Luxottica

Luxottica is the world’s largest eyewear company. Its best known brands include Ray-Ban, Oliver Peoples, Revo, and Oakley. It also makes sunglasses and prescription frames for a multitude of designer brands such as Chanel and Prada, whose designs and trademarks are used under license. Leonardo Del Vecchio started the company in 1961, in Agordo north of Venice, Italy; today the company is headquartered in Milan. Its prime competitor is Safilo, which was founded in 1939 also in northern 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.

In 1967 he started selling complete eyeglass frames under the Luxottica brand. Convinced of the need for vertical integration, in 1974 he acquired Scarrone, a distribution company. The company listed in New York in 1990, and in Milan in December 2000, joining the MIB-30 (now S&P/MIB) index in September 2003. The listing enhanced the company’s ability to acquire other brands, starting with Italian brand Vogue in 1990, Persol and US Shoe Corporation (LensCrafters) in 1995, Ray-Ban in 1999 and Sunglass Hut, Inc. in 2001. They went looking for more retail companies, acquiring Sydney-based OPSM in 2003, Pearle Vision in 2004, Surfeyes in 2006, and Cole National in 2004. Most recently, it acquired Oakley in a US$2.1bn deal in November 2007.

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