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Outdoor financials: Oakley's parent Luxottica Group acquires share of Multiopticas Internacional, plus Hibbett, Forzani

Oakley's parent Luxottica Group acquired a share of Multiopticas Internacional, Hibbett Sports' Q1 earnings rose 16 percent, and Forzani told shareholders to ignore a hedge fund proxy.

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Oakley’s parent Luxottica Group acquires share of Multiopticas Internacional

Oakley’s parent Luxottica Group (NYSE: LUX) has entered into an agreement to acquire a 40 percent share in Multiopticas Internacional, a company that owns over 390 eyewear stores operating under the GMO, Econoptics and SunPlanet retail brands in Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.

In a joint statement, they said this agreement significantly strengthens the commercial relationship between the two companies.

Worth about EUR 40 million (USD $55.8 million), the transaction marks Luxottica’s entry into the retail business in South America, which it said has excellent growth potential and where it already has a solid presence through its wholesale network.

Under the terms of the agreement, which is expected to close by the end of June, Luxottica will have a call option for the remaining 60 percent of Multiopticas Internacional. The call option will be exercisable between 2012 and 2014.

Luxottica did not share how the transaction will affect its earnings for the year.

(Conversion of Euros into U.S. dollars is for information only, is not necessarily relative to earnings, and is based on the currency rate as of May 27.)

Hibbett Sports’ Q1 earnings up 16 percent

Hibbett Sports (Nasdaq: HIBB) said it earned a 16-percent higher first-quarter profit, helped by a rise in same-store sales, lower inventory and stronger sales.

For the quarter ended May 2, profit rose to $10.9 million, or $0.38 per share, compared with $9.4 million, or $0.32 cents per share, last year.

Sales rose 8 percent to $157.7 million from $145.8 million, as same-store sales rose 2.4 percent.

The company said apparel and shoes sold well, but equipment did poorly. The company also lowered inventory and improved cash flow.

Looking forward, the company said it expects earnings between $1.03 and $1.17 for the 2010 fiscal year, with same-store sales in the low single digits.

Forzani tells shareholders to ignore hedge fund proxy

To head off what it describes as a dissident proxy circular by a disgruntled hedge fund, the Forzani Group (TSX: FGL) is mailing shareholders an alternative proxy and letter explaining why they should ignore the New York hedge fund.

In the Crescendo Partners’ proxy, it told shareholders to oppose two Forzani nominees for election to the board of directors.

In the Forzani letter, Chairman John Forzani provides a number of reasons why shareholders should vote for all eight of its nominees, such as the company has a strong board of directors, good corporate governance, a clear and focused strategy, and a track record of success.

Forzani added that Crescendo has offered two nominees who bring lesser qualifications, and said Crescendo has justified its campaign with false and misleading statements, while showing no regard whatsoever for the strategic importance of Quebec to the company and its shareholders.

Forzani’s annual meeting is scheduled for June 10.

The Forzani Group is Canada’s largest national retailer of sporting goods, operating Sport Chek, Coast Mountain Sports, Sport Mart and Fitness Source, among others.

–Compiled by Wendy Geister

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