Essilor/Lux Merger Enters Investigatory Phase in Europe
EU antitrust regulators will study more closely the issues involved in the planned merger of optical giants Essilor and Luxottica, as the European Commission opened a full investigation into the merger. According to a report by Reuters, the European Commission opened a full-scale investigation today, saying the deal involving the two companies may reduce competition in ophthalmic lenses and eyewear. Earlier this month, EB reported that Essilor and Luxottica had declined to offer any concessions after the competition enforcer expressed some reservations about the deal in its preliminary review, which closed today. In a joint statement released today, Essilor and Luxottica confirmed that the Commission has initiated a “Phase II review” of the merger, and they remain “confident that Phase II will be completed in a timely manner and will closely cooperate with the European Commission to fully demonstrate the rationale of the proposed combination and the benefits that it will bring to customers, consumers, and all the eyewear industry players.” The companies have reaffirmed their objective to close the transaction around the end of the year, in cooperation with the relevant authorities. Because of the size of the two global companies and the scope of the merger (which would create a major, integrated global player in the industry), it must pass a number of regulatory reviews throughout the world. So far, the transaction has been cleared in Russia, India, Colombia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, South Africa, and South Korea.