Safilo Group announced the closing of the acquisition of the 70 percent stake in the equity Blenders Eyewear LLC. Blenders was founded in San Diego in 2012 by Chase Fisher. Safilo said in a release that Blenders Eyewear has “built an advanced e-commerce platform, with digital and social media skills, achieving fast and profitable growth. The company generates approximately 95 percent of its current business through its proprietary direct-to-consumer e-commerce platform.”
Blenders Eyewear’s value for money products are inspired by the California lifestyle appealing to a broad range of consumers with a focus on Millennials and Gen Z’s.
The brand has reportedly been profitable since its inception, which Safilo said has fueled its rapid growth through social marketing strategies, partnering with influencers, athletes, lifestyle enthusiasts, and product collaborations.
Blenders Eyewear closed 2019 with net sales of $40.7 million, up 38 percent compared to 2018, achieving a three-year CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) of 174 percent.
Angelo Trocchia, Safilo’s CEO, said: “The closing of the Blenders acquisition represents a big leap forward for us on the 360° digital transformation strategy we presented in December last year and which we are now accelerating in all its three key components, from the launch of the latest technologies in the B2B and CRM fields to the strengthening of digital and social marketing capabilities to the direct-to-consumer distribution.
The Safilo CEO went on to say, “Blenders Eyewear is a compelling price-to-value eyewear proposition, a digitally native business model and a strong e-commerce pure player which goes to enrich our proprietary brand’s portfolio in a crucial moment for our Group’s business development and for our industry’s evolution.
“We are working in difficult times, turning around our business in a challenging and fast-evolving marketplace and I am firmly convinced that a focused execution of our strategies will put our company in a stronger position, better equipped to meet our challenges head-on and to be frontrunners in some of the new business opportunities that lie ahead.”
Fisher commented: “We are super excited to have finalized our union with Safilo, ready to progress faster than ever on our growth and development projects.
“The global pandemic’s lockdowns that we have been all suffering have undoubtedly elevated the importance of e-commerce and digital channels, also pushing new consumers to shop online for the very first time. We, at Blenders Eyewear, have seen and are experiencing this digital escalation. Our results were very solid in the first quarter of the year, with sales up more than 30 percent, and further accelerating in April and May. Together with Safilo, we aim to continue scaling up our digital capabilities, constantly improving the customer journey and experience, alongside pioneering new ways of engaging with ever more demanding consumers, building profitable traffic and conversion.”
The overall consideration for the 70 percent controlling interest in the company is $63.9 million (€57.5 million). Fisher will retain ownership of 30 percent of the equity interests and, pursuant to the contractual terms, the remaining equity interests are subject to customary reciprocal put and call options which can be exercised starting from 2023.
Fisher will remain CEO of Blenders Eyewear which will continue to operate in San Diego. The acquisition has been financed through the utilization of the €60 million second tranche of the €90 million subordinated loan provided by Safilo’s reference shareholder, Multibrands Italy B.V., controlled by HAL Holding N.V., as communicated to the market on February 10th, 2020.