Luxottica moves 900 jobs in Cole National merger

November 15, 2004

Twinsburg, OH-Italian eyewear manufacturing giant Luxottica Group has completed its $495 million acquisition of Cole National Corp. and will close its operation here, moving some of its 900 jobs south to its North American retail headquarters in Cincinnati.

Twinsburg, OH-Italian eyewear manufacturing giant Luxottica Group has completed its $495 million acquisition of Cole National Corp. and will close its operation here, moving some of its 900 jobs south to its North American retail headquarters in Cincinnati.

The company has not said how many of the Cole jobs would be transferred.

"We're looking to move as many as possible," Luxottica spokesman Luca Biondolillo reportedly told the Associated Press.

Cole National also owned personalized gift retailer Things Remembered, with 722 locations throughout the country. Luxottica said that division would be managed separately from the optical business, although observers have speculated that it would be sold.

Luxottica said it intends to combine Cole National's managed vision care business, Cole Managed Vision, with its own EyeMed to make both more competitive in their insurance products.

The Italian manufacturer said it would study other non-store operations, distribution systems, product mix, manufacturing labs, and technology over the next few months before deciding its strategy. The Federal Trade Commission approved the merger in late September. The deal closed Oct. 4, and Cole National shut down the investor relations portion of its Web site. Cole National stockholders will receive $27.72 per share in the transaction.

"The integration of Cole National represents a key step in the strategy for future growth of our group," Leonardo Del Vecchio, Luxottica's chairman, said in a statement. He added that the deal boosts the company's presence in North America. "This is something that has been at the core of our strategy since the acquisition of LensCrafters in 1995."