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Why the $49 billion merger of eyewear giants Luxottica and Essilor worries some antitrust experts

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Karin Shedd
Why the $49 billion merger of eyewear giants Luxottica and Essilor worries some antitrust experts
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Since its founding in 1961, Luxottica has transformed glasses from a necessary medical device to a fashion statement.

It owns several popular brands, like Ray-Ban and Oakley, manufactures frames for dozens of luxury fashion houses, owns several eyeglass retail chains, and even operates the vision insurance company EyeMed.

Its vertically integrated strategy helped it pull in $10 billion in sales in 2018 and control 40% and 76% of the U.S. glasses and sunglasses market, respectively. But this strategy has also raised eyebrows among antitrust experts, who worry the company has too much power over the industry. The concern rose in 2017, when Luxottica announced a merger with the French lenses manufacturer Essilor worth $49 billion.

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