Ray-Ban Maker Starts Legal Action for Takeover Target

EssilorLuxottica SA, the maker of Ray-Ban sunglasses, said it started legal proceedings in the Netherlands to obtain information from takeover target GrandVision NV on how it performed during the coronavirus crisis.

The company is also trying to assess whether GrandVision “breached its obligations” under a support agreement the two businesses agreed to, it said in a statement on Saturday. Despite “repeated requests,” Grandvision failed to provide information on a voluntary basis, resulting in the legal proceedings, the company said.

GrandVision said in a separate statement that it disagrees with the demands and has full confidence that the claims will be rejected in court. GrandVision said it continues to work for regulatory approval and the closure of the deal.

EssilorLuxottica’s 7.3 billion-euro ($8.3 billion) takeover offer for the Dutch eyewear company faces a European antitrust review that may result in a call for concessions from both companies. GrandVision has said it’s unlikely to reach medium-term growth targets and gave a negative outlook on store reopenings amid the Covid-19 pandemic, fueling speculation that EssilorLuxottica may seek to renegotiate the offer price.

The European Union has given the companies until Aug. 27 to decide on the deal after extending an earlier deadline. The EU is demanding that EssilorLuxottica sell stores in Italy, France or the Netherlands to secure the acquisition, the Financial Times reported. Because of the pandemic, the Franco-Italian group hasn’t committed to selling shops, the FT said, adding that the proposed deal may still be blocked or approved without conditions.

GrandVision, whose board backed the offer, has entered into a support agreement under which both companies committed to work together to obtain approval for the deal. The company said on Saturday that it strongly disagrees with the claim that it violated the accord.

Last month, EssilorLuxottica was said to remain committed to the deal and focused on securing antitrust approval.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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