It's not yet official, but an executive of the L'Amy Group said the French eyewear company is being taken over by another private French group, TWC, that specializes in watches. The purchase agreement was reached just before the owners of the two groups went on summer holidays. We were unable to obtain the details of the deal or comments about possible synergies.

Little information was available about the TWC group, which does not even have its own website, according to its marketing department. Run by Alain and Aymeric Chaumet, it has nothing to do with a famous jeweler, Chaumet, that was taken over by the LVMH luxury goods group in 1999. However, TWC is said to be distributing fashion jewelry, handbags and other accessories in addition to watches. Its main markets are France, Germany, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

TWC has its own medium-priced brand of watches, Clyda, and has licensing deals for watches with various French fashion labels including DDB, Ted Lapidus and Thierry Mugler. Four years ago, its sales were reported to be at an annual level of about €35 million.

TWC is expected to bring more financial muscle to L'Amy. Their association could lead to an expansion of the product ranges of both companies, possibly with the addition of new brands to their respective portfolios.

For L'Amy, which is celebrating the 200th anniversary of its eyewear business, launched by Louis-Félix Lamy in 1810, the deal with TWC caps a difficult period in which the group has been trying to recover from the loss of the important Lacoste eyewear license, which is now in the hands of Charmant.

It has notably reacted by signing new licensing deals with the likes of Proenza Schouler and by launching new brands such as Linkskins, a line of ecological eyewear.

On the other hand, L'Amy's holding company, Kappa 26, recently divested its stake in Lunettes Grasset, licensee of Agnes B, DDB, Eden Park, Levi's and Zadig & Voltaire eyewear (see June 7 issue of EWI).

L'Amy still has an impressive portfolio of company-owned brands, such as C by L'Amy and Louis F. Lamy, and licensed brands. It recently renewed its license with Chloë. Other licenses include Chevignon, Columbia, Kenzo, Nina Ricci, Pacific Trail, Rochas and Sonia Rykiel.