Oakley Buys Eyewear Specialist ESS

by MR Magazine Staff

NEW YORK – Oakley Inc. moved to enhance its presence in the professional eyewear business with its agreement Wednesday to acquire Eye Safety Systems Inc. for $110 million in cash.

Based in Sun Valley, Idaho, ESS produces eyewear for military, police and fire fighting professionals and distributes its products in more than 80 countries. The purchase price is subject to certain adjustments at and after closing, expected to take place during the first half of 2007. Oakley expects ESS to add about $30 million in sales and 5 cents in earnings per share to Oakley’s results during the portion of the year after its consolidation.

John Dondero, founder and president of ESS, will continue to lead the business as president.

“This represents an exceptional and timely opportunity for both ESS and Oakley,” Dondero said. “We believe that Oakley’s design excellence, financial resources and international infrastructure will allow ESS to significantly expand its presence in the global protective eyewear markets.”

Erick Poston, military business unit manager of Oakley, commented, “We are extremely proud of our military heritage and excited to combine a shared commitment to product research and development, advanced technology and excellent support for this important channel. ESS enables us to create a much broader product and distribution platform capable of enhancing service to our existing customers and creating potential for future growth.”

Based in Foothill Ranch, Calif., Oakley manufactures sports, lifestyle and prescription eyewear and, in addition to other retail holdings, operates Sunglass Icon. Oakley shares gained 51 cents, or 2.8%, to close at $18.77 in New York Stock Exchange trading following release of the news Wednesday morning.