Safilo Completes Acquisition of 70 Percent Stake in Blenders Eyewear

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PADUA and SAN DIEGO—Safilo Group has announced the closing of its acquisition of a 70 percent stake in the equity of the Blenders Eyewear LLC, a California-based e-commerce eyewear company. The acquisition was first announced in December of last year. Blenders Eyewear closed 2019 with net sales of USD 40.7 million, up 38 percent compared to the previous year and with a 3-year CAGR of 174 percent, Safilo reported. Angelo Trocchia, Safilo CEO said, “The closing of the Blenders acquisition represents a big leap forward for us on the 360° digital transformation strategy we presented in December last year and which we are now accelerating in all its three key components, from the launch of the latest technologies in the B2B and CRM fields to the strengthening of digital and social marketing capabilities, to the Direct to Consumer distribution.

"Blenders Eyewear is a compelling price-to-value eyewear proposition, a digitally native business model and a strong e-commerce pure player which goes to enrich our proprietary brands portfolio in a crucial moment for our Group’s business development and for our industry’s evolution.

"We are working in difficult times, turning around our business in a challenging and fast-evolving marketplace and I am firmly convinced that a focused execution of our strategies will put our Company in a stronger position, better equipped to meet our challenges head-on and to be frontrunners in some of the new business opportunities that lie ahead.”

Chase Fisher, founder and CEO of Blenders Eyewear, said “We are super excited to have finalized our union with Safilo, ready to progress faster than ever on our growth and development.The global pandemic’s lockdowns that we have been all suffering have undoubtedly elevated the importance of e-commerce and digital channels, also pushing new consumers to shop online for the very first time.

"We, at Blenders Eyewear, have seen and are experiencing this digital escalation. Our results were very solid in the first quarter of the year, with sales up more than 30 percent, and further accelerating in April and May. Together with Safilo, we aim to continue scaling up our digital capabilities, constantly improving the customer journey and experience, alongside pioneering new ways of engaging with ever more demanding consumers, building profitable traffic and conversion.”

The overall consideration for the 70 percent controlling interest in Blenders Eyewear is USD 63.9 million (corresponding to €57.5 million). Chase Fisher will retain full ownership of 30 percent of the equity interests and, pursuant to the contractual terms, these remaining equity interests are subject to customary reciprocal put and call options which can be exercised starting from 2023. Chase Fisher will remain CEO of Blenders Eyewear which will continue to run out of San Diego.

The acquisition has been entirely financed through the utilization of the €60 million second tranche of the € 90 million subordinated loan provided by Safilo’s reference shareholder, Multibrands Italy B.V., controlled by HAL Holding N.V., as communicated to the market on Feb. 10, 2020.