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(Reuters) - Third Point LLC, the U.S. hedge fund that has pushed for changes at companies ranging from Nestle SA (NESN.S) to Campbell Soup Co (CPB.N), has amassed a stake in Ray-Ban maker EssilorLuxottica SA (ESLX.PA), people familiar with the matter said on Sunday.
Third Point, run by billionaire investor Daniel Loeb, is targeting EssilorLuxottica amid a power struggle inside the world’s largest lenses and glasses manufacturer, following its formation last year through a 48 billion euro ($53 billion) merger of France’s Essilor and Italy’s Luxottica.
Billed as a merger of equals, it degenerated into a battle over control between Luxottica’s founder Leonardo Del Vecchio and Essilor’s chief Hubert Sagnieres. The two sides announced a truce in May, but the company still faces uncertainty as it searches for a CEO that can deliver on the merger’s promised annual savings of 600 million euros.
Third Point has met with Del Vecchio, who is now EssilorLuxottica’s executive chairman and owns about a third of the company, according to two of the sources. Details of the meeting and on Third Point’s exact stake could not be learned.
Third Point has a track record of calling on operational improvements at companies where their stock could be buoyed by a different strategy, although is not clear what stance the New York-based hedge fund will adopt on how EssilorLuxottica should be run. Third Point is still in the process of buying EssilorLuxottica shares, one of the sources said.
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