Brillengigant EssilorLuxottica is not allowed to view GrandVision’s records. This has been determined by the District Court of Rotterdam. EssilorLuxottica brought the lawsuit because GrandVision – the Pearle-owner who wants to take it over – allegedly violated agreements about the takeover. It was alleged that there had been no transparent communication about the loss in the corona months and the changed strategy.
Italian-French EssilorLuxottica, producer of brands such as Ray-Ban and Oakley, announced last year that it wanted to buy GrandVision. To do so, the company would take over the 76.7 percent majority stake in investment company HAL. Both parties were enthusiastic, but corona has worsened relations.
Adjudication by EssilorLuxottica is also underway on behalf of HAL and GrandVision, who want to ensure that the takeover will go ahead. There are suspicions that EssilorLuxottica wants to take advantage of the corona crisis to get better conditions or a lower price out of the deal.
During the corona crisis, GrandVision has, according to the intended new owner, changed course considerably and violated agreements. Due to the lockdown, GrandVision had to close its stores for several months, paid suppliers later and suspended rent payments. In the first half year of 2020, the company made a loss of 212 million euros.
EssilorLuxottica had bailiffs seize the administration of HAL and GrandVision. This was placed with a third party. So today the judge announced that EssilorLuxottica will not have access to this business-sensitive information. The Court in preliminary relief proceedings is of the opinion that it has not been sufficiently proven that GrandVision has violated agreements and accuses EssilorLuxottica of the fact that the claim had the character of a fishing expedition, i.e. a non-specific search for information.
GrandVision announces in a reaction that it still wants to proceed with the acquisition. It is now mainly waiting for the approval of the European Commission.
It’s not just a deal. GrandVision was valued at 7 billion euros last year. The 76.7 percent interest of HAL that will be acquired is therefore worth more than EUR 5.5 billion. If EssilorLuxottica walks away from the acquisition without good reason, the company will have to pay 400 million euros.
HAL took an interest in Pearle Nederland in 1996. In the meantime, the optical chain has grown from 130 stores to a multinational with 7400 branches