EssiLux loses Dutch court case against takeover target GrandVision

Credit: REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

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AMSTERDAM, Aug 24 (Reuters) - EssilorLuxottica ESLX.PAon Monday lost a Dutch court case in which the eyewear maker was seeking to obtain more information from acquisition target GrandVision GVNV.AS about its management of the coronavirus crisis.

The French-Italian maker of Ray-Ban had told a court hearing earlier this month that GrandVision's decisions to suspend payments to store owners and suppliers and to apply for state aid could give grounds for ending its proposed 7.2 billion euro ($8.5 billion) takeover.

The Rotterdam district court said EssiLux had failed to prove its claim that the Dutch company had breached the takeover agreement by not asking permission for the actions it took as lockdowns to combat COVID-19 spread throughout Europe.

The court said: "The disclosure of large volumes of corporate information that EssilorLuxottica demands without specific grounds can be characterised as a fishing expedition."

At the hearing, GrandVision said it had always informed EssiLux about its actions.

After the hearing on Monday, GrandVision said: "GrandVision continues to support EssilorLuxottica with the shared objective to obtain regulatory approval for the closure of the transaction within 12 to 24 months from the announcement date of 31 July."

EssiLux did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

EssiLux's bid to control the Dutch eyewear group's more than 7,000 outlets across the world was one of the largest takeover deals announced globally last year.

The deal still needs to approval from European Union antitrust authorities, who extended their investigation for the third time last month, until Aug 27.

(Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Susan Fenton and Jane Merriman)

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