The cool glasses to stay cool?
Last modified on Monday, 23 July 2007 11:20
In an unpredictable turn of events, hip sunglasses designer and manufacturer Oakley, Inc. has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Italian eyeglasses manufacturer Luxottica Group S.p.A.
Oakley is known for its “fusion of art and science” in high performance and cutting edge rogue eyewear looks as much as it is by the famous athletes and celebrities who wear its glasses. Oakley is the manufacturer of the unique Oakley Thump, customized sunglasses that contain a built-in wireless MP3 player that can hold up to 1 GB of songs and data. Luxottica Group has long been known as a premium prescription eyewear manufacturer sporting designer names, but caters to more mainstream fashion oriented designs and moderately priced eyewear.
Under the agreement Luxottica Group will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Oakley, for $29.30 per share, or a total purchase price of approximately US$2.1 billion. This merger was announced at the end of Oakley’s 2nd Quarter earnings.
Oakley, Inc.’s self-proclaimed “Mad Scientist” founder and Chairman of the Board Jim Jannard expressed his support for the joining of forces of the two companies, stating that he believes Luxottica understands the uniqueness of the Oakley brand and is committed to preserving it. It will remain to be seen how well the individualistic southern California workforce culture will blend with the strongly driven workforce of an Italian owned manufacturing company.
Let’s hope it does not spell the twilight of the highly innovative Oakley brand of eyewear and apparel. Another unknown is how the merger will affect the high profile athletes who are currently sponsored by Oakley, as Oakley has long been a strong supporter of all types of athletic events.