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Kering Eyewear acquires Maui Jim

Kering Eyewear – a global eyewear company whose portfolio comprises Gucci, Cartier, Saint Laurent and other luxury brands – has signed an agreement to acquire Maui Jim.

Founded in 1987, Maui Jim is said to be the world’s largest independently owned high-end eyewear brand with a leading position in North America. Its eyewear is also found in optometry practices throughout Australia.

Headquartered in Illinois, US, the brand includes high-quality sun and optical frames sold in more than 100 countries, with one of its key products being its proprietary PolarizedPlus2 lens technology that protects from glare and UV while enhancing colour naturally perceived by the eye.

Since its inception in 2014, Kering Eyewear has built a business model that enabled the company to reach more than €700 million (AU$1 billion) in external revenues in FY2021. In Australia, the Kering portfolio is distributed by privately-owned Sydney firm Sunshades Eyewear.

According to a statement, the Maui Jim purchase represents a major milestone in Kering Eyewear’s expansion. Just months after the acquisition of Lindberg, Kering will own a second proprietary brand, reinforcing its place in the high-end eyewear segment.

It’s now set to offer a broader scope of eyewear from functional to timeless and fashion luxury products, with the rest of its portfolio featuring Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Chloé, Alexander McQueen, Montblanc, Brioni, Dunhill, Boucheron, Pomellato, Alaïa, McQ and Puma.

Kering Eyewear expects the acquisition to increase its revenue above the billion-euro mark (AU$1.5 b) on a full-year basis and bolster profit margins.

“Maui Jim has a unique positioning in the market, with very high-end and technically innovative sunglasses that are beloved by its clientele, and we are delighted that the brand is joining Kering Eyewear’s exceptional portfolio,” Mr Roberto Vedovotto, president and CEO of Kering Eyewear, said.

“We see strong potential globally for Maui Jim, which will benefit from our expertise and worldwide network to extend its geographical footprint and build on its core values to attract new consumers. This second key acquisition is also a major step for Kering Eyewear, which has now become unparalleled in its market segment, further validating the strategy that laid behind its creation by Kering in 2014.”

Maui Jim CEO Mr Walter Hester said it was “a once in a lifetime opportunity for both of our organisations and our Ohana members”.

“Our companies share similar values, along with a strong commitment to our people and our customers, leading to a remarkable strategic fit. I am both humbled and excited that Maui Jim will join the Kering Eyewear family. We have proud pasts, and together will have an even brighter future,” he said.

The transaction is subject to the clearance by the relevant competition authorities and is expected to be completed in the second half of 2022.

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