Wires

EXCLUSIVE-EssilorLuxottica's 7.2 bln euro Dutch deal faces EU probe - sources

Foo Yun Chee

(Adds European Commission comment, companies not immediately available for comment, details)

BRUSSELS, Jan 31 (Reuters) - EssilorLuxottica's 7.2 billion euro ($8 billion) bid for Dutch opticians group GrandVision will face a full-scale EU antitrust investigation after the company declined to offer concessions during an initial review, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

EssilorLuxottica, which was formed last year from the merger of French lens maker Essilor and Italian eyewear group Luxottica, gave up the chance to offer concessions on Thursday, the deadline for doing so, the European Commission website showed.

Last year's deal also triggered an investigation and feedback from nearly 4,000 opticians but was eventually cleared unconditionally.

The Commission, which will open the full-scale probe following the end of its preliminary review on Feb. 6, declined to comment.

Both EssilorLuxottica and GrandVision were not immediately available for comment. The sources said retailers and rival lens makers had expressed concerns to the EU competition watchdog. EssilorLuxottica however has pointed to the growing market clout of independent and specialist lens makers.

GrandVision, whose chains include Vision Express in Britain and For Eyes in the United States, would give EssilorLuxottica control of more than 7,000 outlets across the world where it already sells brands including Varilux lenses and Ray-Ban sunglasses. ($1 = 0.9014 euros) (Reporting by Foo Yun Chee Additional reporting by Anthony Deutsch in Amsterdam and Mathias Blamont in Paris Editing by David Holmes)