Eyewear manufacturer Marcolin in talks to sell, Kering and EssilorLuxottica are among potential buyers

Italian eyewear manufacturer known for producing Tom Ford's eyewear line, Marcolin, is considering a sale to potential buyers including Kering and EssilorLuxottica. Other buyers include Safilo and Marchon.

Transaction Snapshot

  • Deal value: Seeking valuation up to €1.3bn.
  • Deal multiples: N/A.
  • Deal type: Acquisition.
  • Potential investors: Kering, EssilorLuxottica, Safilo, Marchon.

Marcolin, headquartered in Longarone, Italy, is up for sale by its majority owner, PAI Partners, which holds an 83% stake. The Paris-based private equity firm, which acquired a share in Marcolin in 2012, has appointed Goldman Sachs as advisors for the sale. The potential acquisition has been complicated by the €1.3bn price tag, seen as a sticking point in negotiations.

Marcolin has secured lucrative licensing agreements, including a perpetual deal to produce Tom Ford’s eyewear for €250m, alongside other partnerships with brands like Pucci, Zegna, Max&Co, and recently, Christian Louboutin. Despite the attractive Tom Ford license, the high valuation is a concern for potential buyers, due to the complexity of Marcolin's operations and integration challenges.

Kering, with its expanding eyewear division, and EssilorLuxottica, the largest eyewear manufacturer globally, along with Safilo and Marchon, have all shown interest in Marcolin. However, concerns about overspending and potential regulatory issues have made them cautious. EssilorLuxottica is considered the most suitable fit for Marcolin, while Marchon and Safilo are seen as less likely buyers due to their comparative size and financial performance.

Private equity interest has been limited due to the high price set by PAI Partners, but this could change if Marcolin fails to secure a deal with strategic buyers. Marcolin reported a 3% revenue growth to €421.6mn and a 28% increase in adjusted core profit to €64.6mn in the first nine months of 2023. Full-year results are anticipated at the end of the month.

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