Infotech EssilorLuxottica: how Italy got the upper hand over a CAC 40 flagship

EssilorLuxottica: how Italy got the upper hand over a CAC 40 flagship

Four years later, Christine Brisson still remembers that morning of Monday, January 16, 2017 perfectly. From the dispatch of the Reuters news agency published at 7.14 a.m. and transmitted by a colleague. From his surprise to his reading: “Luxottica and Essilor confirm their merger project. “ From his first thought too, once the information has been digested: “Who says fusion, says social breakage. ”

The night before, the CGT delegate from Essilor had gone to bed without imagining for a single second that the leaders of the French giant of optical glasses Essilor were sharing a glass of champagne with those of the king of frames, the Italian. Luxottica. A stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe, in the salons of the law firm Cleary Gotlieb, the two groups had just signed their marriage contract: a giant merger for a turnover of 16 billion euros with 140,000 employees, the biggest “deal of hexagonal capitalism for ten years. A logical rapprochement on paper, that of two giants operating in the same sector with two complementary businesses: the French manufacturer of progressive lenses Varilux with the Italian manufacturer of Ray-Ban or Prada glasses.

It was the dream of all financial analysts, who saw the opportunity to create a global giant », Remembers an adviser to the prince, then in the shadow of Essilor.

The communicators hired at the time by the two groups wisely chose not to speak precisely

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