5 March 2018

European Commission approves Essilor/Luxottica unconditionally, after a Phase II review

The European Commission has approved unconditionally the proposed merger between Essilor and Luxottica after a Phase II investigation. Essilor is a global manufacturer of ophthalmic lenses and owns brands such as Varilux, Crizal and Transitions. Luxottica is a global manufacturer of spectacle frames and sunglasses, and owns several brands such as Ray-Ban, Oakley and Persol. RBB Economics assisted both Parties in the context of this merger investigation.

At the end of its Phase I review, the Commission had raised concerns that the merged entity could engage in anti-competitive bundling or tying practices by using Luxottica's brands to convince opticians to buy Essilor lenses, thereby foreclosing rival lens suppliers. The Commission also raised concerns in the opposite leveraging direction: that the merged entity could use Essilor’s brands to foreclose rival manufacturers of spectacle frames or sunglasses.

Following the submissions made by the Parties and RBB Economics during Phase II, which were confirmed by the Commission’s own market investigation, the Commission decided to clear the merger unconditionally. Since Commissioner Vestager is in office, only two other cases have gained clearance with no remedies after an in-depth review (FedEx/TNT, on which RBB Economics advised FedEx, and Siemens/Dresser-Rand).

RBB Economics is also advising the Parties on the merger’s filing in other jurisdictions, most of which have already resulted in an unconditional clearance.

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