EYEING AUSTRALIA: The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it would not stand in the way of Luxottica Group’s proposed acquisition of Sydney-based OPSM Group Ltd., an eyewear retailer with roughly 480 doors, for about $393.5 million, including the assumption of debt. Milan-based Luxottica in April offered to buy the firm in a bid supported by OPSM’s board. “The proposed acquisition involves both a horizontal merger arising from the parties’ interests in sunglass retailing, and a vertical merger arising from their interests in the wholesale and retail supply of prescription frames and sunglasses,” said ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel in a statement. “The merged firm would still face sufficient competitive constraints in relation to the retail sale of sunglasses.”

ELLIS ELEVATED: David Ellis, chief operating officer of Buxbaum Group, has been promoted to the additional post of president of the retail turnaround and liquidation specialists based in Calabasas, Calif. As president, he succeeds Paul Buxbaum, who assumes the title of chairman and retains his duties as chief executive officer. Ellis joined Buxbaum in 1988 and rejoined the firm in 1994 after a three-year hiatus spent as part of an acquisitions and operations consulting team at H.J. Heinz Corp. His liquidation assignments have included projects for Kmart Corp. and Payless Shoe Source. Buxbaum has been a partner of the group and its predecessor companies since 1977, with the exception of a three-year tenure as operating partner of Clothing Clearance Centers, a Los Angeles-based off-price men’s wear chain. He sold his interest in CCC and returned to Buxbaum in 1983. He became sole owner and ceo in 1997, when the company took on its current name.

CITIGATE’S NEW CULP-ABILITY: Ron Culp, former senior vice president of public relations, communications and government affairs at Sears, Roebuck & Co., has joined the financial and corporate communications firm Citigate Sard Verbinnen, part of the Incepta Group, as managing director and head of its new Chicago office. Culp retired from Sears in January after ten years with the retail firm. Earlier, he was executive director of of corporate relations at Sara Lee Corp., and also worked at Eli Lilly & Co. and Pitney Bowes. Judy Brennan, a Citigate principal, and Kara Findlay, a senior associate, are relocating to the new Chicago office from Citigate’s headquarters in New York.

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