Eyewear retailer Owndays may be sold, fetching US$300 million

Discussions are underway over the sale of Japanese eyewear retailer Owndays, which could be worth around US$300 million. 

According to a Bloomberg report, L Catterton Asia Advisors and its Japanese partner Mitsui & Co have invited banks to submit proposals for a sale, although it is unclear if there will be a bidding process or a listing somewhere in Asia, possibly Hong Kong.  

The discussions are still at an early stage, sources told Bloomberg, and there is a chance L Catterton and its partners decide to retain the business after exploring options. None of the three companies commented on the news.

Owndays has revolutionised the sale of eyewear in many Asian markets, displaying glasses frames with a price tag that includes an eye test and lenses, making the entire process of selecting them transparent to the customer. Most stores offer a 20-minute turnaround time once the frames are selected and the eyes tested – providing lenses are in stock in the store. It is also known for partnerships with Japanese designers, however all of its frames are its own – it does not source from other brands.

L Catterton and Mitsui jointly bought the business in 2018 for an undisclosed sum, helping to fund its expansion into markets that now include Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Taiwan, Malaysia and Australia. It now boasts more than 350 stores and around 2200 employees. 

Owndays was founded in 1989 by Japanese entrepreneur Shuji Tanaka, who remains its president. 

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