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EssiLux weighs ending $8.6 billion Grandvision takeover after court rules

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Spectacles maker EssilorLuxottica on Monday said it was considering canceling its proposed 7.2 billion-euro ($8.6 billion) takeover of Dutch eyewear store operator Grandvision, after a Dutch court said EssilorLuxottica was no longer obliged to go through with the deal.

An arbitration court in the Netherlands on Monday ruled that Grandvision had breached obligations of the takeover agreement, which meant that EssiLux was no longer bound to the pact.

EssilorLuxottica, French-Italian maker of Ray-Ban sunglasses, in a statement said it welcomed the decision.

“EssilorLuxottica is reviewing its options in relation to the transaction and in due course will communicate its determination on the way forward.”

The ruling followed two earlier losses for EssiLux in a Dutch court case in which it had said that decisions made by Grandvision during the COVID-19 pandemic could give grounds for ending its proposed takeover.

It said its takeover target had breached agreements by suspending payments to store owners and suppliers and by applying for state aid, without seeking EssiLux’s approval.

Grandvision at the time accused its buyer of simply looking for a way out of the deal, and on Monday said it was disappointed by the arbitration court’s ruling.

If the deal does not go ahead it would bring an end to Essilux’s ambition to control the Dutch eyewear group’s more than 7,000 outlets worldwide.

($1 = 0.8391 euros)

(Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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