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Luxottica buys Sunglass Hut
February 22, 2001: 10:03 a.m. ET

Italian eyewear maker to pay $462M cash for sunglasses retailer
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Luxottica Group SpA agreed Thursday to acquire Sunglass Hut International Inc. for $462 million cash, expanding the Italian eyewear maker's footprint in the U.S. retail market.

Milan, Italy-based Luxottica (LUX: Research, Estimates) will pay $11.50 a share cash for Sunglass Hut's outstanding shares. The purchase represents a 38 percent premium to Sunglass Hut's closing share price of $8.31 Wednesday.

graphicLuxottica will also assume $191 million in debt, which brings the total value of the deal to $653 million, the companies said in a statement.

Luxottica makes eyeglass frames, in 2,650 styles, in the mid- and premium-priced categories. The Sunglass Hut purchase will expand the Italian eyewear maker's reach in the United States. Luxottica bought Bausch & Lomb sunglass business, which includes the Ray-Ban brand, in 1999, and acquired LensCrafters in May 1995.

Coral Gables, Fla.-based Sunglass Hut (RAYS: Research, Estimates) is a specialty niche retailer, offering traditional and designer frames, with stores and mall stands throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe.

The Sunglass Hut purchase must still receive regulatory approval, the companies said.

Shares for Luxottica gained 1 cent to $13.50 in morning trading Thursday while Sunglass Hut rose by $3 to $11.31. graphic