Europe opens in-depth investigation into Essilor-Luxottica mergerStaff Writer |
Merger The Eropean Commission will investigate
The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed merger between Essilor and Luxottica under the EU Merger Regulation.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: "Half of Europeans wear glasses and almost all of us will need vision correction one day.
Therefore we need to carefully assess whether the proposed merger would lead to higher prices or reduced choices for opticians and ultimately consumers".
The proposed merger would combine two leaders in the optical industry. Essilor is the largest supplier of ophthalmic lenses, both worldwide and in Europe.
Luxottica is the largest supplier of eyewear, both worldwide and in Europe, and has well-known brands in its portfolio such as Ray-Ban and Oakley. Both companies sell their products to opticians who then sell finished spectacles and sunglasses to consumers.
The Commission's initial market investigation raised several issues relating in particular to the combination of Essilor's strong market position in lenses and Luxottica's strong market position in eyewear.
At this stage, the Commission is concerned that, following the transaction, the merged entity may use Luxottica's powerful brands to convince opticians to buy Essilor lenses and exclude other lens suppliers from the markets, through practices such as bundling or tying.
The Commission will investigate whether such conduct could lead to adverse effects on competition, such as limiting purchase choices or increasing prices. ■
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