Essilor, Hoya Said to Weigh Bids for Lens Maker Rodenstock

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Essilor International SA, the world’s biggest eyeglass lens producer, and Hoya Corp. are among suitors weighing bids for German rival Rodenstock GmbH, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The companies have held informal talks with advisers about potential offers for Rodenstock, which may fetch at least 500 million euros ($557 million), according to the people. Neither has made a final decision to bid, as Essilor is considering potential antitrust hurdles to any acquisition and Tokyo-based Hoya is wary of overpaying for the company, they said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

Bridgepoint, the buyout firm that acquired Rodenstock from Permira in 2006, hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to look at strategic options for the company earlier this year, two of the people said. No formal sale process is under way, they said.

The German lens maker has also drawn interest from some private-equity firms, though they have expressed concerns about valuation, the people said. Spokesmen for Bridgepoint, Essilor and Hoya declined to comment, while a representative for Goldman Sachs didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Rodenstock, based in Munich, makes lenses and frames for brands including Jil Sander and Porsche Design. It employs about 4,500 people and reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 82 million euros last year. The company had net sales of 402 million euros in 2014, according to its website.

Essilor Deals

Essilor, with a market value of 23.7 billion euros, has earmarked as much as 1 billion euros for deals this year as it seeks to consolidate a fragmented industry and double its presence in fast-growing markets. The company, based in Charenton-le-Pont, France, spent 1.9 billion euros on acquisitions over the past three years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Hoya, founded by two brothers in western Tokyo in 1941, employs 34,000 people worldwide. It makes lenses and optical glass used for eyeglasses, medical endoscopes, cataract treatments and computer display panels. It had 490 billion yen ($4.1 billion) of sales in the year ended March 31, up 15 percent from a year earlier, it said in a statement Tuesday.

Shares of Hoya rose 6.7 percent, the most since Oct. 31, in Tokyo on Tuesday after the Japanese company said it plans to spend as much as 45 billion yen buying back its stock. Net income surged 59 percent to 92.8 billion yen in the year ended March, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement.