Fenway Partners Exits 1-800 CONTACTS

Middle-market private equity firm Fenway Partners is selling 1-800 CONTACTS to publicly traded WellPoint Inc. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


Fenway Partners, a leading middle market private equity firm, today announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell 1-800 CONTACTS to WellPoint, Inc. WLP -1.53% . Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


Peter Lamm, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Fenway Partners, said, “We are very pleased with the outcome of our investment in 1-800 CONTACTS. Fenway has a long track record of successfully investing in and building branded consumer products companies, including Easton-Bell Sports and American Achievement as well as a prior successful investment in the luxury brand, Harry Winston. Fenway’s experience with 1-800 CONTACTS is an instructive example of private equity partnering with management to create a better business — growing revenues, increasing domestic employment and payrolls, improving the customer value proposition and making significant investments in the future. We are delighted to have made such a positive impact on this company and that our Fenway Partners Fund investors will realize an attractive rate of return and an impressive multiple of capital.”


Timothy Mayhew, Managing Director of Fenway Consulting Partners and Chairman of 1-800 CONTACTS, said, “We have enjoyed partnering with Jonathan Coon, Brian Bethers and the talented 1-800 CONTACTS team, and are proud of the role we have played in this outstanding company’s growth and development over the last five years. Since Fenway acquired the company in 2007, 1-800 CONTACTS has experienced strong growth and achieved exceptional financial and operational performance. Recent initiatives such as launching a mobile app and entering the eyewear market with Glasses.com have ensured that 1-800 CONTACTS remains at the forefront of innovation. With the opportunities presented by its new partnership with WellPoint, we believe that 1-800 CONTACTS is poised to continue to grow and further strengthen its industry-leading franchise.”


The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, is expected to close in the third quarter of 2012. Sonenshine Partners LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor and Ropes & Gray LLP served as legal advisor on this transaction.


About Fenway Partners


Fenway Partners is a middle market private equity firm based in New York with approximately $1.6 billion under management. With significant knowledge and success investing in the branded consumer product industry, Fenway has built a strong reputation for its hands on approach to supporting portfolio companies.