Arnette Bought By Luxottica: No changes foreseen with Arnette.

Luxottica SpA, Italy’s largest eyeglass company, agreed to buy Bausch and Lomb Inc.’s eyewear brands (which includes Arnette) for 640-million dollars in cash. Luxottica owns the LensCrafter chain of optical stores and makes designer-name glasses such as Emporio Armani, Ferragamo, Persol, and Briko. As part of the deal, Luxottica also receives Bausch and Lomb sunglass brands, including Ray Ban, Killer Loop, and Revo.

Luxottica said the purchase fulfills its goal of expanding in quality sunglasses. “With this we add the most prestigious sun brands in the world to our portfolio,” says Luxottica Chairman Leonardo Del Vecchio, “We gain access to very cost-efficient, high-quality sunglass lens, and lens-coating production.”

According to Arnette Director of Marketing Gary Siskar, a main reason for Luxottica’s interest in Bausch and Lomb’s sunglass brands was that Luxottica was looking to break into different sunglass markets. There will be no changes in the headquarters, management, and production of Arnette–Arnette will be part of Luxottica but basically running itself. “We’re pretty excited about the whole thing,” says Siskar, “Luxottica is an eyewear company and its focus is eyewear.”

Bausch and Lomb recently bought eye-related surgical companies in an effort to focus more on the health-care business. According to first-quarter 1999 results, revenues from the company’s pharmaceuticals/surgical businesses were up fifteen percent from the same period in 1998, while revenues in the eyewear segment declined two percent. Last November, it publically announced that the investment banking group of Warburgh, Dylan, Reed, LLC was reviewing ownership alternatives for its eyewear holdings.

–Aaron Checkwood