The combined company, to be known as EssilorLuxottica, would be the largest player in the eyewear market, manufacturing lenses for prescription glasses and sunglasses, as well as frames.
LONDON — Essilor of France said Monday that it would merge with the Luxottica Group of Italy, owner of the Ray-Ban and Oakley brands, in a $49 billion deal that would create a giant in the eyewear industry.
The combined company, to be known as EssilorLuxottica, would be the largest player in the eyewear market, manufacturing lenses for prescription glasses and sunglasses, as well as frames. It would have a presence online as well as in stores, with brands including Foster Grant, Oliver Peoples, Persol, LensCrafters, Pearle Vision and Sunglass Hut.
The deal follows more than four years of talks. The new company would have more than 140,000 employees and sales in more than 150 countries. Based on 2015 results, it is forecast to have revenue of more than 15 billion euros, or about $16 billion, in 2016.
“The new group would be a clear leader in the optical industry, with a strong brand portfolio, global distribution capabilities and complementary expertise in ophthalmic lenses, prescription frames and sunglasses,” Fred Speirs, a UBS analyst, said in a research report on Monday.
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Luxottica, which makes prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses under a variety of brands, and Essilor, a maker of lenses, are the two largest companies in the sector, with Luxottica having a 14 percent market share and Essilor a 13 percent share, according to the market research firm Euromonitor International. Johnson & Johnson is the next largest, with a 3.9 percent share.
Luxottica makes frames for luxury brands like Armani, Chanel and Prada, and it is the biggest retailer of eyewear in the world.
More than half of revenue at the combined company would come from the United States, while Europe would account for about 22 percent and 18 percent would come from Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Aging populations, greater access to health care, awareness of sun-related damage and a rising middle class in emerging markets have led to a surge in sales in eyewear, particularly for branded frames.