Funds Seek EssilorLuxottica Board Seats Amid Fight

(Bloomberg) -- Investors led by Fidelity International are seeking to install two independent directors at EssilorLuxottica SA to "unblock" the stalemate at the world’s largest eyewear company as a management clash intensifies between the Italian and French factions, La Repubblica reported.

The international funds backed by Sycomore, Edmond de Rothschild and activist Phitrust made the request to appoint two new directors at EssilorLuxottica’s annual meeting May 16, Repubblica added without mentioning where they got this information.

The proposed directors are corporate governance expert Wendy Evrard Lane and Danish executive Jesper Brandgaard, according to Repubblica. EssilorLuxottica scheduled a board meeting April 24 to review the request.

The 83-year-old Italian billionaire Leonardo Del Vecchio, the company’s largest shareholder, said last month that Essilor executives are violating terms of the merger agreement and the company’s corporate governance policies. Vice Chairman Hubert Sagnieres replied that Del Vecchio’s actions are a “de facto attempt to take control of the new group.” The French executive accused the Italian’s investment company, Delfin, of “false accusations regarding the group’s governance and management.”

EssilorLuxottica shares declined 2 percent year to date, giving the company a market value of 47.2 billion euros ($53.1 billion).

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