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India’s Lenskart takes majority stake in Japan’s Owndays at $400M

Photo Credit: Lenskart

Lenskart, an Indian omnichannel eyewear firm, has purchased a majority ownership in OWNDAYS, a Japanese eyewear brand, for an undisclosed sum. The financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed by Lenskart and OWNDAYS. However, media reports suggest that the merger values OWNDAYS at $400M

Current shareholders of the Japanese eyeglasses company, including L Catterton Asia and Mitsui & Co. Principal Investment, will be able to exit. OWNDAYS co-founders Shuji Tanaka and Take Umiyama will remain shareholders and head the Japanese firm’s management team.

What will the merger bring to the table?

The merger will broaden the combined entity’s presence in 13 Asian markets, including India, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japan.

“With OWNDAYS, we move a step closer to democratising eyeglasses,” stated Peyush Bansal, CEO and cofounder of Lenskart Group. For over five years, I’ve known Shuji-san and Take-san and admired the revolutionary brand and customer experience they’ve created with OWNDAYS. We need to collaborate with like-minded and complimentary founders to bring about the revolutionary transformation that the world needs in eyewear.”

Timing of the deal

The news comes at a time when Lenskart, which is funded by SoftBank and Premji Invest, is nearing the completion of a fresh round of fundraising valued at more than $4.5B.

OWNDAYS, situated in Tokyo, was founded in 1989 and designs and manufactures optical eyewear. The company has approximately 350 stores in Asia, including Japan, Singapore, Australia, India, and Hong Kong. Every year, it sells around 2.5M pairs of spectacles.

“I believe digital transformation is the key to our next phase of growth in the post-pandemic operating environment,” said OWNDAYS founders and CEO Shuji Tanaka. “I am thrilled to cooperate with Lenskart, which has strong competence and intellectual resources in the information technology industry.”

Neso Brands, a subsidiary of eyewear retailer Lenskart, secured $100M in May from KKR, Softbank, Alpha Wave Global, and Temasek. Lenskart, one of the first unicorns in the Direct-to-Consumer industry, is now valued at $4.3B.

Lenskart, founded in 2010 by Peyush Bansal, Amit Chaudhury, and Sumeet Kapahi, claims to serve more than 7M clients annually through its app, website, and retail shops around the country. The unicorn has over 750 stores in approximately 175 cities.

Lenkskart’s technical staff presently numbers 300 individuals, with plans to expand to 500 by FY23. It has also invested in deeper supply chain integration and automation, which will be used by both brands to improve consumer offering and unit economics.

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