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Italy's Safilo buys 70% of Blenders Eyewear

Italian eyewear-maker Safilo Group SpA said Dec. 9 that it acquired a 70% stake in California-based Blenders Eyewear LLC from the latter's founder in a deal that values the company at $90 million.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Chase Fisher founded Blenders in California in 2012. The company generates about 95% of its current business through its direct-to-consumer e-commerce platform. Blenders recently opened its first flagship store in San Diego.

Blenders expects to record net sales of about $42 million in 2019, up 40% year over year.

Safilo CEO Angelo Trocchia said in a statement that Blenders "will enrich our proprietary portfolio with new strong skills and a particular focus on our key U.S. market."

Upon completion of the transaction, Fisher will retain ownership of 30% of Blenders. Fisher's interest will be subject to customary reciprocal put and call options, which can be exercised starting 2023. Fisher will also remain CEO of the company.

Safilo said it will be funding the purchase from available cash and credit facilities and through a loan provided by Safilo's reference shareholder, Multibrands Italy BV, controlled by HAL Holding NV, for €30 million, which Safilo aims to draw for the closing of the transaction.