Another set of eye-care practices on the lookout for financial partners

As Grand Rapids Eye Care on Feb. 24 emerged as the latest ophthalmology company to trade hands following a robust sales process, a slew of other vision companies continue to set their sights on a financial partner.

Among those currently on the block are New England’s Claris Vision and Chesapeake Eye Care of Annapolis, Maryland, according to two sources.

Claris has turned to Lincoln International to advise on a sale, while Coker Capital is conducting the process for Chesapeake Eye Care, the sources said.

Meanwhile, Buyouts previously reported that H.I.G. Capital is negotiating potential transactions for Arizona eye care companies, SouthWestern Eye and Barnet Dulaney Perkins, which combined account for north of $10 million in Ebitda.

Middle-market investment firm Sterling Partners said Friday it invested in Grand Rapids, representing the first entity to join its new platform, Great Lakes Management Services Organization.

Terms weren’t disclosed, but the Grand Rapids, Michigan, provider of ophthalmology, optometry and retail optical services generates about $6 million of EBITDA and its auction commanded significant financial interest, the sources said.

Fellow middle-market PE firm Waud Capital, which surfaced as the winning suitor for Minnesota Eye earlier this month following a Provident Healthcare-run process, was among financial buyers in the running for Grand Rapids, according to one of the sources.

Chesapeake, which offers various ophthalmology surgical services including laser cataract surgery and Lasik surgery, also generates about $6 million of EBITDA, the sources said. Claris, which received $7.5 million in financing in October from Alpine Capital, offers primary eye-care services, as well as specialist and surgical services.

The deal for Grand Rapids comes as Sterling has decided not to raise another flagship fund, as Buyouts reported in February. The sponsor is shifting to a deal-by-deal strategy from blind-pool investing. Managing Directors Danny Rosenberg and Garrick Rice are leaving Sterling to start their own healthcare firm, the firm said in an investor letter seen by Buyouts.

Representatives of Sterling and Coker declined to comment, while those with Lincoln and Waud didn’t immediately return requests for comment.

Action Item: Reach Waud Capital Managing Partner Reeve Waud at rwaud@waudcapital.com

Doctor workplace with digital tablet and stethoscope. Photo courtesy  ©iStock/JPC-Prod