EssilorLuxottica has decided to file an appeal against a judgment dismissing its request for disclosure of information from GrandVision.
The company repeated that it is concerned about GrandVision’s behavior in “continuing to deny access to important information” related to its handling of the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Legal proceedings, including the appeal, do not affect the review of the proposed transaction by the competition authorities in the remaining jurisdictions,” Essilux added.
On Aug. 24, a Dutch district court rejected Essilux’s request to obtain information from GrandVision to determine whether the Dutch retailer had breached the terms of an agreement in view of its takeover by Essilux.
The court said that the large volume of corporate information that Essilux is seeking to obtain without specific accusations can be described as a “fishing expedition.”
The court, based in Rotterdam, dismissed Essilux’s demands for disclosure of information from both GrandVision and its parent company, Hal, on how the retail company conducted business during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Franco-Italian company noted that the information and data seized on the premises of GrandVision, with the permission of the court, will remain protected from any change and available for further legal proceedings.
The Dutch eyewear retailer said that it strongly disagreed with Essilux’s claims. In court, it stated that it had always informed Essilux about its actions. After the ruling, it reiterated that it continues to support Essilux with the shared objective to obtain regulatory approval for the closure of the €7.2 billion takeover within 12 to 24 months from the announcement date of July 31, 2019.
On July 18, Essilux initiated legal proceedings before the court to obtain the information from GrandVision, claiming that the retailer had allegedly ”breached its obligations under the support agreement.” A court hearing was held on Aug. 10 and a verdict released on Aug. 24.
The Franco-Italian eyewear company previously indicated that, despite repeated requests, GrandVision had not provided the information on a voluntary basis, leaving it with ”no other option but to resort to legal proceedings.” On July 30, GrandVision retaliated by launching arbitration proceedings.
After the announcement of the lawsuit, the European Commission suspended the deadline for the end of an in-depth investigation into the transaction. The deadline, which has been postponed several times, was set for Aug. 27, 2020.
The proposed deal, referred to as case M.9569, was notified to the Commission on Dec. 23, 2019, and the preliminary investigation ended on Feb. 6, 2020. When the Commission announced the opening of an in-depth investigation, also known as a Phase II review, it had initially indicated June 22 as the deadline for a decision regarding the deal.