Oakley, Inc.

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Oakley, Inc.
Type Subsidiary
Founded 1975
Founder(s) Jim Jannard
Headquarters Foothill Ranch, California, United States
Key people Jim Jannard: Chairman[1]
Colin Baden: President
Parent Luxottica Group S.p.A.
Website www.Oakley.com
The Oakley headquarters in August 2010.

Oakley, Inc., based in Foothill Ranch, California, manufactures sports performance equipment and lifestyle pieces including sunglasses, sports visors, ski/snowboard goggles, watches, apparel, backpacks, shoes, optical frames, and other accessories. Most items are designed in house at their head office, but some countries hold exclusive designs relevant to their market. Oakley currently holds more than 600 patents for eyewear, materials, and performance gear.[2]

The main competitors of Oakley are Wiley X, Costa Del Mar, Kaenon Polarized, Rudy Project, Bushnell, Signature Eyewear, Nike, Reebok, Quiksilver, Billabong, and Adidas.[3]


Oakley was started by James Jannard in 1975 out of his garage with an initial investment of $300. The name "Oakley" came from Jannard's dog, an English Setter. Jannard began by selling what he called 'The Oakley Grip' out of the back of his car at motocross events. His motorcycle grips were unlike other grips available at the time, using a patented material known as 'Unobtanium', a unique creation by Jannard. The material is still used to make the earsocks on Oakley glasses, and many of the nose pieces. Oakley went on to produce number plates, gloves, grips, elbow guards, chin guards, and goggles for the BMX and motocross communities.

In 1980, Jannard released a pair of goggles called the O-Frame. With the 'Oakley' logo present on the strap, the brand garnered increasing recognition and prominence throughout the sports industry.[4] In 1983 Oakley began selling ski goggles.[3]

The first Oakley sunglasses; Factory Pilot Eyeshades, were sport-oriented, resembling goggles. These were followed by the Oakley Frogskin, a casual sunglass style.

The company went public in 1995, raising $230 million.[5]

In early 1996, Oakley had a pricing dispute with Italian company Luxottica, one of the world's largest eyewear manufacturers and retailers. Luxottica stopped carrying Oakley's products in their stores, including Sunglasses Hut, and Oakley's stock market value declined 33%.[6][7]

In 2001, Oakley bought Iacon, Inc., operator of mall-based sunglasses stores Sunglass Designs, Sporting Eyes, and Occhiali da Sole.[8]

Oakley signed a four-year agreement to manufacture eyewear designed by themselves and Fox Racing in September 2004.[9]

Starting in 2004, Jannard bought large quantities of Oakley stock: $2 million in 2004, $16 million in 2005, and $4.6 million in early 2006, bringing his personal stake in the company to 63%.[citation needed]

In 2006, Oakley acquired the Oliver Peoples group, a manufacturer of high-end fashion branded eyewear (under the Oliver Peoples, Mosley Tribes, and Paul Smith brands) for $55.7m,[10] and Optical Shop of Aspen, a luxury eyewear retailer with fourteen stores.[11]

On June 21, 2007, Luxottica announced a plan to purchase Oakley in a cash deal worth $2.1 billion, paying a 16% premium over the extant share price.[12] The deal was completed on November 15, 2007, making Oakley part of a portfolio that includes brands such as Ray-Ban, Persol, and Vogue.[13][14]

During the preparations for the ultimately successful rescue of thirty three miners trapped for ten weeks in a Chilean mine in October 2010, a journalist covering the story contacted Oakley about donating sunglasses to the rescue effort, aware that the miners would need eye protection after having spent weeks in darkness. Oakley donated 35 pairs of its Radar sports glasses, fitted with specially selected tints.[15]

In August 2013, Oakley sold its REVO brand to Sequential Brands for $20m.[16][17]

It is also a sponsor of the United States Olympic Team.

Technical innovation[edit]

Most of Oakley's technological designs, fashion pieces, gear, etc. were developed with extensive athlete input and testing in the field – including extreme conditions.[citation needed] Oakley also maintains US Standard Issue, which provides U.S. military and law enforcement eye protection. Oakley M Frame sunglasses are included as part of the U.S. Army's Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL), and have been assigned a NSN number for ordering through military supply channels.


  1. ^ "Oakley Profile". Investor.oakley.com. Retrieved April 19, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Oakley Company Profile". Retrieved June 28, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Oakley Inc.". Retrieved June 9, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Oakley History". Oakley.com. Retrieved April 19, 2012. 
  5. ^ "LA Times: A Trip to Planet Oakley". LA Times. Retrieved November 4, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Sticker shock: Why are glasses so expensive?". 60 Minutes (CBS News). October 7, 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2012. 
  7. ^ "History of Oakley, Inc. – FundingUniverse". Fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  8. ^ "Oakley to buy Iacon —a sunglasses retail chain". Deseret News. 2001-09-24. Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  9. ^ "Fox Racing Signs Sunglasses Deal With Oakley." Bicycle Retailer. September 7, 2004[dead link]
  10. ^ "Oakley Acquires Oliver Peoples - a Leading Fashion Eyewear Brand NYSE:OO". Globenewswire.com. Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  11. ^ "Oakley buys US luxury chain Optical Shop of Aspen". Optician Online. 2006-03-15. Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  12. ^ "Luxottica's Shade-less Deal With Oakley". Forbes. Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  13. ^ Luxottica[dead link]
  14. ^ "Luxottica acquires rival Oakley in US$2.1 billion deal; creates global eyewear superforce". TheMoodieReport.com. Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  15. ^ "Sports Sunglasses Can Aid Chilean Miners' Transition". Fox News Channel. Associated Press. October 13, 2010. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  16. ^ Kari Hamanaka. "Oakley Sells REVO Brand for $20M | Orange County Business Journal". Ocbj.com. Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  17. ^ Young, Vicki M. (5 August 2013). "Sequential Buys Revo Brand From Oakley Inc.". WWD. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 

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