Fashionable Antwerp-based eyewear company Theo has bought 40% of Komono, a rival eyewear firm which is also headquartered in the historic Belgian port city, the Gazet van Antwerpen and De Tijd report.
"Komono wants to tell a story with its glasses, just like us," said Mik Somers, one of the three brothers who own Theo and the son of company co-founder Wim Somers. "When a partner at Komono left, we decided to step in."
The purchase follows Komono's deepening financial troubles over the past few years. Founded in 2009 by former professional snowboarders Anton Janssens and Raf Maes, the company registered a €4 million loss in 2018. Its financial situation was further exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis, during which it lost €7 million in 2020 alone.
Despite struggling financially, Komono glasses remain extremely popular among numerous A-list celebrities, including Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera.
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Theo, by contrast, has enjoyed far better financial fortunes in recent times. Founded in 1987 by Wim Somers and Patrick Hoet with the aim of creating "fashionable glasses that stand out", the company registered a net profit of €3.1 million in 2021, predominantly due to a 40% annual bump in sales to €16 million.
Like Komono, Theo is favoured by multiple A-list celebrities including Elton John, Spike Lee and Lupita Nyong'o.
Following Theo's purchase, Komono CEO Anton Janssens will retain 40% of the company's shares, while Head of Operations Carl Liekens will keep the remaining 20%.