When one Goliath marries another…

In a 49 billion dollar deal announced last week, Luxottica and Essilor will merge to form a holding company called EssilorLuxottica.  The holding company will have equal representation from both Essilor and Luxottica.
If this seems like a big deal…it kind of is.
Let’s discuss.

Luxottica has gotten some negative press over the past several years, here in 2013 and most recently here, for giving the illusion of choice in eyeglass frames when really they manufacture 27 different frame lines giving them a monopoly on the eyeglass industry.  They make Chanel, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Versace, Dolce and Gabbana, Miu Miu, Donna Karan, Stella McCartney and Tory Burch to name a few.
But they also own the largest optical retail chain, LensCrafters, along with Pearle Vision, Target Optical, Sears Optical and Sunglass Hut.
And, they own the second largest vision plan, Eyemed.

Essilor is the largest ophthalmic lens manufacturer.  They make Varilux, Transitions, Crizal, Eyezen, Kodak, Nikon etc.  They also own Vision Source which is a buying group of independent optometrists whose mission is to “compete on a level playing field versus retail optometry”.

To summarize all of that….
This merger will give EssilorLuxottica a huge market share in most aspects of eye care, “from retail optical to managed vision care to frames to lenses to labs and more”.  Which leads you to ask….

Is there a law against this?
Many have wondered if this new company violates antitrust or monopoly laws. Time will tell.  All countries in which Essilor and Luxottica do business will require officials to evaluate the deal.

What are OD’s saying?
Luxottica hasn’t historically been supportive of the independent OD given the online glasses site (glasses.com) and the retail chain stores, so how is this new, now bigger company not my competition?

What is Essilor saying?
“This deal does not change Essilor’s support of the independent eyecare professional” and this merger shows that Luxottica is now invested in the independent OD.

The merger won’t be final until later in the year but for now there are a lot of unknowns.

Jaclyn Garlich
Dr. Garlich graduated from the New England College of Optometry in 2010 and completed a residency in primary care and ocular disease at the St. Louis VA. In 2013, she developed an optometry clinical reference mobile app available in the iTunes store. In 2016, she founded 20/20 Glance, a weekly optometry newsletter that gives a rundown on clinically relevant optometry news in an easy to digest format.

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