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Description

Luxottica Group S.p.A. is an Italian eyewear conglomerate and the world's largest company in the eyewear industry. It is based in Milan, Italy.

As a vertically integrated company, Luxottica designs, manufactures, distributes and retails its eyewear brands, including LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut, Apex by Sunglass Hut, Pearle Vision, Target Optical, Eyemed vision care plan, and Glasses.com. Its best known brands are Ray-Ban, Persol, and Oakley.

Luxottica also makes sunglasses and prescription frames for designer brands such as Chanel, Prada, Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Versace, Dolce and Gabbana, Miu Miu and Tory Burch.

In January 2017, Luxottica announced a merger with Essilor. The combined entity would command more than one quarter of global value sales of eyewear. In March 2018, the European Commission unconditionally approved the merger of Essilor and Luxottica. On 1 October 2018, the new holding company EssilorLuxottica was born, resulting in combined market capitalization of approximately €57 billion.

History

Leonardo Del Vecchio started the company in 1961, in Agordo north of Belluno, Veneto; today the company is headquartered in Milan, Italy.

Del Vecchio began his career as the apprentice to a tool and die maker in Milan, but decided to turn his metalworking skills to making spectacle parts. So in 1961, he moved to Agordo in the province of Belluno, which is home to most of the Italian eyewear industry. The new company was Luxottica s.a.s., a limited partnership with Del Vecchio as one of the founding partners. In 1967, he started selling complete eyeglass frames under the Luxottica brand, which proved successful enough that by 1971 he ended the contract manufacturing business.

Convinced of the need for vertical integration, in 1974, he acquired Scarrone, a distribution company. In 1981, the company set up its first international subsidiary, in Germany, the first in a rapid period of international expansion. The first of many licensing deals with a designer was struck with Armani, in 1988.

The company listed in New York in 1990, and in Milan in December 2000, joining the MIB-30 (now FTSE MIB) index in September 2003. The listing raised money for the company and allowed it to use its shares to acquire other brands, starting with Italian brand Vogue Eyewear in 1990, Persol and the United States Shoe Corporation (LensCrafters) in 1995, Ray-Ban in 1999 and Sunglass Hut, Inc. in 2001. Luxottica later increased its presence in the retail sector by acquiring Sydney-based OPSM in 2003, Pearle Vision and Cole National in 2004. Luxottica acquired Oakley in November 2007 for US$2.1 billion. Oakley had tried to dispute their prices because of Luxottica's large marketshare, and Luxottica responded by dropping Oakley from their stores, causing their stock price to drop, followed by Luxottica's hostile take over of the company. In August 2011, Luxottica acquired Erroca for €20 million. In March 2014, it was announced that Luxottica would partner with Google on the development of Google Glass and its integration into Luxottica's eyewear.

On 1 September 2014, a new organizational structure was announced, composed of two co-CEOs, one focusing on market development and the other overseeing corporate functions. After the exit of former CEO Andrea Guerra, Enrico Cavatorta was appointed CEO of Corporate Function and Interim CEO of Market (until new and permanent appointment to this role). Cavatorta left the company 40 days after being appointed CEO. In 2016, it was reported that Luxottica had lost its third chief executive in a year and a half as Adil Mehboob-Khan stepped down a year after he replaced Cavatorta.

In January 2017, the company agreed on a merger with Essilor. The deal also offered a succession plan for Leonardo Del Vecchio, the company's founder. Shortly before the merger completed, reporter Sam Knight wrote in The Guardian, "in seven centuries of spectacles, there has never been anything like it. The new entity will be worth around $50bn (£37bn), sell close to a billion pairs of lenses and frames every year, and have a workforce of more than 140,000 people." On 1 October 2018 the new holding company EssilorLuxottica was founded, resulting in combined market capitalization of approximately €57 billion.

In August 2018, Luxottica restored Accademia Bridge in Venice.

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