Retail

EU opens official investigation into merger

According to a statent from the Commission, it is concerned that the merger may reduce competition for ophthalmic lenses. It also said there is a need to further investigate the potential effects the merger will have on eyewear, after its initial market investigation raised several issues.“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,” EU commissioner Ms Margrethe Vestager, who is in charge of competition policy, said.{{quote-A:R-W:450-I:2-Q: We need to carefully assess whether the proposed merger would lead to higher prices or reduced choices for opticians and ultimately consumers -WHO:Margrethe Vestager, EU Commissioner}}The Commission is especially concerned that “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.” As such, it will investigate whether such conduct could lead to adverse effects on competition, such as limiting purchase choices or increasing prices.However, despite the ongoing investigation, Essilor and Luxottica issued a joint statent revealing that managent from both companies were confident that it would conclude in a “timely manner.”“[We] will closely cooperate with the European Commission to fully donstrate the rationale of the proposed combination and the benefits that it will bring to customers, consumers and all the eyewear industry players,” the statent read.“The companies reaffirm the objective to close the transaction around the end of the year, in cooperation with the relevant authorities. The transaction has been unconditionally cleared so far in Russia, India, Colombia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, South Africa and South Korea.”The Commission was officially notified of the proposed merger on August 22, when it began Phase I of its investigation. It has until February 12 next year to make a decision.

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