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EssilorLuxottica to go ahead with Grandvision deal

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FILE PHOTO: Sunglasses from Ray-Ban are on display at a optician shop in Hanau near Frankfurt
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PARIS (Reuters) -Ray-Ban maker EssilorLuxottica on Tuesday said it had decided to go ahead as planned with a takeover of Dutch eyewear store operator Grandvision and to close the deal on July 1.

EssilorLuxottica, the French-Italian eyewear group, announced the bid for GrandVision in July 2019, aiming to control the Dutch company's more than 7,000 outlets across the world.

But the planned deal has since been caught up in a legal battle between the two sides, with EssilorLuxottica arguing that decisions made by GrandVision during the COVID-19 pandemic could give grounds for ending its proposed takeover.

Earlier this month, a Dutch arbitration court ruled that GrandVision had breached obligations of the takeover agreement, which meant that EssilorLuxottica was no longer bound to the pact.

"After assessing all our options, we have made the decision to proceed with the completion of the deal without further delay," EssilorLuxottica said in a statement.

"The strategic rationale of the transaction remains strong and unchanged, and after two years of efforts and relentless work, we are now ready to turn a page and start a new chapter of EssilorLuxottica’s history, with GrandVision."

EssilorLuxottica had said after the Dutch arbitration court ruling that it was reviewing its options, including walking away from the bid.

GrandVision, majority-owned by Dutch investment firm Hal Trust, said it was taking note of EssilorLuxottica's decision to close the deal with HAL on July 1.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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