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Ray-Ban Owner EssilorLuxottica Views GrandVision Acquisition

One of EssilorLuxottica's best known brands is Ray-Ban. The French-Italian company's eyewear empire also includes an array of designer brands, as well as U.S. shopping mall vision stores such as For Eyes, Target Optical, and Sears Optical.One of EssilorLuxottica's best known brands is Ray-Ban. The French-Italian company's eyewear empire also includes an array of designer brands, as well as U.S. shopping mall vision stores such as For Eyes, Target Optical, and Sears Optical.
One of EssilorLuxottica's best known brands is Ray-Ban. The French-Italian company's eyewear empire also includes an array of designer brands, as well as U.S. shopping mall vision stores such as For Eyes, Target Optical, and Sears Optical.Bloomberg/Contributor/Getty Images

Eyewear giant EssilorLuxottica SA is considering a takeover of smaller Dutch retailer GrandVision NV, which would vastly expand the French-Italian company’s global store network, according to people familiar with the situation.

Deliberations at EssilorLuxottica are at an early stage, and may not lead to a transaction, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

Shares of GrandVision rose as much as 11%, and traded up 8.7% late Wednesday, giving the company a market value of 5.9 billion euros ($6.6 billion). The French-Italian company’s stock fell as much as 1.5%.

By adding GrandVision, which sells prescription glasses, contact lenses and other eyecare products, the owner of Oakley and Ray-Ban would gain more than 7,000 stores in more than 40 countries. The Schiphol, Netherlands-based company is controlled by the HAL investment firm, with a 77% stake, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

GrandVision operates under retail brands including Brilleland and For Eyes. In addition to its well-known sunglass labels, EssilorLuxottica owns store chains like LensCrafters, Pearle Vision, Target Optical and Sears Optical. The company also has online retail outlets such as EyeBuy Direct and Vision Direct.

EssilorLuxottica eyewear brands include an array of designer labels such as Armani Exchange, Burberry, Bulgari, Brooks Brothers, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors, Prada, Polo, Valentino, Tory Burch, and Versace.

Representatives for EssilorLuxottica and GrandVision declined to comment. HAL couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

EssilorLuxottica’s interest in GrandVision comes only two months after the company defused a leadership dispute that weighed on its shares. The eyecare maker, the result of a merger of France’s Essilor and Italy’s Luxottica, said in May that it would seek a new chief executive officer -- an effort to find a compromise between Chairman Leonardo Del Vecchio and Vice Chairman Hubert Sagnieres.

The dispute flared up after the companies sealed their $53 billion merger last year, with Del Vecchio saying he wanted to appoint his deputy as CEO and Sagnieres countering that the Italian was making false statements in an effort to seize control of the group.

Before Bloomberg reported the takeover interest, the Dutch company’s shares had risen 9% over the past 12 months, in contrast to a 4.4% decline for EssilorLuxottica, which has a market value of 51 billion euros.

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