ACON Investments has completed its purchase of Refac Optical Group from Palisade Capital Management. Financial terms of the deal were not released. Refac Optical Group was advised by Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. in the transaction. ACON Investments was advised by William Susman.
ACON Investments announced it has completed the purchase of Refac Optical Group from an affiliate of Palisade Capital Management L.L.C. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Included in the purchase was Refac Optical Group’s main operating subsidiary, U.S. Vision. Headquartered in Glendora, NJ, U.S. Vision, founded in 1967, is a leading in-host optical retailer in the U.S., operating over 700 optical centers under a variety of brands including JCPenney, BJ’s, Sears, Boscov’s, Macy’s, The Bay and Kmart. These licensed departments are full-service retail vision centers that offer an extensive selection of designer brands and private label prescription eyewear, contact lenses, sunglasses, ready-made readers and accessories. U.S. Vision is the sixth largest optical retailer in the U.S. in total revenue and the third largest in store count.
ACON Investments purchased Refac Optical Group from Palisade Concentrated Equity Partnership L.P., an affiliate of Palisade Capital Management L.L.C., which is retaining a minority stake in the business. The Company will continue to be operated by its current management team, which is led by CEO David Pierson and U.S. Vision President, William Schwartz. As part of the transaction, management has taken an ownership position in the Company.
“I look forward to working closely with ACON Investments on a series of growth initiatives for U.S. Vision, in its existing hosts as well as in new hosts and freestanding retailers. Together, we will continue providing our customers with our unique value offerings and a broad, fashionable selection of eyeglasses with a high-level of customer service,” said David Pierson, CEO of Refac.
Bill Schwartz, President of U.S. Vision, commented, “The entire management team and I believe our partnership with ACON will be beneficial to our customers, host store partners and, most of all, our associates, as we continue to grow the Company.”
“We are excited to partner with the management of U.S. Vision to build value in a business that is poised for continued growth,” said Ken R. Brotman, Founding Partner of ACON. “The Company has demonstrated solid performance through its long-tenured relationships with its host partners and has built a solid foundation, which will ensure U.S. Vision’s continued success. Consumers value the convenience of all-in-one optical care at locations where they regularly shop and we see continued opportunity to expand this concept,” added Brotman.
Financing for the transaction is being provided by Fifth Street Finance Corp.
Refac Optical Group was advised by Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. in the transaction. ACON Investments was advised by William Susman.
About Refac Optical Group
Refac Optical Group is a leading provider of vision care products and services in the United States and Canada. Refac’s main operating company, U.S. Vision, Inc. represents the sixth largest retail optical chain in the United States. U.S. Vision has been engaged in the retail optical business since 1967, and is the second largest independent operator of optical stores in host retailers in terms of store count and the first in terms of the number of brands.
As of March, 2011, the Company has 710 locations comprised of 708 licensed departments, and two freestanding locations. It also operates a state-of-the-art manufacturing laboratory. Its licensed departments are full-service retail vision care stores that offer an extensive selection of designer brands and private label prescription eyewear, contact lenses, sunglasses, ready-made readers, and accessories.
About ACON Investments
ACON Investments is a Washington, D.C.-based private equity investment firm that manages private equity funds and special purpose partnerships in the United States and Latin America. Founded in 1996, ACON and its principals have managed over $2.0 billion of capital. ACON pursues a theme-based investment strategy by focusing on industries and businesses at key inflection points in their development and pursues these opportunities in close partnership with established management teams. ACON has successfully invested in a variety of retail-related business in the past including food retailers globally as well as specialty retailers, temporary retailers and suppliers to retailers in the United States. ACON has offices in Washington, Los Angeles, Madrid, Mexico City and Sao Paulo. For more information, visit www.aconinvestments.com.
About Palisade Capital Management, LLC
Palisade Capital Management, L.L.C., founded in 1995, is an SEC-registered investment adviser with $3.6 billion of assets under management. Palisade manages assets on behalf of institutional clients and high net worth individuals. The Firm manages institutional investment strategies focused on small-cap core equities, small-, mid-, and mid-cap growth equities, long-only convertible securities, convertible arbitrage, and private equity. The Firm also provides comprehensive investment management services for individuals. Palisade is located in Fort Lee, New Jersey and also maintains an office in Palm Beach, Florida. For more information, visit www.palisadecapital.com.