Marcolin, the big Italian eyewear manufacturer, has agreed to sell its Cébé brand to Bushnell Outdoor Products, complementing its Bollé and Serengeti lines of eyewear. Bushnell says the acquisition will allow the American company to differentiate its product lines and its distribution channels with a brand that is well known in the areas of snow sports, cycling and running.
Company officials indicate that further information will be given later about the market positioning chosen for Cébé, a French sports eyewear brand that is more than 100 years old and that has been known mainly on the French market, which it dominated for a while. Bollé was originally French, too, but it was better known internationally.
The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but Bushnell officials said the company also bought Marcolin’s large inventories of unsold sunglasses and prescription frames that it had produced under the brand lately. They will be marketed by Bushnell’s sales force.
Interestingly, the former management of Bushnell indicated that it was not interested in Cébé when Marcolin put it up for sale two years ago, after huge losses on 2006 sales of €20 million. Aside from the fact that Bushnell had different management and a different investment group behind it at the time, Bushnell’s lack of interest was probably due primarily to the fact that Cébé still employed more than 100 people.
Since then, Marcolin has closed down the factory of Cébé in Morez and laid off all its employees in France. It has also stopped developing any new ski goggles or ski helmets, selling the related moulds. Next to its portfolio of eyewear, Bushnell markets binoculars and other optical devices under its own brand name as well as under the Tasco label, which covers the lower price ranges.