Eyemart Express Attracts Strategic Investment from Leonard Green & Partners; FFL Partners and Barnes Family to Retain Majority StakeInvestment Creates New Owner Partnership without Adding Incremental Debt to Company
Oct. 13, 2020
DALLAS – OCTOBER 13, 2020 – Eyemart Express, a leading national value optical retailer and the fastest provider of glasses in the industry, today announced that private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners, L.P. (“LGP”) has completed a strategic investment in the company, joining majority stakeholders FFL Partners (“FFL”) and the Barnes Family. While financial terms of the private transaction were not disclosed, the new investment will not add any incremental debt to the Eyemart Express balance sheet.
“We are very excited to welcome Leonard Green & Partners to Eyemart Express,” said Michael Bender, CEO of Eyemart Express. “The team at LGP shares our vision about the significant market opportunity ahead, and their experience and insights, in partnership with FFL, will enable us to continue to grow our market share, innovate and deliver best-in-class customer service.”
Headquartered in Farmers Branch, Texas, Eyemart Express is a leading, independent optical retailer with 223 stores in 41 states. Each store combines an independent Doctor of Optometry for eye exams and on-site lab for prescription eye wear in one convenient location. The company, which celebrated its 30th Anniversary in 2020, has generated nine consecutive years of same store sales growth.
“We were attracted to Eyemart due to its long history of consistent growth in the value optical sector, which has only accelerated in recent years under the leadership of Michael and his team,” said Alyse Wagner, Partner at LGP. “We have been impressed by the management team’s industry experience, the company’s entrepreneurial and collegial culture that attracts top-talent and drives success, and its high marks for customer satisfaction.”
Since FFL’s initial investment in 2014, Eyemart has become a leader in the fast-growing value segment of the optical industry, opening 78 new stores since 2014. During this period, Eyemart Express grew its management team and invested to strengthen a variety of operations and systems such as finance, marketing, and new store development. Investments in IT have focused on point of sale, e-commerce, and business intelligence reporting.
“Supporting Eyemart Express throughout this latest period of growth has been tremendously rewarding and we’re confident the company’s success will only accelerate through our new partnership with LGP,” said Chris Harris, Partner at FFL Partners. “LGP’s strong experience building retail businesses will be incredibly valuable as Eyemart Express continues to capitalize on its strengths and serve more customers through organic growth and strategic acquisitions.”
Evercore acted as lead financial advisor and Barclays and BofASecurities acted as advisors to Eyemart Express and FFL Partners.
About Eyemart Express
Eyemart Express, a leading national optical retailer and the fastest provider of quality prescription eyewear in the industry, celebrates 30 years of serving customers with affordable and same-day eyewear. With 223 stores in 41 states, Eyemart Express ranks among the Top 10 optical retailers in the country. The company operates under its motto of Right Glasses. Right Price. Right Now: a unique mix of value, style and fast service. Each store carries more than 2,000 frames from brands such as Michael Kors, Coach, Columbia, Disney, and Nike. On-site labs allow 90 percent of glasses to be delivered on the same day. Learn more about Eyemart Express at EyemartExpress.com.
About FFL Partners
FFL Partners is a San Francisco-based private equity firm with over $4.5 billion under management. For over twenty years, the firm has helped build industry-leading companies, supplying capital and advice to exceptional management teams to grow businesses and unlock value. FFL has deep experience in investing and operations and has brought large-company best practices and professional networks to smaller companies. Business growth has provided over 75% of the value created by FFL for its investors. FFL invests in business services, industrials, and healthcare services. For additional information about FFL, please visit FFL’s website at www.fflpartners.com.
Founded in 1989 and based in Los Angeles, LGP partners with experienced management teams and often with founders to invest in market-leading companies. Since inception, LGP has invested in over 95 companies in the form of traditional buyouts, going-private transactions, recapitalizations, growth equity, and selective public equity and debt positions. LGP primarily focuses on companies providing services, including consumer, business, and healthcare services, as well as retail, distribution, and industrials. For more information, please visit www.leonardgreen.com
For Eyemart Express:
Holly Scimeca Griggs
Holly House Marketing
For FFL Partners:
Partner, Head of Investor Relations