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EssilorLuxottica was formed in 2018 from the merger of French lens manufacturer Essilor with Italy's Luxottica. The latter was already the world's biggest manufacturer and retailer of eyewear, managing an extensive portfolio of prestigious brands, mostly added through acquisition. Its best-known proprietary brand is Ray-Ban (acquired in 1999), supported by Oakley (acquired 2007), Persol, Oliver Peoples, Alain Mikli and others. It also has the license to produce eyewear for many of the world's most fashionable designers including Giorgio Armani, Bulgari, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, Dolce&Gabbana, Ralph Lauren, Prada and Paul Smith. Its retail networks include Sunglass Hut (acquired 2001), Oticas Carol (acquired 2017), David Clulow, Sears Optical and Target Optical, as well as prescription contact lens specialists LensCrafters (acquired 1995) and Pearle Vision. In 2015, controlling shareholder Leonardo del Vecchio, now in his 80s, reasserted his influence over the business after more than a decade of only minimal involvement. That led to the resignation of several executives over the years including several successive CEOs. Del Vecchio himself became executive chairman. In 2017, he agreed to merge Luxottica with French rival Essilor to create a new global eyewear giant. Essilor is the global leader in prescription lens manufacturing and testing equipment, with brands including Varilux, Crizal and Transitions, as well as a small collection of proprietary sunglasses brands including Foster Grant. The merger completed in October 2018, creating an even larger retail footprint spanning 10,740 wholly owned or franchised outlets. Essilor contributed several chains of its own to the portfolio including Mujosh, Aojo and Optical House. Del Vecchio became executive chairman of EssilorLuxottica, and also its biggest shareholder with around 31% of equity. Essilor's Hubert Sagnieres is executive vice chairman., with Francesco Milleri as CEO. The following year, the group sealed a deal to acquire Dutch optical retailer GrandVision for €8bn. However, in the wake of the Covid pandemic, EssilorLuxottica attempted to abandon the deal, claiming GrandVision had broached the terms of the merger. Following a legal dispute, an agreement was finally reached in 2021. EssilorLuxottica acquired a 76% stake in GrandVision and issued an offer to acquire the remaining minority shares. The deal adds another 7,000 retail outlets in 40 countries. EssilorLuxottica's combined revenues for 2020 were €14.4bn, but net profit plunged to just €149m as a result of forced closure of its retail networks during the pandemic. Spectacle and lens manufacturing accounting for just over half of revenues. In 2021, the group partnered with Facebook to launch smart glasses under the Ray-Ban banner.
Capsule checked 23rd November 2020
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Adbrands Social Media 23rd Apr 2019: "See It In Prizm". Luxottica's Oakley brand unveiled a spectacular new promo, created by the Paris outpost of AKQA. The brand has assembled a team of mostly lower-level but still highly accomplished athlete ambassadors. The best known, in the US especially, are probably the New York Yankees' Aaron Judge and Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes II. But there's strong support from, among others, skydiver and stuntman Mike Escamilia, MotoGP's Valentino Rossi, and skateboarding champion Ryan Sheckler. Isn't it great what you can achieve with the right pair of shades! (Our own criticism: the final film is more than a little male-dominated).
Adbrands Social Media 18th Jun 2018: Here's a pleasingly rough and ready film - and we mean that in the nicest possible way - to mark Ray-Ban's release of a limited edition of 500 gold-plated Aviator sunglasses, retailing at $518 apiece directly from Ray-Ban' ecommerce site. We're not entirely sure that the low-life gamblers depicted here are likely to be the principal buyers of these high-stakes shades - we're guessing they'd rather steal them or win them in a card game than buy them. But it certainly makes a change from all those Top Gun stereotypes. Better hurry if you want a pair. The US allocation sold out in just two days, but there were still some available online in the UK at the time of writing.
Adbrands Weekly Update 18th Jan 2017: Europe's two biggest eyewear companies are to merge to create a new global giant with a combined value in excess of €50bn. Italian group Luxottica, whose brands include Ray-ban, Sunglass Hut, Oakley, Lenscrafters and a host of designer licenses, is to join forces with French counterpart Essilor, the world leader in prescription lenses, whose other brands include Varilux, Transitions and Foster Grant. The deal represents a triumph for Luxottica founder Leonardo del Vecchio, who would become the largest shareholder in the merged entity with around 31% of voting shares. He would jointly lead the group with Essilor's Hubert Sagnières. Combined sales of the proposed EssilorLuxottica entity would exceed $15bn.
Adbrands Weekly Update 16th Oct 2014: The head of P&G's global Wella professional salon business Adil Mehboob-Khan resigned to become co-CEO of eyewear giant Luxottica, alongside Massimo Khan.
Adbrands Weekly Update 16th Oct 2014: There was further turmoil at eyewear giant Luxottica, owner of Ray-Bans, Oakley and the Chanel and Armani licenses. Long-serving CEO Andrea Guerra resigned last month after 15 years as CEO as a result of clashes with founder and controlling shareholder Leonardo del Vecchio, who has begun to reinvolve himself in a strategic role in the business after more than a decade in which he had only minimal involvement. CFO Enrico Cavatorta succeeded Guerra last month, but now he too has quit the business after just 40 days as CEO. Del Vecchio becomes interim CEO until a new team can be found to lead the business.
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