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Prescription Eyewear Limited Extends Clear Leadership Position in Growing European Online Optical Market With Acquisition of Nordic Leader LensOn

LONDON, December 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

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

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  • 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, 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,  Additional funding was received from GP BullHound Sidecar, Silicon Valley Bank and Kreos Capital.  The company was advised by GP Bullhound on financing and Wilmer Hale on legals.  

SOURCE Prescription Eyewear Limited (PEL)
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