Coastal Contacts Acquired by French Lens Maker for $430 Million

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Clearly Contacts founder Roger Hardy | BCBusiness
Image by: Adam Blasberg
Clearly Contacts founder Roger Hardy.

Canada's online retailing giant, Coastal Contacts—a Vancouver success story—has been bought for $430 million

Vancouver’s Coastal Contacts Inc., the parent company of ClearlyContacts.ca (known in other markets as Coastal.com), has been acquired by Essilor, one of the world’s largest lens manufacturers based out of France, for CAD$430 million.

According to a Coastal Contacts spokesperson, the purchase represents the largest investment in an e-commerce company in Canadian history.

“Essilor shares Coastal.com’s focus on customers, innovation and growth,” said Roger Hardy, the company’s founder and CEO, in a statement released Thursday night. “The combination will enhance Coastal.com’s ability to achieve its goals while realizing a significant all-cash premium for our shareholders. I am confident this transaction is the right decision for Coastal.com, our employees and our shareholders.”

The purchase still has to be approved by shareholders, as well as receive court and regulatory approval. Assuming all that happens, the deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014.

Essilor designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of lenses under brand names such as Varilux, Crizal and Foster Grant. Last year the company reported consolidated revenue of over €5 billion.
 
Coastal.com, started by Hardy in 2000, is a leading manufacturer and retailer of eyewear products offered online and, in recent years, through physical store outlets in downtown Vancouver and Kitsilano. For the fiscal year ending October 31, 2013, the company realized $218 million in sales, up 11 per cent over the previous year. Contact lens sales comprised 73 per cent of that overall sales figure while glasses represented 27 per cent.



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