Essilor broadens online footprint in Europe by acquiring MyOptique Group

Charenton-le-Pont, France (August 16, 2016 – 8:30 am) – Essilor has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire MyOptique Group Ltd., a leading European online prescription glasses, contact lenses and sunglasses business. 

The transaction is fully consistent with Essilor's mission to "improve lives by improving sight". Essilor's online business helps to raise awareness among an ever-growing community of consumers about the importance of protecting and correcting their eyesight. It also facilitates access to high-quality optical products that improve visual health, thus benefiting all industry players. 

Based in the United Kingdom, MyOptique Group reported £57 million in revenue in the year ended April 30, 2016. The company's unique value proposition is built around a successful multi-category, multi-brand model, which is being deployed through a number of local websites, such as Glasses Direct (prescription glasses) and SunglassesShop (non-prescription sunglasses) in the UK, Lensbest (contact lenses) in Germany and LensOn (contact lenses) mainly in the Nordic countries. 

In addition, MyOptique Group is driving innovation to provide the best possible customer experience and has developed several house brands, such as London Retro and Scout marketed by Glasses Direct. It serves around one million active customers. 

The acquisition will enable Essilor to broaden its online footprint to Central Europe and to enhance its capabilities in successful multi-category, multi-brand models. MyOptique Group's key management team will remain in place.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.

Kevin Cornils, CEO of MyOptique, commented:  

"This transaction represents a major milestone for the MyOptique Group. Our new ownership provides a tremendous platform from which to continue to build a very successful business on our proven multi-category, multi-brand model. My management team and I are delighted by the opportunity afforded from becoming part of the Essilor family."

Maurice Helfgott, Chairman of MyOptique commented:

“The strong success of MyOptique in the European marketplace owes so much to its entrepreneurial founders, its smart and supportive investors and its visionary and talented management team led by Kevin Cornils. The business has achieved pan European scale, is growing fast and had a number of strategic options for its next stage. Joining Essilor, the world leader in ophthalmic optics, was by far the most compelling one.”

MyOptique is a privately held, Venture Capital backed business. Shareholders who supported the successful development of the company and will sell their shares in this transaction include Acton Capital Partners, Beringea, Cipio Partners, Index Ventures, Korys and Highland Europe.

Fergal Mullen, Partner at Highland Capital Europe commented:

“From day one when the original GlassesDirect business was founded by Jamie Murray Wells when he was still at university, this has been an extraordinary business with big ambitions.  We recognised that back in 2007 when we first invested in MyOptique and we are delighted to see the business that has grown so strongly under Kevin Cornils’ visionary leadership to reach another milestone today.  As part of Essilor the company is on a firm foundation on which to move to the next level.  This is a true European success story and we at Highland are very proud to have been part of it.”

About Essilor

The world's leading ophthalmic optics company, Essilor designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of lenses to improve and protect eyesight. Its mission is to improve lives by improving sight. To support this mission, Essilor allocates more than €200 million to research and innovation every year, in a commitment to continuously bring new, more effective products to market. Its flagship brands are Varilux®, Crizal®, Transitions®, Eyezen™, Xperio®, Foster Grant®, Bolon™ and Costa®. It also develops and markets equipment, instruments and services for eyecare professionals.

Essilor reported consolidated revenue of more than €6.7 billion in 2015 and employs 61,000 people worldwide. It markets its products in more than 100 countries and has 32 plants, 490 prescription laboratories and edging facilities, as well as five research and development centers around the world. For more information, please visit The Essilor share trades on the Euronext Paris market and is included in the Euro Stoxx 50 and CAC 40 indices. 

Tony Zappala