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Arbitral tribunal decides in favour of EssilorLuxottica

The tribunal ruled that EssilorLuxottica has the option to terminate the acquisition of GrandVision due to “material breaches of obligation” by the latter

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An arbitral tribunal initiated by HAL and GrandVision against EssilorLuxottica has ruled in favour of the latter in a dispute over obligations in the planned acquisition of GrandVision.

On 21 June, the companies revealed the arbitral tribunal’s decision by majority that GrandVision “breached its obligations under the Support Agreement it had entered into in connection with the sale of HAL’s 76.72% interest in GrandVision to EssilorLuxottica.”

The tribunal also ruled that EssilorLuxottica has the option to terminate the acquisition.

Sharing the decision, EssilorLuxottica confirmed that the company “is reviewing its options in relation to the transaction” adding that it will communicate its decision in due course.

The proceedings were initiated last August by HAL, owner of GrandVision.

This followed the launch of legal proceedings in July by EssilorLuxottica to obtain information from GrandVision which it said had not been provided and would be used to assess the way the company had managed business during the pandemic, “as well as the extent to which GrandVision has breached its obligations under the support agreement.”

While the Dutch District Court dismissed the demands made by EssilorLuxottica in a September ruling, arbitration proceedings had continued.

Responding to the tribunal decision, Francesco Milleri, CEO of EssilorLuxottica, said: “Although we regret that GrandVision’s misconduct has led to this current situation, we are pleased that the tribunal accepted our position on the parties’ commitments and the importance of honouring those commitments.”

GrandVision shared it was “disappointed” by the decision, with the company commenting: “Throughout the process, GrandVision has fully supported the transaction. All antitrust clearances that are required for closing of the transaction have been obtained.”

Earlier this month the proposed acquisition was cleared by the Turkish Competition Authority (TCA), meaning all regulatory approvals required for the transaction have been received. 

The AOP is also calling for members who experience a change in their relationship with EssilorLuxottica to share their experiences with the policy team via email. Insight on closures, price changes and other information that provides a picture of the UK market is also welcome.