LVMH close to buying around 10% in Italian glasses-maker Marcolin

LVMH, the world's largest luxury-goods company, is close to buying around 10 per cent stake in Italian glasses-maker Marcolin S.p.A. in order to increase control over eyewear manufacturing for its brands, Bloomberg yesterday reported, citing a source close to the matter.

The move comes after rival Kering's decided to take its eyewear business in house by terminating its Gucci licensing agreement with Safilo.

LVMH would get more control over the production process at the company, which currently manufactures its Emilio Pucci line of glasses, and may ultimately make Marcolin a production hub for its other brands, including Celine, the report added.

The move also comes just days after French lensmaker Essilor International SA struck a deal to buy Italy's Luxottica Group SpA, for about €22.8 billion ($24 billion) in stock, in order to become the world's largest player in the €95-billion eyewear market. (See: French lensmaker Essilor to buy Italy's Luxottica for $24 bn)

The stake sale could value all of Marcolin by as much as €500 million ($531 million), the report added.

Founded in 1961 by Giovanni Marcolin Coffen and based in Belluno, Italy, Marcolin designs, manufactures, and distributes eyewear products for men and women worldwide.

The company sells its products through 161 distributors in 127 countries and sold 14.3 million eyeglasses last year.

The company offers its products under the Tom Ford, Tod's, Balenciaga, Roberto Cavalli, Montblanc, Zegna, Pucci, Moncler, Diesel, Swarovski, DSquared2, Just Cavalli, Timberland, Cover Girl, Kenneth Cole New York, Kenneth Cole, Guess, Guess by Marciano, Gant, Harley Davidson, WEB, National, and Marcolin brands.

Private equity firm PAI partners had acquired a majority 80 per cent of Marcolin in 2012 in a deal that valued the company at €282 million.