EssilorLuxottica (FR:EL) – the maker of Ray-Ban sunglasses – has initiated legal proceedings against GrandVision (NL:GVNV), the Dutch optical retailer it is looking to acquire. EssilorLuxottica says it is seeking access to information about how GrandVision has managed its business during the Covid-19 pandemic, alleging the group has breached an agreement to keep it updated. GrandVision denies it has broken the contract terms, saying it has “full confidence that these claims will be rejected in court”.
A €7.2bn (£6.6bn) takeover deal was struck last year worth €28 per GrandVision share. However, the potential tie-up has raised competition concerns in Europe, and regulators are demanding EssilorLuxottica sell some of its retail stores to address the problem. The company is resisting this pressure and the European Union will rule on whether the deal can proceed on 27 August.
Aside from antitrust hurdles, the deal could come under further strain if EssilorLuxottica pushes to renegotiate the price. GrandVision’s shares have dropped by more than a tenth this year and are currently trading at €24.50.