As of June 25, Dino Tabacchi, who is leaving as vice president of Safilo, owns 100 percent of the largest italian optical chain, Salmoiraghi & Vigano, as De Rigo waived its right of first refusal on the acquisition on June 4. De Rigo, which owns the General Optica chain in Spain and Dollond & Aitchison in the UK, probably frowned at the somewhat high price tag of e68,5 million in cash plus e45 million in debt, and preferred not to antagonize other Italian retailers. De Rigo already has a 17 percent market share in Italy, as compared to Salmoiraghi's market share of 4.2 percent.

Tabacchi has also taken over a small shareholding held by Salmoiraghi's top management following a management buyout in February of 2000. De Rigo owned the Italian chain for a few days, having acquired it together with GO, but then sold it to the management for e50 million. Two investment firms that participated in the transaction, taking over most of the shares, have made a nice capital gain.

Tabacchi plans to continue the implementation of Salmoiraghi's 3-year development plan, which calls for the addition of 30 new stores a year. The plan should be self-financed, yet the new owner may inject more funds to help finance possible acquisitions. He is particularly interested in small regional chains with a maximum of 10 stores each.