Luxottica Snaps Up Armani Eyewear License

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Milan—In the tug of war between two Italian-based titans in the eyewear business over which company, Safilo or Luxottica, would snag the lucrative Armani license, the tension may be over.

Armani Group, which owns the Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani, and A/X brands, said today that it has signed a letter of intent “which is preliminary to an exclusive license agreement” for Luxottica to design, manufacture and distribute sunglasses and prescription eyewear, beginning in 2013.

One of the pioneers in the designer sunglass business in the late 80s, Giorgio Armani initially had its sunglass license with Luxottica, but switched to Safilo Group.

“Back in 1988 Giorgio Armani and Luxottica started a very successful journey together: together we changed the world of eyeglasses which, previously perceived as mere functional instruments, evolved into ‘eyewear’ and into indispensable fashion accessories. Armani is eponymous of excellence of ‘Made in Italy’ and represents values which are perfectly in line with ours. We are therefore excited to work together again, in a partnership that will for sure be mutually beneficial,” said Andrea Guerra, Luxottica’s ceo.

Safilo Cuts 2015 Sales Target as a Result

The negotiations for the Armani renewal had been closely watched in Italy. In September, Safilo told analysts’ negotiations were underway to renew the license. According to analysts, Armani’s business represented about 15% of Safilo’s 2010 sales of 1.08 billion euros.

Last month, however, during an investor call, Guerra indicated Luxottica is close to a deal to score the Armani brands.

Safilo, the smaller of the two companies, cut its 2015 sales target by some 150 to 200 million euros to the loss of the Armani license.

Shares in Safilo rose in trading today after falling upon the news. Safilo told investors it was confident that it could meet its medium-term business and economic targets by developing its current portfolio, launching new Safilo brands and signing new licenses.

For instance, earlier this week, Safilo announced it had signed a multi-year licensing deal with LVMH brand Celine.


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