The maker of Ray Ban is merging with a rival in a €50 billion deal

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Models Gigi Hadid and Ireland Baldwin attend Ray-Ban celebrates District 1937 featuring Blondie and MS MR on May 15, 2014 in New York City.
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Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Luxottica

(Reuters) – Italian eyewear maker Luxottica and French corrective eye lens maker Essilor have agreed on a €50 billion (£44 billion, $53.16 billion) merger.

The deal will make Luxottica’s founder, Leonardo Del Vecchio, the largest single shareholder in the combined company with about a 30% stake. He will also serve as Executive Chairman and CEO of the new company, which will be called EssilorLuxottica

Post-merger, the company will have a turnover of €15 billion, more than 140,000 staff, and sales in over 150 countries, Esslior says in a statement announcing the deal. The deal is expected to “generate significant synergies” – business-speak for cost savings – of up to €600 million.

The company says the deal will allow both businesses to “better seize growth opportunities resulting from strong demand in the eyewear market.”

Luxottica, founded by Del Vecchio in 1961, owns iconic sunglasses brands such as Ray-Ban and Oakley and also has the license for brands such as Burberry and Ralph Lauren. It owns the retail chain Sunglass Hut.

Essilor, meanwhile, makes corrective glasses and lenses for people will eyesight problems.

Leonardo Del Vecchio says in a statement: “The marriage between two key companies in their sectors will bring great benefits to the market, for employees and mainly for all our consumers. Finally, after fifty years, two products which are naturally complementary, namely frames and lenses, will be designed, manufactured and distributed under the same roof.”

Essilor CEO and chairman Hubert Sagnières says in a statement: “Our project has one simple motivation: to better respond to the needs of an immense global population in vision correction and vision protection by bringing together two great companies, one dedicated to lenses and the other to frames.

“By joining forces today, these two international players can now accelerate their global expansion to the benefit of customers, employees and shareholders as well as the industry as a whole.”

UBS analyst Fred Spiers says in a note sent to clients on Monday: “The new group would be a clear leader on the optical industry with a strong brand portfolio, global distribution capabilities and complementary expertise in ophthalmic lenses, prescription frames and sunglasses.”

(Reporting by Rama Venkat Raman in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Cooney)