Prescription Eyewear Limited acquires Nordic contact len retailer LensOn

Prescription Eyewear Limited acquires Nordic contact len retailer LensOn


 

Prescription Eyewear Ltd, the parent company of MyOptique.com, SunglassesShop.com and GlassesDirect.com, announced today that it has added LensOn, the leading Nordic online contact lens seller, to its growing portfolio of market-leading brands.

  • LensOn is the leading independent online contact lens seller in Northern Europe, operating local language sites across Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK

 

  • The acquisition re-affirms the Prescription Eyewear group as the clear European leader in the growing online optical segment with a full offering covering all three major segments in the eyewear market (prescription glasses, sunglasses and contact lenses)

 

  • The deal will also expand PEL’s already significant geographical footprint across Europe, with now more than 60% of sales coming from outside its home market in the UK

 

  • Total annual unique visitors to the group’s websites in 2012 numbered approximately 8.2 million across 100+ countries and local sites in 12 different languages

 

  • The combined group will have generated nearly £30m ($45m, €36m) of Gross Retail Sales in 2012 and is profitable

 

  • Through November 2012 the group has served over 750,000 total customers, and currently ships over 2,000 pairs of glasses, sunglasses or contact lens orders a day, equating to a customer order shipped every 40 seconds

 

  • Total staff in the group now numbers nearly 140 in the UK and Sweden

 

Founders Kim Persson and Johan Bergenheim will continue to manage the LensOn business and drive growth for the whole group in the Nordic region.  The European eyewear market is estimated at over €25bn of which currently only 3-4% is online.  As the optical market follows other high-growth ecommerce categories such as fashion and apparel towards online penetration rates closer to 10%, the Company has identified a €3-4 billion opportunity in the European online market over the next 3-5 years.

Prescription Eyewear Limited’s CEO Kevin Cornils comments, “We’re extremely excited to be adding the LensOn team and business into our portfolio of brands including Glasses Direct, Sunglasses Shop and MyOptique.  LensOn has established itself as a strong player across the Nordic region and we look forward to working with them to grow their business not only into new European markets, but also to complement their current contact lens offering with prescription glasses and sunglasses.  The deal also solidifies PEL’s position as the clear market leader in the fast-growing European online eyewear category and positions us well to take advantage of the significant shift we’re seeing as consumers increasingly choose the internet for the choice, value and convenience that it offers.”

Kim Persson, CEO of LensOn remarked, “PEL and its businesses will be a great partner for us as we look to continue our rapid growth across the Nordic markets and beyond.  Their expertise and leading position in selling glasses and sunglasses online will enable us to greatly accelerate our efforts in those markets and provide a full-service offering to our customers.  We also look forward to working with them to extend our business into the UK and continental European markets including Germany and France where the opportunity is significant.”

The LensOn acquisition caps a busy year for the PEL group that saw;

  • The recent launch of myOptique.com, the first-of-its-kind premier eyewear site, offering a carefully curated mix of premium glasses and sunglasses featuring the world’s most sought-after brands for both men and women
  • The launch of Sunglasses Shop into the US and Australian markets, bringing its international sales to over 50% of revenue
  • The launch of Glasses Direct’s latest internally designed and developed house brand, Scout, brings the total number of created brands to 3, including the popular London Retro (vintage-inspired) and Element (eco-friendly)
  • The addition of Dean Butler, founder of Vision Express (now part of the HAL group) and Lenscrafters (now part of Luxottica Retail) as a Non-Executive Director to its Board of Directors

 

The acquisition was financed by Prescription Eyewear’s existing venture capital investors, Acton Capital Partners (Etsy, Zooplus, MyTheresa, Linas Matkasse), Highland Capital Partners (VistaPrint, Qihoo, Lulu Lemon, Starent, Quigo) and Index Ventures (Skype, mySQL, Net-A-Porter, ASOS, Etsy, LoveFilm, Last.fm).  Additional funding was received from GP Bull Hound Sidecar, Silicon Valley Bank and Kreos Capital.  The company was advised by GP Bullhound on financing and Wilmer Hale on legals.

About the Companies

Prescription Eyewear Ltd’s portfolio includes the following market-leading websites:

 Glasses Direct

Founded by Jamie Murray Wells, Glasses Direct is the UK’s leading online glasses retailer having established the market by focusing on innovations that transform the way that people buy glasses.  Glasses Direct strives to offer its online customers a better experience than the high street, offering:

  • Better Choice – Customers can browse hundreds of fashionable and affordable frames from designer and own-label collections.  With the Unlimited Free Home Trial, you can try on your favourite frames in the comfort of your own home and get opinions from friends and family without the sales pressure.
  • Unmatched Convenience – Glasses Direct gives you the choice to browse for frames whenever and wherever you want. Have your glasses delivered direct to your door, without having to travel back and forth to the opticians.
  • Bigger Savings – Glasses Direct has saved the bespectacled British public over £40m to date.  Customers can also receive a Free Second Pair on ALL frames costing £55 or more that that can also be used for friends and family.
  • Faster Delivery – With 70% of orders shipped within 3 days from our own UK laboratory, customers receive their glasses when they really need them, rather than collecting them from the store in a couple of weeks.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed – Glasses Direct offers free 14 day returns if you’re not satisfied with your order for any reason – or customers can talk to our helpful team of qualified opticians at any point.

MyOptique.com

Recently launched luxury online eyewear brand MyOptique.com is the new online destination for premium eyewear, offering a carefully curated mix of premium eyewear for both men and women

  • The site hosts a range of designer brands including Prada, Miu Miu, Ray Ban, Gucci, DVF, Versace, Michael Kors, Dolce & Gabbana and Thierry Lasry
  • The team at MyOptique is passionate about providing the best optical technology available as well as the most luxurious online experience for time restricted consumers looking for unrivalled expert advice and up to the minute eyewear trends
  • MyOptique provides inspiration for the discerning eyewear customer through its ‘Trends’ and ‘Eyewear Icons’ content and offers personalised advice through its Style Advisors to give the best possible customer experience

 About LensOn.com

Founded by Kim Persson and Johan Bergenheim, LensOn is the leading independent online retailer of contact lenses and accessories in Northern Europe.

  • The company sells contact lenses through local language sites across Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK, with over 50% of sales outside of its home Swedish market
  • With over 130 brands and a range of more than 60,000 SKUs, LensOn has one of the broadest online selections of contact lenses and accessories in Europe.  In addition, LensOn sells its own private label of coloured lenses and various contact lens accessories under the name of ‘by LensOn’
  • Approximately 95% of all orders are shipped the same day of order and on average 5 orders get processed every other working minute
  • An innovative partner program with opticians across Sweden enables LensOn customers to book a full range of eye exams online at lenson.com
  • Value-added services developed in-house including a subscription option, re-packing for easier delivery, ‘ClickandReload’ for returning customers and express delivery are examples of the Company´s constant innovation to provide the highest levels of customer service in the market
  • A mobile interface adapted to smartphones enables the customer to order contact lenses on the run in less than 30 seconds
  • Being highly appreciated both by customers and industry, LensOn has been awarded numerous times for its customer friendly offer and business growth
  • LensOn is located in Stockholm, Sweden, with 30 employees

 

LensOn is acquired from Nordic private equity fund Verdane Capital V, venture capitalist and company Chairman Jan Looström, the company’s founders, Kim Persson and Johan Bergenheim, amongst other investors.  Verdane Capital Advisors has over 25 years experience in the venture capital and private equity market as advisor to Verdane Capital funds.

For further information please contact Jessie@wingfieldpr.com 0207 627 1894


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