BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU regulators are set to warn Ray-Ban maker EssilorLuxottica that its 7.2 billion euro ($8.1 billion) bid for opticians group GrandVision may harm competition, people familiar with the matter said, pressuring the group to offer concessions.
EssilorLuxottica <ESLX.PA>, formed last year from the merger of French lens maker Essilor and Italian eyewear group Luxottica, also owns the Oakley and Persol brands and Varilux lenses.
The deal would give the group control of more than 7,000 GrandVision outlets across the world
The European Commission will send a statement of objections outlining its concerns in the coming days, the people said, a move which typically ratchets up the pressure on companies to offer concessions to allay competition concerns.
The EU competition enforcer, which is scheduled to decide on the deal by Aug. 13, and GrandVision declined to comment. EssilorLuxottica was not immediately available to comment.
Retailers and rival lens makers have expressed concerns to the EU antitrust watchdog, other sources have told Reuters. The Commission has zoomed in on the British and Italian markets by asking independent retailers for feedback.
EssilorLuxottica however argues that independent and specialist lens makers have shown growing market clout.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Additional reporting by Matthias Blamont in Paris and Toby Sterling in Amsterdam; Editing by Robin Emmott and Jan Harvey)