StyleMark is a large U.S. firm that sells sunglasses and other products under some 20 brand names like Nine West, Disney, Speedo, Ocean Pacific and Revlon, but mostly in the USA. The company has bought Polaroid Eyewear International, the eyewear division of Polaroid Corporation, positioned in a higher segment of the market, leading to the establishment of what is being described as the world's largest sunglass company in the mid-tier segment, with annual sales of more than 50 million pairs in 67 countries. About 10 percent of them will be sold under the Polaroid brand name.
Polaroid Eyewear has been most recently the property of Petters Group Worldwide, a large group that bought recently all of Polaroid Corporation's assets. StyleMark and Petters are forming a joint venture that will continue to own the rights to the Polaroid name for eyewear, ensuring a correct positioning for the brand the market.
The acquisition will give StyleMark a boost in its distribution outside the USA, especially in Europe. It provides StyleMark with a 200,000-square-foot production facility in Vale of Leven, Scotland. Polaroid Eyewear's corporate office will remain based in Zürich, where product development, sales and marketing are located. All 140 Polaroid employees will be transitioned to the new company.
A licensing agreement between the company and Specialty Lens Corporation, under which the company produces prescription lenses under the iRx Polaroid label, will likely remain in place. SLC is a U.S.-based subsidiary of Essilor International.
StyleMark may help Polaroid Eyewear to gain a stronger presence in the USA, where it is sold by a distributor. The future international distribution of StyleMark's other lines is not yet clear. Some carry licenses only for the USA or for certain other countries, but StyleMark could try to extend the reach of some of its licenses.