Livingstone Partners acted as exclusive corporate finance advisor to Inspecs Group plc (“Inspecs”) on the acquisition of leading German eyewear manufacturer Eschenbach Holding GmbH (“Eschenbach”), a porfolio company of Equistone Partners Europe (“Equistone”), as well as on the equity and debt financing of the transaction.
Eschenbach was founded in 1913 and is leading eyewear and low-vision German company. The company offers corrective frames and sunglasses and is represented throughout Europe and the US. Eschenbach combines award-winning design with reliable quality, whether with distinctive glasses, vision aids, or binoculars. This commitment to quality and design is reflected in the “Red Dot Awards” and “German Design Awards” that Eschenbach has received for its eyewear collections in the last three years alone. The Eschenbach brands include Marco Polo, Humphrey’s, Mini Eyewear, Titanflex, Freigeist, Tura, and Ted Baker. The Eschenbach Group’s sales in 2019 reached EUR 143 million.
Inspecs was founded in the UK in 1988 by Robin Totterman and is a multinational designer, manufacturer, and distributor of spectacle frames and lenses. The group produces a wide range of optical, sunglasses, and safety frames on a branded and OEM basis. Inspecs is thus one of the few suppliers able to offer its customers (which include international optician and retail chains and distributors and independent opticians) such a one-stop solution. The company’s distribution network spans 80 countries, includes about 30,000 sales outlets, and has subsidiaries in the UK, Portugal, Scandinavia, the US, and China and production facilities in Vietnam, China, the UK, and Italy.
By merging with Eschenbach, Inspecs continues to expand its position in the international eyewear market with strength.
“Joining these two industry-leading businesses together will create the 6th largest eyewear company in the world and enable the enlarged Group to penetrate key global markets further while also diversifying our combined customer and product portfolios,” says Chris Kay, CFO of Inspecs Plc. “The team at Livingstone were crucial to enabling a smooth transaction, and their advice, counsel, and expertise were crucial in enabling the deal to flow and negotiate.”
Michael Westhoven, Partner at Livingstone Düsseldorf, comments: “After its IPO in February of this year, we are very pleased to be able to further support Inspecs in this decisive step towards becoming one of the leading groups in the international eyewear business and are looking forward to the further development of the company. From our point of view, Inspecs and Eschenbach represent a perfect combination of two ideally complementary companies.”
Inpsecs is the third successfully completed transaction in the eyewear sector following ic! Berlin and Mykita.