EU regulators to investigate EssilorLuxottica’s 7.2-billion-euro Dutch deal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU antitrust regulators opened on Thursday an -depth investigation into Ray-Ban maker EssilorLuxottica’s <ESLX.PA> 7.2 billion euro bid for Dutch opticians group GrandVision <GVNV.AS>, saying the deal could push up prices.

The European Commission said the deal between the world’s largest supplier of eyewear and Europe’s largest optical retail chain could also reduce competition, confirming a Reuters story on Jan. 31. It will decide by June 22 whether to clear or block the deal.

“In this consolidating market, we need to carefully assess whether the proposed merger would lead to higher prices or reduced choices for consumers when they visit their local optician,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement.

Retailers and rival lens makers have voiced concerns to the EU watchdog, sources had told Reuters. EssilorLuxottica was formed last year from the merger of French lens maker Essilor and Italian eyewear group Luxottica.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)