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Tuesday / June 25.
HomeminewsGeneral Optical Wins in Mammoth Merger

General Optical Wins in Mammoth Merger

Vision Services Plan (VSP), the largest vision insurance company in the U.S. and Canada, has acquired Marchon Eyewear, the world’s third largest supplier of ophthalmic frames and sunglasses, creating a USD$3.3 billion company.

The acquisition puts VSP’s Altair Eyewear operation under the umbrella of Marchon, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of VSP; and melds VSP’s Eyefinity Internet portal with Marchon’s OfficeMate Software Solutions practice-management operation into a new eye care business solutions organisation.

As part of the transaction, VSP will also acquire Marchon’s 50 per cent ownership of Eye Designs, which designs custom interiors and merchandising systems for the optical industry.

VSP President and CEO Rob Lynch told the optical industry newsletter VMail that VSP will “continue to remain committed to a provider network of independent private practice optometry in the U.S.,” while Marchon’s CEO Al Berg said: “Marchon Eyewear will continue to supply and support its brands and services to its total customer base of quality retailers, including independent opticians, optometrists, ophthalmologists and chains around the world”.

help build the independent practices and help the independent practitioner compete on a level playing field with corporate optometry

Locally, Jonathon Lewis, Managing Director of General Optical, the biggest frame supplier to independent optometrists in Australia and New Zealand and distributor of Marchon in Australasia, has welcomed the massive merger.

Mr. Lewis said: “For over 20 years General Optical has been dedicated to providing great products and services to our customers in Australia and New Zealand. As our business has grown, we have entered into several strategic partnerships with major international Eyewear companies, including Marchon Eyewear.

“VSP Vision Care provides vision insurance benefits to one in every six Americans. Through its network of more than 25,000 private practice eye doctors, VSP delivers full-service eyecare benefits to its millions of members in the United States and Canada. VSP is based in Rancho Cordova, Calif., and has a workforce of more than 2,500 employees. VSP’s total revenue in 2007 was USD$2.6 billion. For more information on VSP, please visit vsp.com.

“Given the rapidly changing eye care marketplace, this is a win for General Optical, our business partner Marchon, VSP and the optical industry. This merger will help us continue our vision for growth by expanding our products, services and programs to our valued customer base. All of Marchon’s brands support this strategic move.

Mr. Lewis believes this merger could not have happened at a better time for our local industry. He says he wants to “help build the independent practices and help the independent practitioner compete on a level playing field with corporate optometry.

“Individualism is the independent’s strength. With this merger we have the tools, products and services to provide the independent to be more competitive and to be more successful.

“General Optical, Marchon and VSP will be working together to ensure that private practice remains the number one choice in today’s highly competitive eye care market,” he said.