Vision Group, one of the main distribution networks for opticians in Italy and a retail player with the VisionOttica brand, has signed the expected agreement with EssilorLuxottica for the acquisition of the VistaSì chain, which includes the brand and all its 99 stores, and of 75 GrandVision stores in Italy (see the press release here).
Vision Group has been participated since 2014 by the Arcadia Small Cap fund, managed by Arcadia sgr private equity firm and at the beginning of January this year it has merged with the smaller competitor NetCity (see here a previous article by BeBeez).
The sale follows the agreement signed with the European Commission on 23 March as part of the EssilorLuxottica’s acquisition of GrandVision, the largest retail chain of optical products in Europe, controlled by the Hal fund (see here a previous article by BeBeez). The entire perimeter of the sale is 351 stores in Italy, Belgium (35 stores) and the Netherlands (142 stores): before the pandemic broke out, that perimeter had a turnover of around 160 million euros for a valuation of around 280 millions,
The agreement between EssilorLuxottica, GrandVision and Vision Group also provides for transitional agreements to support the business continuity of the entities sold in the period following the sale. The conclusion of the transaction is expected in the first quarter of 2022.
Financial advisors of EssilorLuxottica and GrandVision are Mediobanca and Lazard, while Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is legal advisor to m & a, BonelliErede is antitrust advisor and Deloitte is carve-out advisor. Additionally, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek continued to support GrandVision as a legal advisor. Vision Group’s financial advisor is CapM Advisors, while e Advant Nctm is legal advisor. Deloitte and Fineurop Soditic carried out the due diligence and provided support for the operation.
Vision Group now has over 300 direct and franchise stores throughout Italy with its own national VisionOttica brand. The group also manages the largest optical distribution network in Italy, with over 2,500 optical centers operating at various levels of affiliation. The group closed the 2020 financial statements with 57.2 million euros of consolidated revenues, an ebitda of 1.4 million and a net financial debt of 12.1 million (see the Leanus report here, after registering for free).
Vision Group was founded in 1989 as a purchasing group by some optical entrepreneurs interested in adopting common strategies towards consumers and industry. Arcadia Small Cap had bought a 46.3% stake in Vision Group in February 2014, with the remainder held by VG Holding spa, controlled by the opticians affiliated to the group’s network (see here a previous article by BeBeez).