Clearly Contacts bought by French company for $430-million

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Vancouver-based Coastal Contacts (which also does business as and has been bought by a French company for $430 million. The buyer, Essilor International, is the world's largest manufacturer of prescription eyewear lenses. Essilor payed a premium for Coastal Contacts, and the deal is expected to close within the next 90 days pending shareholder and regulatory approval.

CEO Roger Hardy, who owns more than 10% of Coastal Contacts, stated: "The combination will enhance's ability to achieve its goals while realizing a significant all-cash premium for our shareholders. I am confident this merger is the right decision for, our employees and our shareholders." His company's board of directors unanimously approved the sale.

Coastal Contacts' share price surged with the announcement of the deal. Essilor offered $12.45 cash per share. The company's previous three-month, volume-weighted share price average was about $8.73 prior to the takeover announcement, while its six-month average was $6.78, only just over half of Essilor's offer.

Coastal Contacts has roughly 750 employees with about 400 in Vancouver, 80 in Blaine, Washington, about 200 in Sweden and a number of employees in Australia and in New Zealand, according to Mr. Hardy. "Eighty-five per cent of our employees are shareholders, so this is an exciting moment for them," he said.

Besides its onine business, now operates bricks-and-mortar store locations in Vancouver and Toronto. It will open more Canadian stores as well as international locations. We'll soon be announcing another Canadian bricks-and-mortar store location, which will be its first store within a shopping mall.

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