The looming global monopoly in the eyewear business

There was apprehension among employees when Essilor International bought B.C. success story Coastal Contacts for $430 million in 2014. Rumours circulated that the French lens-making giant would shut down Coastal’s state-of-the-art, on-demand eyeglass factory in East Vancouver. That didn’t happen (though there was significant management turnover), but this deep dive by The Guardian into Essilor’s impending merger with eyeglass frame maker Luxottica offers a glimpse of the larger forces at play. Once completed, the merged entity will control around one third of global eyewear sales.