forefront of the latest direct to consumer and omni-channel capabilities, which will enrich our proprietary portfolio with new strong skills and a particular focus on our key U.S. market.”

“Blenders is a disruptive, digitally native business model, founded on the principle of providing high quality lifestyle and active eyewear, at affordable prices and with engaging brand content. A strong proposition rooted in a rapid expansion of brand awareness among its natural, fast growing customer audience of Millennials and Generation Z. Blenders is entrenched in today’s social sphere and is experiencing significant social media success.”

“With Blenders, we aim to foster and accelerate our e-commerce and omni-channel strategy, leveraging on the digital DNA and proven capabilities of the brand and putting Safilo’s global capabilities at its disposal to enable global expansion of the brand.”

Chase Fisher, founder and CEO of Blenders Eyewear, said, “This marks a huge step forward for Blenders and we’re excited to be part of Safilo to reach a wider marketplace. Safilo’s product know-how and global distribution capabilities are the perfect complement to our digitally native business model, opening up worldwide expansion potential. We’re on a mission to build a thriving global community that inspires people to live in forward motion.”