$370-million settlement of Allergen lawsuit in US

Pershing Square Capital Management and Valeant Pharmaceuticals are to pay $US270 million ($A370 million) to settle a lawsuit that alleged their trading in Allergan was illegal, allowing William Ackman to put behind him the last verges of an investment that created turmoil at the Pershing Square hedge fund the billionaire heads.

Allergan shareholders (as plaintiffs) allege Mr Ackman, Pershing Square and Valeant improperly traded ahead of their takeover bid for Allergan in 2014.

According to an agreement in principle, reached after a judge issued a tentative opinion that heavily sided with the shareholder plaintiffs, Pershing Square will pay $US193.75m and Valeant will pay $US96.25m, which is a shift from an earlier agreement the two had struck when Valeant would have paid 60 per cent in a settlement.

Valeant and Pershing Square partnered in early 2014 to try to buy Allergan for more than $US50 billion.

The bid failed when Actavis swept in with a $US66bn offer for Allergan, however Pershing Square walked away with $US2.5bn profit and Valeant with more than $US 400m.


By | January 7th, 2018|Business|

GrandVision NV buys 209 Tesco Opticians stores in UK

Holland-based global retail optical group GrandVision has completed a deal to acquire 209 Tesco Opticians stores in the United Kingdom.

The deal will see Vision Express incorporate the 209 stores into its wider network.

Following approval from the Competitions and Markets Authority, the high-street retail optical group will have close to 600 stores across the UK and Ireland.

Existing staff at the stores will continue to work at their respective practices.


By | January 7th, 2018|Business|

GrandVision NV buys 209 Tesco Opticians store in UK

Holland-based global retail optical group GrandVision has completed a deal to acquire 209 Tesco Opticians stores in the United Kingdom.

The deal will see Vision Express incorporate the 209 stores into its wider network.

Following approval from the Competitions and Markets Authority, the high-street retail optical group will have close to 600 stores across the UK and Ireland.

Existing staff at the stores will continue to work at their respective practices.


By | January 7th, 2018|Business|

‘Made in Italy’ case dropped

A lawsuit in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York that challenged the validity of Kering Eyewear’s ‘Made in Italy’ claims for its brands has been voluntarily dropped by the plaintiff, Selima Optique.

Kering Eyewear designs, develops and distributes eyewear for Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, McQ, Boucheron, Pomellato, Brioni, Tomas Maier, Christopher Kane and Puma.

Complaint voluntarily dropped by complainant

 Kering said in a statement: “Selima Optique voluntarily dismissed a complaint it filed against Kering Eyewear and Kering with prejudice and without any payment from Kering Eyewear or Kering.”

Selina Optique filed the class action complaint in June at a court in Manhattan. The company, which at the time was a customer of Kering, claimed it “deliberately and falsely represented that their eyeglasses and sunglasses are ‘Made in Italy’,” after it received a package of Saint Laurent frames that were marked Made in Italy and Made in China.

False representations

Selima claimed in its suit that Kering falsely represents its eyewear as being made in Italy when “in truth, their products, or substantially all parts of their products, are made in China, and (at best) shipped to Italy for final assembly and packaging, and then exported.”

Kering Eyewear, which disputed the allegations, claimed it was a production and warehousing

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By | December 22nd, 2017|Business|

Cooper vision buys Paragon for $106 million

Contact lens firm Coopervision has acquired Paragon Vision Sciences for approximately $US80 million ($A106 million).

The acquisition of Paragon added orthokeratology, specialty contact lenses and oxygen permeable rigid contact lens materials to Coopervision’s product portfolio.\

Mr Robert Weiss, Coopervision’s president and chief executive officer, said: “The acquisition of Paragon strengthens Coopervision’s industry-leading specialty lens business through the addition of several successful products which will be a great fit within our existing product portfolio.”


Expected to be neutral to earnings earnings per share


The transaction is expected to be neutral to earnings per share in fiscal 2018 excluding one-time charges and deal-related amortization.

Paragon had trailing twelve-month revenues of approximately $US15 million and is forecasted to grow low double digits over the coming years.

By | December 22nd, 2017|Business|

Easily-Luxottica deal approved by Canada

Essilor and Luxottica has announced that the proposed combination of the two companies has been cleared by the Canadian Competition Bureau.

Canada is one of the five jurisdictions where anti-trust approvals are a condition precedent to the closing of the transaction, the companies said. The others are the United States, China, Brazil and the European Union.

The transaction has been cleared so far in 10 other jurisdictions: Australia, Colombia, India, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, South Korea and Taiwan.

In a prior development earlier this month, the EU has restarted its Essilor-Luxottica probe, according to a posting on the EU website. The probe had been suspended earlier in November after the companies failed to submit certain requested data.

Following the brief suspension, the European Commission, which is the EU competition watchdog conducting the examination, pushed back the provisional deadline for completing it from 26 February to 8 March 2018. The European Commission opened its investigation on 26 September, saying saying it has concerns that the merger may reduce competition for ophthalmic lenses, and will further investigate effects on eyewear.



“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

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By | December 4th, 2017|Business|

George and Matilda Eyewear’s owner: $7.6m after-tax loss


  • Revenue of $16.2m generated in first 16 months
  • Current liabilities $15.9m, including $7m borrowings
  • Shareholders have $10.1m equity; seeking finance

IPIC Holdings Limited, owner of the George and Matilda Eyecare (G&M) brand, had a loss of $7.6 million after tax on revenue of $16.2 million in its first 16 months of operations, to 30 June 2017, according to its [first] audited financial report for the period.

The company’s auditor has expressed concern about its ability to continue as a going concern, however its directors are confident it will be able to do so.

As at 30 June, current liabilities were $15.9 million, including $7 million in current borrowings, while there was shareholders’ equity of $10.1 million.

40 practices

IPIC is a company limited by shares that is incorporated and domiciled in Sydney and which now has 40 practices providing optometrical and optical-dispensing services (including retail sales of frames, lenses, contact lenses and sunglasses), mainly under its George and Matilda Eyecare banner.

During the 16 months to 30 June, IPIC’s principal activities were the acquisition of optometry practices, as reflected by acquired goodwill of $25,949,806.

Cashflow indicates the business generated $27.3 million from financing activities, which was predominantly used to acquire optometry businesses. As at 30 June, IPIC had $2.5 million in cash and

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By | November 22nd, 2017|Business|

ODMA denies financial information to members at AGM – all 5 of them

The Optical Distributors and Manufacturers Association of Australia Limited denied financial information to the five floor members present at its annual general meeting held in Sydney on 8 November.

The chairman of ODMA, Mr Robert Sparkes, declined to answer questions from a former director of the company, Ms Gaye Wymond, about several aspects of the company’s financial information provided to members 19 days before the meeting (it should have been provided two days earlier) and the chairman’s report handed to members present that day.

Aspects of the company’s financial information asked about by Ms Wymond but not answered by Mr Sparkers included, inter alia:

  • The total legal costs in the company taking the former organiser of its trade fairs, Expertise Events, to the Federal Court last December for an “urgent” ex-parte hearing of an application for an injunction preventing use of ODMA’s database to promote the SILMO Sydney exhibition, as well as the costs of Expertise Events’ successful appeal against the injunction in February, when the injunction was thrown out in its entirety by the judge. The chairman declined to provide that information.
  • Separation of the figures for Eye Talk, a publication bought by ODMA three years ago, (costing 73 per cent of current assets at the time: Ed.). The chairman said

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By | November 19th, 2017|Business|

EU suspends deadline for Luxottica, Essilor merger probe

Antitrust regulators for the European Union have suspended the deadline for their investigation into the US$54 billion merger between Essilor and Luxottica after the companies failed to submit requested data.

The European Commission, which is the EU competition watchdog that is conducting the probe, had previously set 26 February 2018 as the deadline for reviewing the proposed merger. The regulators suspended that deadline on 25 October, according to a post on the EU website.

‘Important information missing’

“We’re missing an important piece of information from the parties, so we’re stopping the clock on the investigation,” a European Commission spokesperson said. “We’ll restart it as soon as we receive the information.”

The EC opened its investigation on 26 September.

‘A technical step’

An Essilor spokesperson characterised the deadline suspension as “a technical step”, a spokesperson saying: “We are confident that the clock will be restarted in the next few days. We are working to provide the necessary information.”

Luxottica Group issued no statement as at press time.

The proposed merger has already been agreed to by Australia and New Zealand.

By | November 8th, 2017|Business|

1-800 Contacts to appeal trademark ruling

Online contact lens retailer 1-800 Contacts is appealing a decision by a Federal Trade Commission  judge announced on 30 October regarding 1-800’s trademarks and related search advertising arrangements with competitors.

The FTC judge, in a ruling that upheld FTC’s 2016 complaint against 1-800 Contacts, said the search advertising deals with competitors were anti-competitive.

FTC sued 1-800 Contact Lenses

The FTC sued 1-800 Contacts in August 2016, alleging that it “unlawfully orchestrated … a web of anticompetitive agreements with rival online contact lens sellers that suppress competition in certain online search advertising auctions and that restrict truthful and non-misleading internet advertising to consumers, resulting in some consumers paying higher retail prices for contact lenses.”

Advertising limited

According to the FTC complaint in 2016, 14 online contact lens retailers agreed to limit advertising to consumers who searched online for wording that included the 1-800 Contacts name.

In response to the FTC chief administrative law judge’s ruling on 30 October, 1-800 Contacts general counsel said in a statement that the company is disappointed about the ruling in the matter, which it says centres upon the right to trademark protection.

‘Settlement lawful’

“Nothing in the initial ruling, however, changes our view that the settlement agreements are lawful and pro-competitive and that the company will ultimately prevail once the administrative process

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By | November 8th, 2017|Business|