GrandVision has initiated arbitration proceedings against EssilorLuxottica’s claims that the Dutch retailer had breached its obligations under the co-called “Support Agreement” in managing its business during the Covid-19 pandemic.

GrandVision reiterated that it strongly disagrees with EssilorLuxottica’s accusations. It added that it has initiated the arbitration to obtain confirmation that it is not in material breach of the Support Agreement concluded in connection with the planned sale by Hal Optical of its 76.72 percent stake in GrandVision to EssilorLuxottica .

GrandVision also wants to ensure that the Franco-Italian group complies with its own obligations under the agreement, in particular regarding the merger clearance processes. The Dutch company continues to support the objective of obtaining regulatory approval for the closure of the transaction within 12 to 24 months from the announcement date on July 31, 2019.

In a separate statement, EssilorLuxottica said that it regards the arbitration proceedings as a ”surprising” and ”obvious attempt” by Hal and GrandVision to detract from the Dutch retailer’s alleged breaches and its failure to provide the required information.It added that as of July 30, it had not yet received a response from the two companies. 

The Franco-Italian eyewear group stressed that GrandVision and Hal’s reluctance to provide such information has increased its ”concerns about their motives and the extent to which GrandVision has breached its obligations.” EssilorLuxottica claimed that it was acting in full compliance with the agreement and that any suggestion to the contrary was baseless.

On July 18, EssilorLuxottica initiated legal proceedings before a district court in Rotterdam to obtain the information from GrandVision. A court hearing is scheduled on Aug. 10, 2020.

After the annoucement of the lawsuit, the European Commission suspended the deadline for the end of an in-depth investigation into EssilorLuxottica’s proposed €7.2 billion takeover of GrandVision. 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 transaction.