PARIS — EssilorLuxottica is considering launching an appeal following a judgment from a district court in The Netherlands that dismissed the eyewear giant’s request that its acquisition target GrandVision and majority-owner HAL disclose information on how business carried out through the COVID-19 crisis.
“The company remains concerned about GrandVision’s behavior in continuing to deny access to important information related to their handling of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said EssilorLuxottica in a statement. The eyewear maker said it was studying the judgement and assessing its options, including the possibility of an appeal.
“It should be noted that the information and data seized at the premises of GrandVision, with the express permission of the court, will remain protected from any change and available for further legal proceedings,” noted EssilorLuxottica.
HAL in a statement noted the Rotterdam court’s dismissal of the claims by EssilorLuxottica, adding that it prohibited measures taken by the eyewear giant to secure “certain information stored on the servers of HAL.”
EssilorLuxottica in July had said that GrandVision had breached obligations of an agreement between the companies. HAL responded that it believed the claims were unfounded and said it launched arbitration proceedings against EssilorLuxottica to ensure the eyewear maker complies with obligations related to its planned purchase of HAL’s stake in GrandVision.
EssilorLuxottica announced a year ago that it planned to buy a 76.72 percent stake in the Dutch optical retailer at a price of 28 euros per share, a deal that values the firm at more than 7 billion euros.
If the acquisition goes through, it would reinforce the eyewear giant’s retail network, which already includes the LensCrafters chain. Analysts have said the activity offers significant potential for EssilorLuxottica to improve business.
Formed in 2018 from the 46-billion-euro merger of France-based Essilor and Italy’s Luxottica, EssilorLuxottica has suffered a number of challenges along the way, with early stages of integration complicated by disputes between top managers of the French and Italian factions of the company.
The group had reported a strong start to the year, but ended up withdrawing guidance a few weeks later when store closures rolled across Europe and North America. Behind the initial optimism was the return to business in China, where production was fully operational with spare capacity in March. To deal with the crisis, EssilorLuxottica has adjusted production according to demand, implemented cost and cash control measures, and suspended lower priority investments. It also restructured its top management, reducing the board by a third to simplify decision-making.